Gourmet Provisions! You might think this is an upscale grocery or maybe a shop with fancy pots and pans and kitchen equipment. But you’d be wrong: It’s a new restaurant and a very good one, too.
Gourmet Provisions, which opened Aug. 5, is the brainchild of Matt Rich, who has worked as a server and sometimes bartender at Owl Creek Country Club, Molly Malone’s, KT’s, Wild Eggs and once held a franchise for the last Steak ‘n Shake in town; and Chef Mike Driskell, who’s worked in many local kitchens including Jack Fry’s, Diamante and Club Grotto. Partnering with other chefs and a small staff, the two bring more than 50 years of experience to this venture.
Housed in a storefront on the Goose Creek Lane side of Westport Plaza shopping center, they’re handling the pandemic challenge smartly, focusing most of the business on takeout and curbside service and delivery and in-home meal catering. There’s no table service, but you are welcome to sit down and enjoy your takeout meal on one of three, small, socially distanced tables.
In an online conversation, Rich recalled that he has known Driskell and some other chefs he’s tapping for expertise since they met while working at Molly Malone’s in 2009. He was eager to bring Driskell, in particular, on board at Gourmet Provisions for his skills and, of course, his popular lobster bisque recipe!
The online menu is simple to use and offers lunch and dinner options. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It offers a choice of seven soups and salads, from $7 (for a Caesar, house salad, venison chili or Driskell’s lobster bisque) to $14 (for a California Cobb salad with shrimp and lobster). A half-dozen sandwiches range from $11 (for a shrimp po’boy) to $15 (for a lobster roll).
Six entrées range from $13 (for bucatini puttanesca, with no anchovies, making it the only meatless main course) to $24 (for a half-dozen, extra-large shrimp stuffed with crab imperial).
Larger-scale family meals big enough for two to four are from $34 (for a pork tenderloin family meal with about two pounds of roasted pork with house-made Parmesan scalloped potatoes and a large Caesar) to $90 (for four bourbon-marinated filet mignons served with twice-baked potatoes, grilled asparagus and a Kentucky bibb salad).
A variety of sides are all $4.50 or less, a child’s box with grilled chicken breast with noodles and fruit is $3, and a trio of desserts are $3 to $7.
Lunch was ready at the exact minute requested. Everything was neatly packaged and tightly packed in double bags, so it all stayed in place all the way home.
We started with a $7 cup of black bean, venison chili and found it so abundant that a $10 bowl would have been overkill. A good 12 ounces of very thick chili was crafted from black beans and chopped onions with small flecks of red pepper and tiny meatballs of lean, appropriately gamey ground venison. The black beans and onions nicely balanced what might otherwise have been a fairly strong game component. It was mildly hot-spicy but not at all burning, just a pleasant smoky heat. The chili was topped with a sprinkle of yellow and white cheese shreds and served with two buttery grilled Breadworks baguette rounds.
A piled-high pastrami sandwich ($14) more than lived up to its name. It was a huge sandwich loaded with close to a pound of thinly sliced, dark-brown, house-made sliced pastrami with the traditional fatty edges. It was built on lightly buttered grilled Breadworks rye to make a big square sandwich cut in half diagonally. The pastrami had been smeared with spicy brown mustard with a pile of sliced pickled red cabbage on top. The whole thing was almost too big to bite, and it was really delicious.
A side of Brussels sprouts ($1 upcharge) also came in a generous portion. Gently charred halved sprouts had been tossed with a savory balsamic and olive oil mix and deeply roasted until done but still firm. All the flavors came together with roasting to make a delicious veggie side.
Bucatini puttanesca ($13) omits the usual anchovies, but the mix of bold flavors that replaced them more than made up for the loss. Enough thick bucatini pasta to fill a large bowl was sauced with a charred, ripe-tomato sauce flavored with bits of black kalamata olives, capers, chopped onion and garlic, pickled ginger, spicy heat, and Parmesan cheese shavings. It held its heat and al dente status all the way home. Warm, buttery slices of Breadworks baguette made it complete.
We finished with a warm, soft, sweet and seductive peanut-butter chocolate-chip cookie ($2) topped with a shake of crunchy sea salt. It was a perfect ending to a memorable meal.
An excellent lunch for two was $39.22 plus a $6.66 tip. (I tried to get the online system to take a larger tip, but the order wouldn’t go through until I accepted its highest option, 18%.)
9407 Westport Road