Classic Tables: Gotham Bar and Grill
Twenty-five years' worth of hits--at 1980s prices
Consistency (at least the foolish kind) may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but Gotham Bar and Grill can attribute much of its 25 years of success to the infallible perfectionism of chef-owner Alfred Portale, who has been with the restaurant since 1985.
In an industry where kitchens are revolving doors, Portale has held his ground, yet he's managed to keep the Greenwich Village restaurant up-to-date and relevant by cooking seasonal, ingredient-driven cuisine since long before those words became clichéd.
Want proof? On Sunday nights through Labor Day, Gotham is revisiting its early days with a special menu of classic dishes offered at their 1980s prices.
But there's nothing dated about this menu. Dishes like heirloom-tomato bruschetta (1989; $14) and goat-cheese ravioli (1985; $12)--which have since become ubiquitous--are still a revelation when you taste them at their fountainhead.
Every dish has a story: When Portale first created his tuna tartare in the late 1980s, the only tuna most diners had encountered came in a can. Unsatisfied with the fish he was sourcing, Portale asked his favorite sushi chef for his supplier. He taxied his first 140-pound piece of tuna to the restaurant on his lap, then dressed it with the bright Asian flavors of a ginger vinaigrette.
But you won't find this dish ($20)--which has been aped countless times--among the '80s throwback offerings. It's such a classic that it remains on the nightly menu.
Gotham Bar and Grill, 12 E. 12th St. (between Fifth Ave. and University Pl.); 212-620-4020 or gothambarandgrill.com
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