Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Gunther & Co Sneak Peek

Mr Minx and I were invited to a sneak peek of the new Gunther & Co. restaurant in Brewer's Hill the other night. We left quite excited about the restaurant's potential and feel it will become a sure-fire hit for owner Nancy Hart and chef Jerry Trice.

A glance at the outside of what was once the boiler room of Gunther Brewing Company doesn't even begin to hint at how cavernous and attractive the restaurant is on the inside. Brick everywhere, a huge open kitchen with bar seating, and a living wall of plants--which functions both as decoration and an air-cleansing device--are main features. A rustically lovely private dining room on the mezzanine level, with views of the dining room below, would be a fab place for a birthday party or rehearsal dinner, or a simple gathering of friends. The front bar area, too, with its large windows and creative cocktail menu, should be a popular spot for both neighborhood folks and visitors like us who hail from the far reaches of Towson and beyond.

While we didn't get to have a sit-down meal this time around, we were treated to selections from various of Gunther & Co.'s menus. They'll be offering weekend brunch, weekday lunch, dinner Monday through Saturday, and a special Sunday supper. There's also a selection of items available from open to close that includes more snacky things like oysters and cheese, plus salads and a burger.

We started off with two kinds of oysters, giant Pemaquids from Maine, and more petite Wild Ass Ponies from Assateague Island. "Meet the Beet-Alls," featuring beet liquor, rhubarb bitters, and the artichoke liquor called Cynar, was just one of bartender Shaun Stewart's inventive cocktails on offer. We went on to sample the dumplings, delicious pockets of shrimp and lemongrass with a finely cut kaffir lime garnish and a ponzu soy dipper, and crunchy garlic toasts topped with a flavorful beef tartare garnished with egg yolk and radish. While it won't be served in exactly the same way we received it, the tartare will be on the apps menu (and is well worth trying!) There were also crisp-crusted little biscuits filled with pork and mango chutney and fabulous tea-smoked duck breast served with grilled oyster mushrooms and an orange-ginger sauce. A flatbread cooked in a wood-fired pizza oven and topped with smoked salmon, capers, chopped hard boiled egg, and arugula was an example of Gunther & Co.'s flatbread of the day.

For dessert, we tasted pastry chef Aja Cage's light buttermilk panna cotta with citrus and granola, and an ultra rich chocolate pavé with scoops of smooth butter pecan ice cream on the side. I'm slightly disappointed we didn't get to taste the vegan carrot cake with matcha glaze, but we'll just have to go back and get a full-sized serving of that goodness.

Gunther & Co., shortly to become Baltimore's favorite restaurant, opens this Friday, May 20th. The bar opens at 4pm, and dinner service starts at 5.

Gunther & Co.
3650 Toone Street
Baltimore, MD 21224

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