I started with a Bloody Mary which had tomato, horseradish and jalapeño. Since the tomato was fresh, the consistency was not as thick as a traditional bloody mary, but delicious nonetheless. The jalapeño was subtle and I believe the horseradish was in powder form on the rim, which provided a tart bite with a spicy finish. The menu from yesterday (I assume it will change and evolve just like their dinner menu) had five pastries, three different assorted items served with a Bialy, and ten main entrées. We shared the Bialy with redfish, arugula and crème fraîche. This starter was served on a lovely wooden tray with a whole bialy that was covered in cooked leeks (I was unable to try it since I follow a gluten-free diet, but was told it was very good). The redfish came in two forms--a spread, as well as pickled larger pieces of fish. I enjoyed both, using the accompanying ultra-thin slices of cucumber as a base for the spread. I saw no arugula, but it wasn't missed. My husband ordered the Baked Eggs with kale and potato and some crisp nigella crust topped with salmon roe. I had a bite and liked the savory combination of the perfectly cooked eggs with the kale and potato. For entrée I had the Rice Grits with shrimp, field peas and ham. The grits had a wonderful sauce that made the dish even richer and more decadent. I loved the addition of the tender peas and the smoky ham. The four shrimp were well prepared, but I longed for just one more on the plate. My son had the Fried Chicken Sandwich with grilled onion, marjoram, fried egg mayo and avocado. He enjoyed every aspect of the sandwich--the homemade bun, the crispy chicken (which would have made for a fine meal all on its own), and the mayo. For a sweet ending, my son ordered the Doughnut with chocolate, hazelnut, and chicory served with a dandelion green dusted center doughnut hole. Initially he planned to order the sweet potato funnel cake, but they had run out. The doughnut made him completely forget about the funnel cake.
Service was pleasant and attentive, with plenty of staff on hand to handle the full dining room. Chef Andrew Wisehart even made an appearance from the kitchen to serve a few dishes. Sunday Brunch at Gardner begins on September 20.
Please note: Gardner has closed since the publication of this post.