Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Monday, October 25, 2010

Gather's Braised Mushroom Sandwich

Posted By on Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 8:10 AM

click to enlarge Braised mushroom sandiwch on grilled ciabatta with cashew-gypsy pepper "cheese," $9. - JOHN BIRDSALL
  • John Birdsall
  • Braised mushroom sandiwch on grilled ciabatta with cashew-gypsy pepper "cheese," $9.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Where chefs fail with the portobello is in forcing a false equivalency. Stemless, it has the size and shape of a meat patty, but, well, a portobello isn't meat, though calling it "meaty" is beyond cliche. Fungus weeps moisture as it cooks. Hard as you season a portobello, the flavor wants to dissolve into bun-soaking residue, especially if you throw it on the grill.

At Gather in Berkeley, chef Sean Baker is smart enough to submit portobellos to the knife. They're cut into wedges, then braises so whatever juices seep out end up wicking back into the black, spongy pieces, a sort of concentrated compost richness in the taste.

For Gather's braised mushroom sandwich, Baker heaps the wedges onto split ciabatta spread with house-made cashew-gypsy pepper cheese. "Spread," since it's more sauce than solid, orange as processed cheddar. It has the warm-copper taste of turmeric, a kind of neon yang to the portobellos' deep, dank yin. They curl around each other to form about the best vegan sandwich we can recall devouring.

Gather: 2200 Oxford (at Allston), 510-809-0400.

Follow us on Twitter: @sfoodie. Contact me at John.Birdsall@SFWeekly.com

  • Pin It

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook

Slideshows

  • 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival
    Crowds gathered September 6-7 for the 24th Annual Autumn Moon Festival in Chinatown. Visitors enjoyed arts, crafts, cultural exhibits, food and a dog fashion show. Photographs by Dhoryan Rizo.
  • Felton: Touring the Redwoods
    Blue skies meet redwood canopies in the mountain town of Felton, located just north of Santa Cruz on Highway 9. Once a bustling logging community, the town is now a mix of mellow locals and serene wilderness. Visitors can enjoy the redwoods in nearby Henry Cowell Redwoods State Park and splash in swimming holes in the San Lorenzo River. For a bite to eat stop by Rocky’s Cafe for fruit-laden pancakes, barbeque at the Cowboy Bar & Grill and poolside burgers at the Trout Farm Inn. Other stops worth checking out include Roaring Camp Railroads, the Mount Hermon zip line tour, and the educational Bigfoot Discovery Museum. For beer or cocktails a log cabin bar has you covered.