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The Early Word on Gunshow, Kevin Gillespie's Latest

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And we're back with Good News/Bad News, a series rounding up the early reviews of a restaurant. Is there one you'd like to see featured? Do let us know in the comments or via the tipline. Feel free to chime in with your own opinions on Gunshow as well.
Gunshow. [Photo: Sarah Dodge]

Kevin Gillespie's new concept, Gunshow, opened about three months ago. Chefs prepare and then deliver the dishes to you dim sum style— take what you want and reject what you don't. The menu is eclectic, featuring dishes like the West Coast burger and pork skin risotto, basically whatever the chefs feel like cooking. Diners are intrigued by the concept, but worried about its execution— wait time for the food was considered either too long or too short. Noise at this space also poses a problem. Here's the low down on what people are saying.

The Grab It News: This Yelper advises diners to "be sure to sit as close to the kitchen as you can - since carts may not make it to you on the first pass. You can also see the chef at work since it's open air. If you see a dish (even if it's dessert) you think you will want, grab it when you have the chance. I was told a full rotation of all dishes takes about an hour, not sure if that has changed." [Yelp]

The Outstanding But Loud News: This review praised the food but wonders what can be done about the noise: "We ordered almost everything that came around, except the szechuan okra, duck, and one other dish. The most outstanding dishes were the Jamaican curry goat, Paella, Flank Steak with borscht sauce, and Cashew Chicken, but everything was delicious. We tried all the desserts as well, and the pasty chef came to the table to tell us all about them, which was nice... The noise level can get loud since it is one big open room, but once you get into the swing of things it becomes less noticeable. Some noise cancellation panels might help with this, as well as turning down the music (it was quite loud)." [Yelp]

The Top News: This yelper loved everything: "The food is great. The concept is even better! The cooking is perfectly executed and the dishes are diverse in terms of content and flavor. Taste and texture combinations are impressive. No weak points here. The menu changes regularly so no point in pointing out dishes to order. We tried everything. I will say the desserts were as impressive as the main menu so save room. Top recommendation!! I'll definitely be back again.... and again."

The Great News: Bill Addison of Atlanta Magazine wrote an overwhelmingly positive review suggesting minor changes be made to the menu and prices: "Gunshow thrills and throws diners off balance in the best possible way, but it is also an evolving experiment... A few tweaks on the top of my list: There's talk of adding a fourth chef to the mix, and I'd encourage this person to be particularly strong at vegetable cookery, which is woefully underrepresented among the surfeit of meat. Also, the prices can be high, and it's not easy to keep track of costs during the meal's flow." [Atlanta Magazine]

The Underwhelmed but Inexpensive News: Over on Yelp, this reviewer was not impressed by the food or the ambiance, but thought that the price was right: "There were a few dishes that stood out, but my overall impression left me, and the group i dined with, underwhelmed. We went with another couple. I just could not get into the atatmosphere/ vibe of things. Too bright, too loud, not in the least bit cozy or inviting... Best part of evening, however, getting the bill. Much less than expected. With wine and drinks, less than 100$ per couple. Not bad for a restaurant with celebrity chef." [Yelp]

The Frustrating News: This review doesn't like the execution of the dimsum concept at Gunshow: "The most frustrating part of the evening was when one of the chefs had some kind of pork roulade across the room. It looked delicious and satisfying, but alas it never made it to our table. Seems like simple manners to me, but don't offer something to some people if you don't have enough to serve it to EVERYONE!!! We didn't see that dish making the rounds again until 45 minutes or an hour later, but we had already had our dessert and paid by then." [Yelp]

The Tearfully Good News: This reviewer cried because the food was so good: "We had one dish tonight that especially stood out: the smoked lamb belly. I cannot explain how wonderful this dish is. It was perfectly rendered of most of the fat, cooked perfectly fork tender, and served with a lemon gastric with this tomato and cucumber salad with goat cheese. We like to eat out at restaurants that produce dishes I cannot make at home. Dishes with flavor combinations that make us question any notions we had of flavors. This dish literally made me tear up I was so happy with it. I really cannot explain any further. [Yelp]

The Service News: A tipster writes in with thoughts about the service: "It is highly evident who is important to Gillespie and his team and who is not. The FOH staff visited the same three tables regularly while we were dining (and we were there for more than two hours) and barely stopped by to say hello to the rest of us. That is I guess OK when you have chefs serving the food for you. I also didn't get the staff members whose sole purpose was to put tally marks on our menu. How much are they getting paid?"

The Bright Lights News: This Yelper liked food, but thought that the lights were too bright: "The lights are not the least bit dimmed for dinner, as one would usually expect for a weekend at 9pm. Personally, the lighting was too bold, but I do understand the reasoning. The handful of chefs running the kitchen and presenting their creations to each table need the light to see what they are doing and keep the overall energy of the restaurant high. Again, little things like this also make the experience unique and fun. Similar to the experience at a tapas restaurant, I really enjoyed being able to taste many small, different dishes... Overall, the food was great! The desserts were especially delish." [Yelp]

The Good for a Group News: This reviewer on Chowhound likes the noise level, but warns against bringing a date to this restaurant: "I didn't think it was too loud, and I liked the general buzz—it was fun. But again, we were a group of old friends—maybe it's not as great for a date. Actually it's funny, I loved this but I often hate small plates when it's just my husband and I. It's a pretty boring format with only 2 people. IMO it works a lot better with a group." [Chowhound]

The Delicious but Expensive News: Food and More blogger John Kessler liked the food but was not as enamored of the prices and the wine selection: "We went nuts for his spring vegetable salad served with a creamy ramp dressing ("rampch") and yellow lemon-fennel-olive oil powder meant to evoke tree pollen... This restaurant isn't cheap: The small plates range from $10 to $18, and you'll want about three per person... The beverage program is pretty basic." [Access Atlanta]

The Sweet News: This Four Square Review suggests: "Don't miss out on dessert: the play on cookies and cream is otherworldly." [Foursquare]

The Needs Improving News: Stephanie Dazey wrote a review for Creative Loafing Atlanta that praises some of the food but thinks that the timing needs work: "The West Coast burger, a classic Double-Double, was layered with sweet caramelized onions, tender beef, and gooey American cheese. Carolina-style pork ribs punched up with hints of mustard and smoky spice came with a cool peaches-and-cream coleslaw to counteract the peppery rub. If you're hungry, there's something to be said for a place that can have dinner rolling in less than 10 minutes. But dishes come out at random intervals: it could be every two minutes or every five minutes or every 10. The result is a series of unnatural lulls and time spent looking around, wondering when the next round of food will come your way.

The Busted News: This reviewer liked some dishes, hated others and could not take the noise: "This should be a 2.5 star but I'm traumatized by my busted eardrums and erred on the low end. I have been looking forward to this night for a long time - a large group of us from the neighborhood went on a reservation we made the day the place opened. I really wanted this to be a GP touchstone, alas no. There were dishes that were really good (burger, catfish, gratin - all perfect dishes) and others that were fair to middling (how do you screw up risotto-tasty but chewy in a bad way, ribs-tasty but chewy in a bad way AND chocolate....a horrible texture/taste disaster)?" [Yelp]
—Layla Khabiri
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