Leave everything you know about traditional restaurant service at the door of Kevin Gillespie’s new Glenwood Park playground. The “Top Chef” alum and his kitchenmates wander the dining room themselves, touting the weekly changing dishes they’ve just prepared. When one is finished making, say, paella or smoked ribs or Sichuan hot and numbing okra, he dashes to customers, and you decide right then if you want the dish or not.

Joseph Ward, one of the three lead chefs (he’s the one without a beard), has emerged as the restaurant’s breakout star: He crafts the menu’s most consistently rewarding dishes, among them the “West Coast burger,” a juicy-messy-divine homage to In-N-Out’s “Double-Double, Animal Style” burger. The radical format—and the name, actually a sentimental nod to Gillespie’s favorite childhood pastime with his father—has made Gunshow the year’s most provocative restaurant.