After hearing so-so recommendations from other trusted sources I put off visiting Gunshow, until recently. I had a colleague visiting from out of town who wanted to go. While Gunshow is on some online reservation sites, there are no seats available during normal dining hours. Ever. If you really want a table you can (gasp!) pick up the phone and call the restaurant. We were able to get in for 8 pm for three people on a Wednesday. However, be warned they will call you relentlessly the day of your reservation to confirm until you answer your cell.
Spoiler Alert: Part of the experience of going to Gunshow is not knowing exactly what to expect. It’s dim sum but with American food and there are multiple chefs? By reading this, you’ll know what you are going to experience, which could detract from the fun.
Note, Gunshow is not the place to go if you want to have a romantic dinner or quiet conversation. Besides the loud dining room (it’s one big room with community seating), there’s continual interruption from the chefs. I was mildly concerned this wouldn’t bode well for a quasi business dinner, but everything seemed to work out just fine.
Even though we arrived promptly at 8 pm, our
table seating area was not ready. We were asked to sit at the bar and obliged, consuming a delightful Jasliso Flip cocktail with egg white, basil and pistachio. A deal at just $7, I had two. Other interesting cocktails are Gunshow’s twist on a Sangria and Caipirina. They also have a drink cart where they mix cocktails tableside while you dine.
There are no appetizers (remember it’s dim sum?) – there are about a dozen or so dishes to choose from. Although you have a server, it’s the chefs (I think there were 7 the evening we dined) who present their dishes for you to accept or reject. Don’t feel rude to decline a dish, it’s perfectly okay. Note that “if you decline any dish, you won’t be offered it again.” But really you only get one pass at any of the dishes, whether you accept or reject.
We selected 8 different dishes (9 if you count the fact we ordered 2 pork belly dishes). I liked that some were very straightforward, meaning you know what you getting: Pork Belly Buns, Lobster Roll, Smoked Pork Loin. Then others were more complex like the Vitello Tonato (Tuna, Veal, olive oil fried bread) which sounded so intriguing we couldn’t pass it up and it lived up to expectations.
As I said, there are no appetizers per se, but carefully looking at the menu (yes you are given one of those at least), you can quickly pick out what should be apps (read under $10) like the buns or a gator corndog.
While there was nothing that wasn’t pleasing, the prices are vastly different and really not based on the quality or quantity of food. For example a small lobster roll was $25 while a Tile Fish served with rice and salsa was just $16. Each chef approached a group with 3 of his dishes. While most looked the same, a squid ink / calamari dish couldn’t have been more unevenly distributed (see above) with one plate full of lots of round calamari and another severely lacking.
All in all, I relished the experience, but it does get pricey to dine there. The total was close to $250 (before tip) for three people. Granted, we ordered one of each of the desserts too. Banana pudding is the bomb! Don’t miss out.