Gates & Brovi

Where are you eating and what do you think? What's opening, closing, succeeding, failing?
Prof. Wagstaff
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Gates & Brovi

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:48 am

Checked this place out while shopping with my girlfriend last night. What a major disappointment.

First, their menu is small and kinda strange: You can get a salad, a sandwich, or a massive meal of steak or lobster, but nothing in between. I had heard the place described as having good prices, but I dunno... $8 for a sandwich that comes with nothing but a pickle and a tiny cup of (not very good) cole slaw, while not unreasonable, doesn't seem like that great of a deal to me. We spent over $50 on two sandwiches, an app, an order of fries, and 3 drinks. Seems steep to me, but YMMV.

We started with an order of calamari, which was very tasty -- a nice flaky breading and a reasonable portion. But it was all downhill after that. I had the grilled chicken breast sandwich and found the flavor mixing to be extremely dull (and in retrospect, I didn't notice the goat cheese at all.) Hardly inedible, but I wasn't exactly looking forward to the next bite. My girlfriend's shrimp salad sandwich was a major disappointment. The "spicy mango jam" was just some chunks of mango and the sandwich lacked spiciness overall as it was way too heavy on the mayo ("No zip," in the words of my girlfriend.) Also, there was far too little avocado. It was served on an uncut, thick roll which made it too difficult to eat like a sandwich, and the bread was so tough that eating it open faced proved a challenge (a steak knife had a very difficult time cutting through it.) Finally, the shrimp were not chopped up (as I would have expected for a shrimp salad) and were not deveined, which my girlfriend found to be a major turnoff.

But the problems started even before we started eating.
The place was nearly full when we arrived, but how anyone got there is beyond me, as there is virtually no parking to be had anywhere near the place (I guess you can park in the Mallatt's lot after 7pm). We managed to find a parking spot a few blocks away, but not on our first pass. There are 3 doors to the place, but only one which allows access, and none were marked. It's a "seat yourself" joint, which as a general rule I dislike, since it sometimes means it takes a while for a server to notice you. This turned out not to be the case (the service was actually quite excellent, so no complaints in that department) but here's a tip: If you're gonna be a "seat yourself" place, have menus on the table (especially when it's just one-sheet, as it is here.)

The layout of the place is pretty nonsensical -- there's a lot of open space in the front, but the backend (where the bathrooms and kitchen are) is blocked off by massive picnic-table-style seating which means you have to walk considerably out of your way and around a lot of tables to get from where we were sitting (in a tiny backroom on barstools) to the restrooms.

Overall, a pretty unappealing experience. I can't imagine ever wanting to go back.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Dec 05, 2012 11:57 am

Point of clarification:

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:It's a "seat yourself" joint

Perhaps sometimes, but not by rule.

Henry Vilas
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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:03 pm

Kyle seems to like it. Gates & Brovi has an appealing concession-stand vibe

But I hope he knows that cod isn't a freshwater fish.

Beer-steamed Gulf shrimp and a whole Maine lobster are appealing but not exactly locavore. The Friday fish fry feels more like Wisconsin, and the fillets of cod are flaky, pure white and coated in a crisp, dark batter.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Laboratory » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:08 pm

If I were to write a review of my recent experience at Gates & Brovi, I would be accused of plagiarizing Prof. Wagstaff.

I really like Sardine, so Gates & Brovi ended up being a major disappointment.

Prof. Wagstaff
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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:11 pm

As Kyle also notes, the place does seem popular.
I certainly have no problem with people having different taste than me (and I'm always willing to grant that we were there on an off-night food-wise or we simply didn't order the best menu items) but where the hell is everyone coming from? There's really nowhere to park. It seems like a monumentally stupid location and yet the place was full last night at 6pm and Kyle's article describes a Friday night packed with families. Did they bus in or parachute?

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:15 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:But I hope he knows that cod isn't a freshwater fish.

Note that I wrote "feels more like" rather than "is from the lakes of."

(I'm right here, you can talk to me, Henry.)

Prof., I can see the issue with parking but never once actually faced it. Parked more or less directly in front twice, and in the Mallatt's lot for another visit. Add "good parking" to the list of differences between the lovers and the no-thankyous, I guess.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:17 pm

BP, I guess you have a different definition of locavore than I do. To me, it's more than just a feeling.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:19 pm

I did forget to mention the one thing I really loved about the place:
Anchor Steam on tap! Yummy!

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby christopher_robin » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:19 pm

When we did the Arts Extract podcast from Gates & Brovi we actually arranged carpooling, the parking is so bad. Really bad scene for the neighborhood.

Wagstaff's review is quite entertaining.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby TheBookPolice » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:23 pm

Henry Vilas wrote:BP, I guess you have a different definition of locavore than I do. To me, it's more than just a feeling.

You're nitpicking, Henry, in addition to assuming opinions not in evidence.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby jjoyce » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:45 pm

The neighborhood appears to love it. The two times I've been there, it's been packed full of kids.

I like it just fine for what I've gotten there: burgers. And fried clams. And beer. I'll go back for those. I've yet to give it the ultimate bar test: mid-afternoon on a Saturday for a late lunch and a college basketball game on TV. It would have to be pretty good to displace my favorites for that activity: Oakcrest, Village Green, Village, any Great Dane.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby rrnate » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:48 pm

Uh, what's with the shrimp not being deveined? Is it some new food trend to eat shrimp shit?

As for parking - isn't this the place that's shooting to be very bike friendly? The location is indeed super good for near west siders who bike around (not me, I don't know how to ride a bike, sadly).

Henry Vilas wrote:BP, I guess you have a different definition of locavore than I do. To me, it's more than just a feeling.


Minus one for reading comprehension here, Henry. Did someone piss in your bran flakes this morning? You're kind of whipping up a snip about nothing.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby O.J. » Wed Dec 05, 2012 12:50 pm

jjoyce wrote: And fried clams.


Those don't appear to be on the menu, was it a special? Whole body or strips?

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Henry Vilas » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:07 pm

I thought a locavore was one who prefers locally produced foods. Maybe I'm wrong.

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Re: Gates & Brovi

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Wed Dec 05, 2012 1:14 pm

rrnate wrote:Uh, what's with the shrimp not being deveined?
To be fair, the shrimp were small (bigger than "salad shrimp" but still only about an inch probably) and I've found it's not that uncommon for such small fellas to not be deveined. (I assume because it's a huge pain in the ass for something so small.) Had they simply chopped up the shrimp (which again, I was surprised they didn't for something called "shrimp salad") it would probably have been unnoticeable, but my girlfriend found it very unappealing. It's certainly not harmful (assuming they've been properly cooked) -- the real reason for deveining isn't for health or flavor reasons, it's more textural (shrimp poop has a lot of sand in it.)


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