Restaurant Week New York 2011 – Gotham Bar and Grill
It was an amazing Restaurant Week in Washington, D.C. From the newcomers like Smith Commons to the ensconced Oceanaire the nation’s capitol chefs showed off seasonal menus and local flavor. What a great way to wet my palette in the young year. Eager for more, I headed north up 95 for the restaurant mecca: New York City.
Restaurant Week NYC has long been envied as “the week” to savor the assemblage of the Big Apple’s most coveted plates. I licked my chops with anticipation. With literally hundreds of eateries within blocks, I determined a strategic approach may be best. I started in Greenwich with a New York old-hand — Gotham Bar and Grill.
Escaping the statuesque buildings of Manhattan, 12 East 12th Street is an inviting destination with crystal clear windows broadcasting the warm pristine dining room of Gotham. I stepped out from the bustling of Broadway to the elegant flourishes of white-collared waitstaff. Positioned for a bird’s eye view, I was given a table perched in the rear.
A ghost-white neatened linen table cloth held polished silver cutlery and spotless stemware. I grinned at the ramekin of rock salt on the table. Sometimes it’s the subtle touches that make a meal memorable. Though in jeans, I didn’t feel a bit out of place in the semi-formal and casually dressed audience.
Our first course, in a 3 course pre fixe menu was a soup or salad option. Having my fill of Clam Chowder and Mushroom Salad the previous week, I went with the other common choice of Baby Spinach Salad. Assembled with layers of baby spinach and paper thin poached pears, the pyramid shaped salad was jeweled with whole candied walnuts and chunks of roquefort cheese. Tossed in an apple vinaigrette the acidic dressing permeated my nose. In an effort to maintain my manners (and not wolf it down) I cut each fork full into manage bites. Simple, straight forward and delicious is everything this salad is.
Yearning for more, I didn’t have to wait long for the next course. The symphony like movements of the staff at Gotham is as pleasing to watch as a Broadway production. Synchronized plate presentations, water replenished with the same grace as pouring a Chateau Margaux; food and service both hold the highest level standards.
I decided to challenge the kitchen by ordering the Flank as my next course. I consider it a rather brave move to put the generally tougher cut of beef on the menu. A picturesque plate of fanned medium cooked beef arrived with lengthwise cut fingerling potatoes. The aroma of broth smells drew me in. I took hold of fork and steak knife as my “inner carnivore” emerged. The first bite was a homage to cows everywhere. It was a perfect medium and sled down my throat like seasoned butter. I could actually taste the granules of pepper and salt. The bordelaise sauce complimented the beef brilliantly, adding depth from the red wine and shallots. The fingerling potatoes were great supporting actors. The crisp lightly seasoned skin encrusted a warm velvety potato flesh. I pulled short of using my fingers to lick the juices from an otherwise clean plate.
Giggling from a full belly, I repositioned myself in my chair for the final course. I was wise to pick a light dessert. The trio of mango, guanabana and pear cassis were a tropical collection of gently sweet sorbet. Three flawless quenelles mounted in a pyramid evoked images of palm trees and summer time with each spoon full. The micro mint cleansed my palate as was the ideal end to a masterful meal.
Rarely am I pleased to pay the bill. But I whipped out the VISA with delight. A steal at the pre fixe price, I felt like I had the the same bargain prices of Canal Street. 4 forks up NYC Grill…aka Gotham Bar and Grill.