Ode to Alfred Portale, Gotham Bar and Grill

200px-Alfred_Portale I remember my first meal at Gotham Bar and Grill.  And I continued to return over the next 25 years.  After all, Gotham Bar and Grill opened around the time we began our life in the city.  We are all now older.  We have gone through many transformations and unfortunately, Gotham Bar and Grill has made none.  It is time for a major transformation if Portale wants his restaurant on 12th street to make it another 25 years or even another 5.

The decor is old and tired.  The large soaring ceiling lamps are oh so 80's.  It is time to change them.  The overall seating, the bar, the layout is wonderful but the colors and over all decor is primed for a move into the 21st century.  I expect to turn around and see women with big shoulder pads and bad perms. 

The food has always been delicious.  Portale became a leader in the way we eat our food with Gotham Bar and Grill.  Fresh seasonal ingredients piled high with exquisite care on how the plate should look when served.  But nothing has changed.  The menu is basically the same.  The portions are huge.  The prices are over the top.  There isn't a bottle of wine available for under $75 in the cellar.  Will people continue to embrace that?  It wasn't so hard to get a reservation so my guess is not. 

The food just wasn't what it used to be.  Everything was good but it wasn't great.  Alfred, be a leader again.  Close down for a month and put a coat of fresh paint on the walls, make a few sorely needed touches to the place.  Open with a fresh new menu that defines how people eat today.  Get your prices in order.  Auction off your wine cellar or just bring the prices in line with how people spend today.  I know it is in you.  You have been running on cruise control for awhile.  Aren't you ready to show the world that you still have it?

Let me know when you get there and I will happily return.  But until then, I will dine in places of old and new that are more in line with the realities of today from vibe to food to decor to wine list.  You've got my number. 

Comments (Archived):

  1. daryn

    It’s far too easy to be on “cruise control”, especially after n-years of success. Hopefully Alfred hears you calling him out, and is inspired to do a little introspection.I find that we mainly eat at restaurants that are 10 years old or younger, and many of them are places that we visited when they first opened. Some have aged well, but it is always sad to see the ones that haven’t.