Perfect for: A special occasion date
Price range: $$$$ Splurge
My rating: 9.5/10
Food: 10/10 Service: 9/10 Ambience: 10/10
If you hadn't noticed, I take food pretty seriously. And if there's Restaurant Week on when I'm around, I'll be the first in the door. So I somehow lucked out and got Monday off work, and the first thing that came to mind was that I had to go and try Gotham Bar & Grill since they are only offering their Restaurant Week menu for Mon-Fri lunches.
So at 1pm on a Monday, I'm streaming past a number of impeccably dressed men in suits (one of whom was carrying a stack of Forbes magazines - clearly means business) to snag my table at this well-reputed restaurant - it has 4.5 stars on Yelp after a trillion reviews, that's got to mean something. I am immediately seated at the bar - because when you're dining alone, you don't have to wait - next to another lonely diner who is obviously here for the same reason I am (to take photos of food), and two men talking strictly business (I hear the words financing, Wall Street and Carolina Herrera thrown around and I immediately classify them as bankers for high-end labels).
I order from the prix fixe Restaurant Week menu:
Entree: Wild Striped Bass Sashimi with Asian pear, watermelon radish, cucumber, yuzu ginger emulsion avocado wasabi purée
Main: Pappardelle With Braised Short Rib Ragu with swiss chard, winter squash, aged pecorino
Dessert: Tropical "Vacherin" (vanilla parfait, passion fruit, mango paper, coconut sorbet)
Before I dive into the details of each, let me just say that the meal was top-notch. I couldn't fault the chefs even if I wanted to - not even on the quantity, it was all perfect. I can see why they've managed a 4.5 star rating on Yelp now.
The striped bass sashimi was fresh, the wasabi wasn't overwhelming given the avocado addition, and the yuzu ginger emulsion added just the right amount of tart to the dish, almost acting like a vinaigrette for the salad of pear, radish and cucumber.
Wild Striped Bass Sashimi with Asian pear, watermelon radish, cucumber, yuzu ginger emulsion avocado wasabi purée
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I consider myself quite well-versed in the pappardelle-sphere. I can tell you this was great - silky and al dente - a close second to the pappardelle I had at al di la, and that's competing with an brilliant Italian trattoria. The braised short rib ragu wasn't what I was expecting and wasn't your traditional Italian ragu - it was much more soup-like given the additional of the vegetables, but it was incredibly flavoursome and had me scraping the last of my plate.
The dessert of the 'vacherin' was described to me as a deconstructed parfait but it was really a combination of coconut macaroon, coconut sorbet, mango paper and passionfruit jelly. I'm butchering it completely but it was a brilliant combination of ingredients, especially if you're a fan of passionfruit, mango and coconut - which I am.
As for the service and ambience, this was very much a fine dining restaurant. The waitstaff were incredibly professional all throughout and the only fault I noted was when I had to ask twice for the check (only due to the waiter engaging in conversation with other patrons). The ambience for lunch was light yet you definitely got the sense that this was where the business deals get done over lunch.
And for $25 (excluding tax and tip) this meal was robbery in broad daylight. Yes I would do this again, I would do this every lunchtime if I had the time and spare calories to do so. Would I dine here and indulge in their regular menu? YES. I'm looking at it now and already planning a trip back.