#21 Gotham Bar and Grill
Dry boat sea scallops $23
A selection of plump, seared and slightly sweet scallops served with seasonal vegetables in a brown butter foam. Plated with morsels of earthy parsnips, delicate sunchokes and small, smooth-skinned baby binje potatoes. Covered with a light spuma and garnished with fresh watercress and chives.
Black bass $35
A huge portion of flaky black bass on a bed of rich Mediterranean vegetables. Thick slices of caramelized fennel, baby Swiss chard, tart, lemon-y sorrel and delicate new potatoes. Surrounded by juicy sundried tomatoes and dressed with a rich black olive vinaigrette. And, of course, suffused with plenty of olive oil. While enjoyable, the intense tomatoes overpowered the dish, overwhelming the delicate flavors of the chard and sorrel. Instead, it tasted like a simple Provençal fish dish, leaving little room for the meaty bass to speak for itself.
Free range chicken $34
This sizeable piece of tender chicken was served with a rich sauce, hearty vegetables and a generous amount of Israeli couscous. The moist chicken was plated on a bed of braised artichokes, fava beans, truffle-y hen of the woods mushrooms and a starchy couscous. Infused with tart preserved lemon and accented with a light, spiced yoghurt sauce for balance and flavor. Topped off with a small handful of crisp frisee lettuce.
Gotham chocolate cake, served warm with seasonal ice cream $13
This light and crumbly chocolate cake is a Gotham Bar and Grill classic. Served warm, it’s moist and fluffy, coursing with intense hits of rich chocolate. Served with a quenelle of cool, seasonal, vanilla ice cream on a bed of crumbled chocolate and plated with a swipe of thick chocolate sauce. Tasty but also a bit dated. Plus, we felt that it could have been bigger.
While highly rated, Chef Alfred Portale’s Gotham Bar and Grill has been around for over two decades now and, as far as the menu goes, it seems to show. The well-executed dishes are tasty but somewhat unimaginative, taking classic ingredients and blending them to create standard and well known flavors. The black bass, for instance, relied far too heavily on the sweet punch of the sundried tomatoes.
With its cavernous space and waistcoat-equipped waiters, this New York establishment is more of an expense account eatery than a place to enjoy a tasty meal. We were also disappointed by the somewhat snooty staff. Head this way if you want classic American fare (the New York strip is meant to be quite excellent) but don’t expect culinary fireworks.
12 E. 12th St.