Yes that is right. I went to Gotham Bar and Grill last night for the first time and it lived up to the hype. The place has been a NY institution for the last 25 years, which says a lot especially in these times when restaurants seemingly open and close over night. The occasion was for my mother’s birthday and it was a great night from start to finish. We arrived at 5:30 for our reservation for 4 and were promptly seated at a beautiful table all of the way in the back of the restaurant as far away as possible from the entrance like I had requested when I made the reservation. While many say they think the atmosphere is tired and old I totally disagree. Maybe it was because it was my first time going but I thought the chandeliers and flowers really created a beautiful warm and endearing room. After being seating, our waiter did not come to the table for about 10-15 minutes, which is really one of my other major gripes with the experience.
Once we were seated it took him about 10-15 to bring us our menus. It also took quite awhile for them to come around with the bread to start off. To be quite honest our waiter was rather old and didn’t really have much of a personality. He asked us if we had any questions with the menu, but you could tell he was praying that we said no, which we did. There were also multiple times throughout the meal where he seemingly disappeared for 20-30 minute intervals, which can be rather annoying. The busboys were very attentive though and did indeed fill up our glasses every time the water was running a bit low and made sure the table was cleaned after each course. However, the waiter was just completely off the mark which was disappointing since I had read several reviews about how great the service was. Anyway, that is really my only gripe and going forward you will see the review gets much better. Now onto what was really important the food…….(long detailed review)
After perusing through the menu for 10 or so minutes we decided on the Gotham market pasta and the Alaskan king crab risotto with artichokes, peas, and prosciutto to share for appetizers. The pasta last night was linguini with cremini mushrooms in a creamy truffle sauce. The pasta was cooked perfectly al dente with large abundant chunks of mushroom and even a bit of carrot mixed in and the sauce was delightful. The risotto was incredible- perfectly cooked rice and creamy broth was offset by the sweetness of the chunks of crab and the saltiness from the artichokes and large chunks of prosciutto. If you are only going to have one appetizer at GBG this is the one I would suggest.
The next order of business was the entrees. My mother ordered the soft shell crabs, dad had the rack of lamb, sister went with the Miso marinated cod, and I had the roasted maine lobster. All were terrific. This was the first time my mother had soft shell crabs and I had never had them either but always was dying to try. They gave her 3 very generous, perfectly fried crabs with corn, potato, and mushrooms in this awesome verjus sauce. My mother only ate about 2 and a quarter crabs, and I gladly finished it off for her. The meat in the body of the grab was so thick and plentiful, I felt like I was cutting through a piece of thick chicken breast. The batter was perfectly light and crispy as well. The rack of lack was cooked perfectly and crusted in mustard and bread crumbs. Wow- was the lamb flavor intense. You get 2 double bone lamb chops, swiss chard, and potato puree (which were nothing special). My sister’s Miso cod was also very tasty, however I felt it to be a little boring since many places turn out this same kind of Asian style dish. Finally, was my lobster…heaven. Wow I have never had lobster this good and the presentation was amazing! They gave me two tails and 2 large chunks of claw meat. The lobster was so sweet and fresh with the perfect balance in texture not too mushy with just enough bite to it that it wasn’t shoe leather. They also allowed me to substitute the cheddar grits for potatoes puree and my God were those amazing. They were like mini rice balls, however a tad sweeter due to the corn flavor of the grits. And, they even let me order a side of their famous onion rings also. Here is a piece of advice- GET THE ONION RINGS! They were probably the best I have ever had. The batter was so light and the ratio of batter to onion was perfect- they were like onion donuts. I have to admit I was worried about the portion sizes coming in, however they all turned out to be quite generous and just right leaving us enough room to indulge in dessert.
Dessert- Now here is always the part of the meal that gets difficult for my family. I for one have a HUGE sweet tooth and love dessert. Don’t get me wrong they love dessert too ( who doesn’t), but they always so ok just get one or two and THAT’S IT! Especially when I am paying. But when a place has such an incredible dessert menu like GBG its impossible to choose just one or two. So we went with four! LOL I just couldn’t help myself everything sounded so amazing. Here is what we got:
Gotham Chocolate cake with Toasted Coconut Ice cream- OMG did this every live up to the hype! They brought it out with a candle and wrote Happy bday on it for my mom which was a great touch. The cake was so good- more like the most intense chocolate brownie you ever had. It was not dense at all, yet so light on the inside it basically disintegrated on your tongue like cotton candy. However, this was one intensely chocolate cake so for those who are not chocolate loves one bite is all you need believe me. The coconut ice cream was also the perfect complement to cut through the richness of the chocolate.
Rhubarb Pineapple Souffle with Strawberry Ice cream and meringue- Anytime I see the word SOUFFLE on a menu I know it’s a must order. This did not disappoint.. top was perfectly caramelized for a nice crunch, giving way to the perfect eggy inside that all great soufflés should have. And it had chunks of pineapple in it too. The strawberry ice cream and little crisp meringues pieces were awesome and went well with all of the other components of flavor.
Smores- Who doesn’t love smores? Wow this MAY have been my favorite dessert and luckily this is the one they plopped right in front of me haha. It was a big circle with a graham crust bottom, thick layer of molten chocolate in the center, topped off by a dome of caramelized marshmallow! WOW, when I sliced through it all of the chocolate oozed out I thought I was gunna die from excitement. The hickory nut ice cream that came with it was bomb too. Smores are great but I never had one that tasted this good.
Finally, Warm Sugared Doughnuts with Cashew Nut Ice cream- We got 4 mini sugared doughnuts that were made with ube, a Japanese food product. It is purple and the cake was so incredibly moist it really didn’t taste like a cake doughnut at all. Heavenly, and it was my first time trying ube. The sugar on the outside was abundant and the cashew nut ice cream again amazing. Overall, desserts were a real standout- I only wish they would give you bigger scoops of ice cream!!!!
Ok, so overall the only hiccup was my gripe with some of the aspects of the service and waiter’s behavior and occasional disappearance lol. However, this was one incredible meal and definitely another great New York dining experience with the family. For those of you who say GBG is past its prime, I disagree. I think its as strong as ever and I can see why it has been around so long. I definitely will be back and will not be surprised if in another 25 years they are celebrating their 50th anniversary.
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