The Gotham Bar and Grill Still Rules

The Gotham Bar and Grill opened in 1984.   The restaurant is still running strong. 

In today’s NYTimes,  Wednesday’s dining section, the top article was about the Contemporary Dining Scene since 1985.  The article chose 5 restauranteurs who truly shaped NYC dining over the past 20 years.  Alfred Portale, the chef at Gotham, being one of them.  The others being Danny Meyer (without question), Jean-Georges Vongerichten, David Bouley and Drew Nieporent.  These guys basically reinvented dining in NYC.  Just pure coincidence that we had dinner at Gotham last night.

The Gotham is in my neighborhood and I can not count the amount of times that we have dropped by and sat at the bar for a late night dinner.  Truth is, I can’t remember the last time I actually sat at a table there.  But, I have been there many many times.  The food is always excellent.  They pour a nice stiff scotch.  The peanuts at the bar are perfect.  Also, the menu is forever changing with the season which is probably what keeps the place fresh. 

Last night we split 2 appetizers and an entree.  All delicious.  We started with the special pasta.  Braised lamb shank sauce over pappardella pasta. The sauce was rich yet balanced and it was perfect over the extra wide pasta to absorb the thick sauce.  Perfect for a wet cold night.  We also split the seafood salad.  The thing about Gotham which is great is when I think about seafood salad, it is not what I imagined when the plate comes.  Everything on your place is art.  The lettuce rolled up perfectly and stuck in between a mixture of seafood that had been molded into a round shape.  Sliced and fanned avocado over the top and a lemon vinegarette underneath.  Quite good.  For the main course we had duck breasts that had been cooked and sliced medium rare served with roasted eggplant and red peppers with a mild red curry sauce and a pyramid of sticky rice.  Simple and good.

Can’t beat it.  Keep in mind that I have purchased Portales cookbooks and have found that most of the recipes don’t work.  I have had to doctor them up quite a bit.  I could actually tell by reading them that they weren’t going to work.  I have used them more conceptually than to follow after my past experiences.  Great concepts, bad execution.  I’d recommend eating at Gotham instead of trying to duplicate the experience at home. 

The space is beautiful.  The big glass windows open on to 12th street.  A real New York treat, still 20 plus years later.