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 brain child 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 & Shake in town; and Chef Mike Driskell, who’s worked in many local kitchens from Jack Fry’s to Diamante and Club Grotto. Partnering with other chefs and a small staff, they 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 a Messenger conversation, Matt Rich recalled that he has known Mike 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, offers both lunch and dinner options; it’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. It offers a choice of seven soups and salads, priced 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 in price from $11 (for a shrimp po’boy) to $15 (for a lobster roll).
Six entrees range in price from $13 (for bucatini puttanesca, 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 priced 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 mostly, of course 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 pastrami piled high 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. Deeply roasted, gently charred halved sprouts had been tossed with a savory balsamic and olive oil mix and roasted until done but still firm. All the flavors came together with roasting to make a delicious veggie side.
Bucatini Puttanesca ($13), pictured at the top of the page, omits the usual anchovies to make this the only meatless entree, 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, nd 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 an $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 percent.)