True to its name, Gather is as much about the social meetup as it is the culinary hookup. With two walls of windows looking out to the street and harbor beyond, and with scant delineation from outside and in (not even a front door), the bar and restaurant offers an enticing invitation to step inside.
Gather is located in the Innovation District’s District Hall, and is part of the Briar Group, which also runs Brew and several other eateries including Anthem and The Harp.
This venture takes direction from location with a mod exterior design that echoes Louis’ across the street. The clutter-free, minimalist interior has a techy vibe and includes little embellishment apart from a chandelier created from dozens of bare lightbulbs hanging from cables.
The menu is also neatly edited, without being spartan. There are sharable nibbles (like olives marinated with fennel, citrus and pungent rosemary) and those you’ll want to keep to yourself: The latter includes warm, soft, smoky dates with blue cheese and bacon, and a trio of flour tortilla tacos with a flavorsome filling of tender, fatty roasted duck and peppery apple kimchi.
If one dish stands out though, it’s the vaguely titled Local Cod, whose other main ingredient is roasted beets. The odd coupling forms a clean-tasting union between the barely seasoned, succulent cod and the beets’ earthy sweetness. The beet juice mingles with the delicate ginger and carrot puree to good effect as well. Piled pea greens topping the dish add crispiness, but are a bit overwhelming. Tasty grilled baby clams, however, add a good contrasting — and deeper — flavor.
Beets and cod: Now that’s what I call culinary innovation.
Daily specials add several international specialties such as tom yam kung and curry, but Friday night’s delight is all about New England via the North End: Lobster fettuccine packed with meat and flavored with star anise, which gives a delicate licorice flavor that enhances the shellfish's sweetness. There goes that innovation again.