Return to Gotham: A great fixed price lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill

December 18, 2016 | By More
A front window looking into Gotham Bar and Grill

A front window looking into Gotham Bar and Grill

Each time we return to Gotham Bar and Grill, we’re captivated by the elegance of the spacious multi-level dining room: It looks like it could be the stage set for a glamorous Hollywood movie.

The walls and fabrics are bathed in relaxing neutral colors accented by the furniture and floors with dark woods. The stunning ceiling lights are draped in gossamer fabric. Everything is picture perfect and on a grand scale—setting the expectation for a meal that follows suit. And it doesn’t disappoint.

As Seekenders, we recently dined at Gotham Bar and Grill during our New York City staycation weekend at the Hampton by Hilton Manhattan-Times Square North in Hell’s Kitchen.

Gotham has been one of our favorites ever since we began celebrating family milestones there when our son Andrew was a student at nearby New York University. Each time he comes back from California, we make a point of returning. 

Dining Room at Gotham Bar and Grill

Dining Room at Gotham Bar and Grill with servers at the back 

Bar at Gotham Bar and Grill (burgers served here at lunch and dinner)

Bar at Gotham Bar and Grill (Gotham Burgers served here at lunch and dinner)

City art on display at Gotham Bar and Grill

City art on display at Gotham Bar and Grill

Backstory

Menu at Gotham Bar and Grill

Menu at Gotham Bar and Grill

When Executive chef and co-owner Alfred Portale assumed the helm of the kitchen in 1984 (more than thirty years ago!), the young CIA grad was relatively unknown. Since then Chef Portale has joined the ranks of top tier celebrity chefs with three cookbooks under his (apron) belt and numerous TV appearances, both as a judge on Top Chef and sharing the kitchen with Julia Child on the PBS Cooking with Master Chefs series.

Revered by his peers and foodie devotees as one of the pioneers of “ “New American” cuisine, the accolades achieved by the chef and Gotham Bar and Grill are inextricably woven together. Consistently earning Michelin stars each year since 2006, both the restaurant and chef have been recognized with multiple James Beard awards, including one for Outstanding Restaurant in the nation and another for Outstanding Chef in the nation. Gotham always ranks high in Zagat ratings and critical reviews by the New York Times.

Why we return

What is most striking about dining at Gotham, however, is its consistency. The changing menu is seasonal, emphasizing the best, always-fresh ingredients available. Portions are right-sized. Remarkably, you can depend on a dining experience that is just as awesome this time as the last time you were here.

When we arrived for lunch on a Friday, shortly before the restaurant’s noon opening, the front house crew was assembled in the back receiving last minute instructions from their manager. As guests began to be seated, the team dispersed to different parts of the room with military-like precision.

We were here to celebrate Andrew’s birthday and everything was orchestrated to perfection. The flavors of each of the varied first and second courses we tried offered a wonderful mélange of textures and tastes. As usual, plating was elevated to an art form. The bread plate and water glasses were always refilled without asking.

Squash soup with Honeycrisp apples, toasted pecans and cinnamon-spiced marscarpone

Hearty squash soup with Honeycrisp apples, toasted pecans and cinnamon-spiced marscarpone

Wild striped bass ceviche with persimmon, purple radish, cucumber, avocado and a citrus emulsion

Very fresh-tasting wild striped bass ceviche with persimmon, purple radish, cucumber, avocado and a citrus emulsion

Barley risotto with squash, Brussels sprouts, dried cherries and Parmagiano Reggiano

Barley risotto with squash, Brussels sprouts, dried cherries and Parmagiano Reggiano

Nova Scotia Salmon with cauliflower, leeks and Shitake mushrooms in a verjus emulsion

Tender Nova Scotia Salmon with cauliflower, leeks and Shitake mushrooms in a verjus emulsion

Short ribs with Cipollini onions, Thumbelina carrots and potato in a red wine veal reduction

Melt in your mouth short ribs with Cipollini onions, Thumbelina carrots and potato in a red wine veal reduction (at a $10 surcharge)

If you’ve ever tasted Gotham Chocolate Cake, you’ll understand why each of us ordered the same dessert.

Gotham Chocolate Cake - simply the best

Gotham Chocolate Cake – simply the best

Unexpected tribute to a patron 

When I went to the rest room on the lower level, I found a touching exhibition there (on display until March 2017) honoring Martin Friedman, an important influencer in 20th century art.

Gotham Tribute To Martin Friedman (Credit: Gotham Bar and Grill)

Gotham Tribute To Martin Friedman (Credit: Gotham Bar and Grill)

Friedman, who had overseen the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis for 30 years, recently had passed away. According to the signage, the champion of Modernism and his wife had lived on 12th Street for many years and frequently entertained other art luminaries at Gotham, almost using it as his own private kitchen.

Bottom line

When we arrived, we challenged our server. To our dismay, we had only one hour and 15 minutes available for our three-course lunch before our next appointment. Think: Speed-Eating! 

She and her colleagues in the back of the house were able to pace the meal perfectly so there wasn’t any down time between courses. The check arrived in time, along with our dessert.

When we had called to make reservations several days earlier, I had mentioned that we were celebrating Andrew’s birthday. Without the need for any reminder, our server discretely brought out some extra baked goodies for him that we asked to have packaged to take home.

Gotham: A birthday remembrance

Gotham: A birthday remembrance

Given the relaxed setting, service, and quality of the Michelin-starred meal, the three-course, prix fixe Greenmarket Lunch (available Monday through Friday) at $38 per person is an absolute steal. Another feel good bonus: One dollar from each meal is donated to GrowNYC’s educational programs.

Can’t wait to return again!


IF YOU GO

Gotham Bar and Grill
12 East 12th Street, between Fifth Avenue & University Place, New York, NY

  • Reservations can be made on OpenTable or by phone.
  • While there were no lunch or diner reservations available on OpenTable for the day we chose, we were able to snag a reservation by calling one-day before (after the restaurant had made confirmation calls).
  • Many diners, especially regulars, enjoy dining on the platform area adjacent to the bar. 
  • The three-course Gotham lunch during NYC Restaurant Week (twice a year) is an even more unbeatable bargain.


Disclosure: As a member of the Seekender team, our weekend getaway to Hell’s Kitchen in Manhattan was sponsored by Hampton by Hilton but we paid for our own lunch at Gotham Bar and Grill, and all opinions expressed in this post are our own.

Hampton by Hilton logo

Hampton by Hilton logo

Given its convenient locationHampton by Hilton Manhattan-Times Square North is an excellent value if you are planning a trip to NYC. 

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Category: FOOD & WINE

Comments (15)

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  1. Janice Chung says:

    Wow! $38 for a prix fixe lunch..that looked and sounded amazing! Love the looks of the restaurant too. What a nice touch that Andrew got some extra “baked goodies”!

  2. We had a few special restaurants over the years as we celebrated special family occasions and I can definitely see why The Gotham Bar and Grill is yours. As I drooled over each of your beautiful pictures of the menu offerings I was thinking “I wonder what a fixed price menu for this feast costs?” The ambience, the service and the food look wonderful but, at $38 per person this is absolutely amazing!

  3. Nathalie says:

    I can’t believe the price for that lunch, pretty amazing for NYC. I remember going to Gotham during our last days of living in Manhattan in 2007, thank you for bringing me back to a wonderful memory.

  4. Sure looks good, and the price is certainly right. Have to give it a try sometime when we are in the city.

  5. Lisa Chavis says:

    What a gorgeous place for a birthday lunch! And you’re right, $38 for a lunch in NYC is a steal! Those dishes look amazing. We’ll be in the city in January and I’m already looking at Open Table for a visit while we’re there – thanks so much for sharing!

  6. Sheryl Kraft says:

    Sounds like perfection! The prix fixe lunch is a great deal- would love to go some time.

  7. Sue Reddel says:

    I am definitely adding this to our list of places to visit next time we’re in NYC. This lunch time deal for $38 is unheard of for this type of fine dining. Thanks for sharing it!

  8. Jackie Smith says:

    That is beyond a steal! I’ve paid over $20 for a half sandwich and a glass of wine – both served without fanfare or atmosphere. I will definitely remember this place should I get close enough to visit it! Great report. . .

  9. Lauren says:

    looks great!

  10. Patti Morrow says:

    My favorites would be the risotto and the salmon — they look absolutely yummy! I love how they use draping fabrics in their interior design.

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