The classy, energetic and multi-cultural zest of New York congregates at Gotham Bar and Grill for great meals plated as the new American cuisine. What this means for your palate, only the chef knows, but as much as the later can serve as the definition at Gotham the new American means “sourcing quality ingredients from small farms and specialty purveyors fused with French technique and international influence”. America is a culinary melt-up, where anything crowds pleasing is possible, yet Gotham was designed to be more casual for its time, while being priced for the elite.
For over a decade the Gotham Bar and Grill has kept its one star in the Michelin Guide, but what it celebrates is stability, rare in the city that always moves forward or somewhere else and never grounds in stillness. The French cuisine trained executive chef and co-owner Alfred Portale has been cooking at Gotham for over three decades and he contributed to its rise to fame in the late 1980s with his simplicity and market-driven approach to American cuisine.
Gotham’s casually professional and insider knowledge sparking waiting staff makes the event enjoyable. Inside the spacious room with high ceilings business meals mingle with cute Japanese girls, couples and other connoisseurs from all over the world. Dress smart casual. You can wear a cool t-shirt if you want. Contemplate the art collection at least for a while since Gotham has its own curator who swings in intriguing art works.
The food is rich yet well-balanced. The menu is course-driven, but you can choose whatever you want. If you feel like having two or there plates from the first courses then go for it. Gotham has been recognised as one of the best restaurants in Manhattan since the late 1980s. It is a heroic task to keep a restaurant on the top for more than five years in such a competitive city as New York.
From the “First courses” I enjoyed the STRIPED BASS CEVICHE with watermelon, avocado and cilantro purée, Thai chili in a ginger lime emulsion. The fish was fresh and the watermelon worked marvels with the raw white fish. Very different from a classical ceviche, although the lime juice and cilantro keep resembling this Peruvian staple, yet the avocado and watermelon added a contrasting twist. To make it even more Americana exotic chilli and ginger emulsion were added for a not that simple dish.
From the “Weekly market selections” I must praise the DAY BOAT SEA SCALLOPS served with sweet corn, marble potatoes and cherry tomatoes and white wine emulsion. Here the chef embraces the seasonal market produce. The tender scallops with a grill-imprinted crisp top were perfect, stop.
In the “Second courses” the most popular plate is now the classic Seafood Salad. A bundle of scallops, squids, Japanese octopus, moist lobster and a creamy rich avocado drizzled with lemon vinaigrette and crowned by a majestic crest of lettuce. Wholesome, fresh and complex texture that would please any seafood afficionado.
The 28 DAY DRY AGED NEW YORK STEAK cooked in bordelaise sauce and served with marrow mustard custard and vidalia onion rings is cooked to perfection. Whether you like it medium rare or medium, you will get a juicy flank of beef. The onion rings are crisp and not too oily, the house mustard ideally accompanies the meat and the rainbow of carrots add some healthy carotene. The real, main courses are designed as “Third courses” I like the WHOLE ROASTED MAINE LOBSTER. More succulent, tender and juicy than any other lobster, the giant creature is served on long strings of napa cabbage, Japanese enoki mushrooms and snow peas kaffir lime ginger broth, making for a very rich plate.
Keep some room for desserts or cheese. We craved the GOTHAM CHOCOLATE CAKE served warm with seasonal ice cream. It was deep, rich and not too sugary. The perfect dessert with the red wine we ordered.
The NEW YORK ARTISANAL CHEESE SELECTION includes as its name suggests local cheeses with each having the farmer’s name attached to it on the menu so you know where exactly they all come from. Served with a house nut bread and a fruit jelly this was a perfect final touch to our unforgettable dinner.
Drinks: The wine list is spectacular. The selection is so broad that you will find anything from Spanish sherry, Portuguese Madeira to American Cabs and even the off-the-beaten-track Israeli and Greek wines. Also an opportunity to explore the unknown. I tried a glass of crisp and fresh Riesling “Dry” Hermann J. Wiemer from Finger Lakes. This wine sparked my interest in wines from the New York State.
We have not cruised into the unchartered waters though with our bottle as we found the Pinot Noir from Marcassin “Marcassin Vineyard”. Plump and juicy yet not too fruity. It was smooth and fresh.
Lunch: Mon – Fri: 12:00noon – 2:15pm
Dinner: Mon – Thurs: 5:3o – 10:00pm; Friday: 5:30 – 11:00pm; Sat: 5:00 – 11:00pm; Sun: 5:00 – 10:00PM
12 East 12th Street Manhattan, NY 10003
+1 212 620 4020