Actually Pretty Awesome

Actually (Still) Pretty Awesome: Vegan Charcuterie at Gather

That on the left would be mushroom 'tartare' with mustard.
That on the left would be mushroom ‘tartare’ with mustard. Photo: J. Barmann/Grub Street

Upon opening two years ago, Berkeley’s Gather got piles o’ press attention for their vegan “charcuterie” — a charcuterie board with a daily changing selection of inventive vegetable bites. The dish remains a star of chef Sean Baker’s tightly focused menu, but the selection of four flavorful items we had on a recent visit — along with an excellent spin on the gin and tonic using apple cider, lemon, St. George terroir gin, and a carbonation machine — felt especially noteworthy and worth a mention for being still pretty awesome.

The “charcuterie” pictured are, from left: an umami-rich mushroom tartare with radish salsa, spring vegetables, mustard, and Nepitella (a wild Tuscan herb somewhere between oregano and mint): a chickpea hummus with dried Habanero, English pea, and cilantro, dotted with black chickpeas; trumpet mushrooms with spring onion, canellini bean purée, horseradish, and an herb salad; and a dessert of sorts, which was fresh strawberries with braised dried fruit, coconut milk foam, basil, and rhubarb.

The flavors were as eclectic as ever, and showcased the season’s produce in some well executed bites. The tartare was probably our favorite, just for sheer force of flavor. Also, just like real charcuterie, each made for excellent pairing with a tart or bitter cocktail.

Earlier on Actually Pretty Awesome:
Pickled Eggs at St. Vincent
Beef Tongue at Namu Gaji
Peruvian Rotisserie Chicken at Brasa
Green Garlic Bread at State Bird Provisions
A Dinner of Small Plates and the Duck Confit Salad at Frances
Duck Fat Chex Mix at Truck Stop Café
The Lamb Tongue Salad at Txoko
The Branzino at AQ
Dinner at Local Mission Eatery
Suckling Pig Sandwich at Sweet Woodruff
Crudités at Saison
The Roasted Broccoli Sandwich at Split Pea Seduction
George Mendes’s Partridge in a Pear Tree
The Buffalo Burger at Double Decker
A Preview of Dishes at Haven
Alicia’s Tamales Los Mayas
The Cocktails at Outerlands
The Meatball Gigante and the Honey Pie at Tony’s Pizza
Three New Gins from St. George Spirits
The Date Night at Sneaky’s BBQ
Crab and Dumplings at Pican
The Fried-Chicken Sliders at The Lookout
The Tripe and the Pickles at Bar Tartine
Fried Chicken and Cornmeal Doughnuts at Beast & the Hare

Actually (Still) Pretty Awesome: Vegan Charcuterie at Gather