Dinner Out: Gerrish and Gray

Scott Campbell

I just love it when I walk into an eating establishment that is thoroughly steeped in local history and tradition yet manages to offer up one of the most innovative and exciting dining experiences I’ve had in a long time. Gerrish and Gray manages to do just that.

Gerrish and Gray—located, you guessed it, at the corner of Gerrish and Gray in Windsor—opened their doors on September 19. They offer a great lunch menu but I chose to take advantage of the “late lunch” which is available from 4:00 to 8:00pm on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. A varied list of small plates is available and, sadly, I couldn’t try them all. However, my experience with the ones I did have completely sealed the deal that I’ll be back again very, very soon to try everything that I couldn’t get to the first time.

My dining partner and I carefully went through the menu and eventually were able to make some choices. Our server, Katie, was very helpful in helping us navigate the menu and offered some valuable information about the sizes of some of the dishes. Our selections were the Caesar salad, the Brussels sprouts, the G&G nachos, the flatbread, and the scallops. We also opted to have dessert. We’re two big eaters and this was the perfect amount of food to leave both of us completely satisfied.

Any time I go to a new restaurant I try to have the Caesar salad. It’s sort of my touchstone dish. If a place can do a great Caesar salad I think that says a lot. And this Caesar salad certainly had a lot to say. The house-made dressing was fresh and vibrant and covering the lettuce perfectly. The asiago and lardon made it outstanding.

Brussels sprouts and I have a tangled history where I wouldn’t eat them as a child but have learned to enjoy them as an adult. I wish my mother had provided Brussels sprouts like these ones in my formative years. They were as packed with flavour as anything I’ve ever eaten. Baked to perfection and seasoned in such a way as to make the earthy flavour of the sprouts highlight the exciting spices that accompanied them.

The flatbread was one of the highlights for me. I don’t quite know where to start to describe this dish. It consisted of poached pears—delicious, pesto—outstanding, prosciutto—so good, and Gorgonzola—creamy, smooth heaven. However, this dish was much more than the sum of its parts. If I had to guess, there was some sort of magic happening when the Gorgonzola was mixed with everything else. A big bite of the flatbread resulted in a burst of flavour that was completely unlike any one of the ingredients. This is definitely something that must be tasted to be appreciated.

The G&G nachos was another dish that I found completely surprising. I’ve eaten a lot of nachos in my day. The crispy nacho chips and the gooey melted cheese always delight. But the G&G nachos offer a little bit more. The avocado dressing and the cilantro lime sour cream create a flavour combination that is as tasty as it is unexpected. The freshness of these two dressings alongside the rich cheeses and moist chicken create a palate-punching surprise that will delight you. And I have to point out here—I generally refer to myself as being on the side of the room that doesn’t enjoy cilantro. But this awesome dish certainly left me doubting my allegiance to that group.

I love scallops. Always have. So it actually takes a lot to make me really stand up and take notice of a scallop option. A scallop, pan-fried quickly, seasoned lightly is a thing of beauty. So I was eager to try this interesting-sounding scallop dish. I love it when someone ups the bar on something when I thought the bar was already at its fullest. I think the coconut chipotle cream was the secret weapon. It did a great job of heightening the full, rich flavour of the scallops while managing to somehow offer a kick of heat (from the chipotle) that launched it over the top. The crunch of the almonds offered up another interesting angle to this delicious dish.

Anyone who’s read my Dinner Out articles will know that I’m a big fan of dessert. I like elevated complex desserts and I like ones that take their brilliance from the sheer perfection of execution of a basic dish. The pumpkin pie did that. House-made and offered simply with some fresh berries and whipped cream, this was a perfect finish to our wonderful dinner.

Gerrish and Gray also offers a fantastic selection of coffees and other libations, but my recommendation has to be to try something that is coming out of that kitchen. Chef Norm Samways and pastry chef Steph MacNeil are creating some spectacular culinary creations, and co-owners Ben Bennett and Conrad Mullins definitely deserve a shout-out for helping to bring this newest dining destination to Windsor. Do yourself a flavour favour and try this fantastic place as soon as you can. Cheers.

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