Gato, gato, gato.. I had been trying to get a rez here forever. Finally I realized that if I tried at exactly midnight, exactly one month before, it was possible to get a weekday reservation for four at a normal hour. Even when we got there for our reservation, we had to wait 45 minutes to be seated, but it worked out because we got a great shot of Bobby Flay up close talking to the hostess.
We were seated right in the thick of things and a couple of us started out with glasses of sherry, which ended up complimenting the food beautifully, leaving a nutty after taste.
We went for the "chose three" option from the bar menu with steak crudo, burrata with beets and an artichoke heart, quail egg and uni combo. I really loved the burrata, but it was not so unique from any other. The steak crudo had a nice bite; it was more interesting than others I've had. I was intrigued by the artichoke/egg/uni number, but the egg totally overpowered the uni to where I could barely taste it. Also, these bar snacks were a bit too teeny tiny to share with just one other person.
You don't usually see scrambled eggs on a tapas menu, so we decided to go with that. They were nice and moist, with some cheese and almond romesco, great for the tomato toast.
The pizza was pretty great, lamb sausage and mint with a nice crispy crust.
We had to at least get one veggie and we decided to go with the cauliflower with peppers and agrodulce. I'm not such a big fine of the sweet and sour sauce, but the side was good overall and this was actually one of my friend's favorite dishes.
We also had the tortiglioni, which was a simple tomato, basil, eggplant and ricotta, but pretty taste.
Everyone's favorite was the kale risotto! What an interesting thing to have on a menu in the first place and then it was just really done right. The toasty crust on the risotto was amazing and the fried artichokes and egg were great touches. This is a must order.
I love pork and I love polenta, so naturally I enjoyed this porterhouse porkchop with romesco polenta yum yum. The meat was so tender and juicy as well.
Of course since it was a dinner club meeting, we each had our own dessert. I had the blackberry crostata with strawberry rhubarb gelato and it was pretty nice with a great flaky crust.
Others got the lemon tart, bread pudding and plum tart with vanilla black pepper gelato. For me, highlights were the bread pudding and the gelato.
Some tasty biscuits of pistachio and dark chocolate with the bill is always a great gesture as well.
Overall, the must of the food wasn't so unique, there were some new and different dishes and with Flay in the kitchen, everything was really cooked and seasoned to perfection. The service and nyc hot spot atmosphere were really great, too. However, we are still trying to figure out why its called Gato..
Check out this Roasted Octopus, Bacon, Sour Orange, Pepper at Gato gatonyc1
Check out this Kale Paella, Wild Mushroom, Crispy Artichoke, Egg at Gato gatonyc1 // a couple artichokes were too hard to chew
Check out this Charred Beef, Valdeon Blue Cheese Brown Butter, Red Wine... at Gato gatonyc1 // wanted to love this but the quality of the beef was lacking at a $37 price tag
on top of crunchy in and dressing gatonyc even better than my first visit. Nice work,
Selection from the gatonyc . Left to right: , and salad, and on top of - that's egg on egg :). Perfect to go with a Provenal
with crispy and egg. This is the highlight of the night! combining crunchy and earthy mushroom flavor. The egg yolk adding buttery taste and creamy texture. This is 4th July fireworks on your tongue! Cherry on top, they gave us roasted on the house :)
Tasty small bites to start, beef crudo, Piquillo filled tuna, brandade w squid ink n artichoke hearts, quail egg n uni.
Love this kale n wild mushroom paella w cripsy artichokes n egg.
Porterhouse pork chop was slightly over for my liking but it was well seasoned and still flavorful. I'll get it again ygoodness
Pan seared orata (a Mediterranean fish) w Piquillo pesto. Love this sauce mmm!
Duck confit w fregula sarda, delicate squash, mustard greens n pomegranates
Bobby Flay’s Noho restaurant Gato has Spanish-Mediterannean influenced cuisine that is bursting with flavor and creativity. It is a meal not to be missed.
Scrambled Eggs: Talk about maybe the best scrambled eggs I’ve ever had in my life. These were made with almond romesco and boucheron cheese and consumed like a spread over tomato confit toast. It had incredible flavor and texture and truly just melted in my mouth. I never knew eggs could taste like this. It is definitely a must-order dish.
Crab Risotto: This crab risotto with garlic breadcrumbs and calabrian red chile was pretty good. I liked the crab flavor, and the garlic breadcrumbs added a great crunch, but this was just a little one-note, especially after consuming the scrambled eggs.
Pizza with Lamb Sausage: I loved this simple pizza with lamb sausage. The tomato jam had such a unique flavor that just worked so well with the lamb and mint, which is always a nice pairing.
Tarragon Chicken: I don’t usually go for the chicken, but I was drawn to the idea of chicken with crispy potatoes, goat cheese and dandelion. Though the picture here isn’t great, the chicken is so juicy and flavorful and the crispy potatoes with goat cheese are some of the best (though a bit heavy). I would definitely get this again.
Charred Beef: This dish was composed of three thick cuts of charred beef covered in Valdeon blue cheese brown butter and red wine, and comes with a side of broccoli rabe-farro. The beef was perfectly cooked medium rare and the broccoli rabe-farro had a ton of flavor; I found myself picking at this even after I was full.
Saffron Linguine: This was saffron linguine with mussels, garlic and parsley. Not exactly what I expected, I still found this to be unique and tasty with strong flavors of saffron and seafood. The crab risotto and this saffron linguine were my least favorite dishes of the night though, and I might suggest skipping both and trying other items on the menu.
Pear & Cranberry Crostata: This was an incredible warm crostata filled with pear and cranberry topped with pumpkin gelato. I’m always a little skeptical of desserts like this because sometimes I can find the fruit to be a bit overwhelming, but here it was just perfect. And the pumpkin gelato had a mild hint of pumpkin that paired well with the fruit. Together it was a perfect seasonal dessert that really tasted like autumn/beginning of winter.
Chocolate Crema Catalana: This is the dessert to save room for. It’s basically a crème brûlée with chocolate cream and toasted hazelnuts on top. It was creamy, crunchy, and just delicious.
Gato: 324 Lafayette Street, New York, NY ($$$)
Gato, Bobby Flay’s latest restaurant, asks us to ponder whether a TV chef best known for throwdowns and gimmicks, for a line of spice rubs and a middle-brow empire of tourist traps, can still cook food that matters.
For now, the answer is emphatically yes. Gato is so good, in fact, that it invites you to forget his multiply cloned restaurants at various casinos, his half-dozen TV shows (that’s only the active ones—there have been many others), his cookbooks, and his burger palaces in eleven states.
Flay is omni-present on TV, but he was once a serious restaurant chef. With the critically admired Mesa Grill in 1991 and Bolo in 1993, he was on the way to the kind of restaurant empire that chefs like David Chang and the Torrisi gang have built in New York today.
He chose a different path, proliferating his brand outside New York, and augmenting it with a lineup of cookbooks, spice rubs, and especially TV shows, where his good looks and winning smile made him a natural. He never entirely took his eye off his kitchens: he was already a minor industry in 2003 when William Grimes upgraded Bolo to three stars.
But the New York restaurants gradually faded. Frank Bruni demoted Mesa Grill to one star in 2008. Bolo closed in 2008 to make way for condos, Mesa Grill in 2013 after losing its lease. His remaining New York City restaurant, Bar Americain, was well off the radar.
The loss of Bolo stuck in his craw, and there were persistent rumors he would re-open it. He was certainly patient: he told Eater.com that he looked at “hundreds and hundreds of spaces” over “five or six years.” After securing a liquor license under that name, Flay changed his mind and called it Gato, after a stray cat that walked by while he and his partners were scoping the storefront they eventually chose.
No one disputes that Flay has been enormously successful by many measures, but he apparently realizes that many people no longer take him seriously as a chef. Jeff Gordiner’s obligatory New York Times puff piece captured the chef’s dilemma:
Gato represents an obsessive midlife quest for Mr. Flay, and a test case for whether any celebrity chef can command both the mass-market spotlight and credibility as a culinary auteur. Can a guy who hosts “Worst Cooks in America,” oversees an expanding network of mall-ready burger joints, and currently has more brand presence at the Mohegan Sun casino than in Manhattan return to his roots and win hosannas for a serious restaurant in his hometown?
New York will soon find out. “I’m putting myself on the line,” he said.
At this point, if anything has a chance of beating Bobby Flay, it’s fame itself — the widespread impression that he is drawn more by the glare of the soundstage than the glow of the stove.
People think that I don’t cook,” he said. “And it’s just the furthest thing from the truth.”
For now, at least, Flay is indeed “on the line.” Multiple bloggers (not just the famous ones) have spotted him at Gato, and he’s in the kitchen, not glad-handing at the tables. It is hard to believe he’ll be there often after the review cycle is over—his other commitments are too daunting for that—but for now, he is, and Gato is terrific.
The cuisine is vaguely pan-Mediterranean, not Spanish as Bolo was, but the food is in Flay’s immediately accessible, flavor-forward style. He does not challenge the diner, but what he does, he does well. By today’s standards, the restaurant is mid-priced. A section of the menu labeled “Bar” (but orderable at the tables as well) offers 13 little tapas-like snacks, any three for $17. Conventional appetizers are $14–18, vegetable side dishes $10, entrées $24–35.
There’s some ambivalence about the mission. The handsome half-timber dining room features exposed brick on the walls and ceiling, tile floors, wooden tables, and red accents on the banquettes and light fixtures. Nothing about it suggests the Mediterranean. Should Gato fail, it could become another branch of Bobby Flay Steak, and they wouldn’t have to change a thing.
Likewise the wine list, which fits on either side of a broadsheet: it’s more Spanish than anything else. And yet, California, Oregon, and France have prominent guest-starring roles, as if diners wouldn’t accept an all-Mediterranean list.
But give credit where it is due: a 2007 Rioja was fairly priced at $56. A sommelier served it in the right glassware, and at the correct temperature.
We started with a trio of bar snacks ($17). The kitchen confused our order, sending out two we had ordered and one that we hadn’t. The server apologized and sent out our original third item separately.
We had the artichoke heart with quail egg and sea urchin (top left); chorizo crepinette with apricot mostarda and pickled brussels sprouts (top right); eleven-layer potato with caramelized shallots and fried sage (bottom left); and white anchovies with sour orange (bottom right). There wasn’t a dud among the bunch; they’re terrific starters that I’d happily try again.
Scrambled Eggs ($14; above left) might be Flay’s most inspired dish here, and that’s saying something. He mixes them with almond romesco, boucheron cheese and tomato confit, and serves them with toast.
There are two pizzas on offer. The kitchen comped the pizza with lamb sausage, tomato jam, mozzaralla and mint (normally $17; above right). If pizza were the only item served, this could very well be the restaurant’s signature item.
Vegetable Paella ($27; above left) is an experiment that could easily be a flop; here, it’s brilliant. Kale, wild mushrooms, and crisp artichokes are arrayed in concentric circles with a fried egg in the middle. The server stirs it all up, and you’ve got instant magic.
Charred Beef ($35; above right) is the most expensive entrée, but well worth it. The preparation of the beef is masterful, with a charred crust and ruby red interior. Bleu cheese impart a flavor somewhat like dry aging; there’s also brown butter, red wine sauce, broccoli rabe and faro beans.
The service here is better than it has to be. Silverware and plates were replaced after every course (never a given with shared plates). Runners appeared repeatedly to wipe the table clean. The restaurant was almost full on a Wednesday evening, but the kitchen kept pace, and had the timing just about right.
Flay may insist that he’s in the kitchen for good, but no one could seriously believe that. Will the menu change periodically? Will the quality of the food remain so high after his attentions are diverted? History suggests it will not. If you go to Gato at all, you should go now.
Food: Vaguely pan-Mediterranean with a pan-Everything wine list
Service: Surprisingly polished for a place this populist
Ambiance: A large and bustling but generic post-Industrial dining room
chef Bobby Flay *\(^_^)/*
Bobby Flay’s newest restaurant, Gato, opened a few months ago on Lafayette Street in NoHo. I’m sure you’ve probably been to one of Chef Flay’s restaurants before such as Mesa Grill (closed) or Bar Americain. Honestly, I wasn’t much of a fan of his restaurants, but I changed my mind after visiting Gato! I even went twice within one month which is unusual for me. Chef Flay has created a very impressive, new style of Mediterranean cuisine. On your first visit you must try the tapas listed at the top of their menu. You can choose three tapas for $17. I tried 6 dishes between the two times I visited. I forgot a camera my second time there, so I don’t have food photos of everything I ate. My favorite tapas was the Beef Crudo, Lamb Tenderloin, and Piquillo Filled With Raw Tuna. You can see my photos below.
Three tapas for $17
I enjoyed the rabbit with couscous so much that I ordered it again on my second visit. This time the dish came with vegetables instead of fava beans. If you read my blog regularly, you know that I’m a huge fan of fava beans! So, I wish it came like that all the time. It was still yummy, though. ;)
RABBIT FREGULA SARDA, CHANTERELLES, PEAS, CARROT HOT SAUCE $30 ♥♥♥♥
I love that you can see the kitchen through a glass window because you can watch Chef Flay hard at work. It was wonderful to meet him on my first visit, too! ;) I recommend Gato for any night of the week. I also suggest you go soon while Chef Flay is still cooking everything himself. I believe the first few months after an opening a famous chef will work in the kitchen to make sure operations run well. Don’t miss your chance for his personal touch to your meal *\(^_^)/*
BEEF CRUDO PICKLED FRESNO CHILES ♥♥♥♥
LAMB TENDERLOIN SALSA VERDE ♥♥♥
PIQUILLO FILLED WITH RAW TUNA SAFFRON SAUCE ♥♥♥
MUSSEL & RAZOR CLAM SALAD SAFFRON PICKLED SHALLOTS ♥♥♥
Must try: Scrambled Eggs, Mushroom and Kale Paella
I’ve always loved Bobby Flay on-screen but not quite so much his restaurants. For me Mesa Grill and Bar Americain were just okay. However, I think that Gato is probably one his better openings yet.
Gato, which debuted to high praise, is Flay’s brand new Mediterranean spot. What’s cool is that the Chef himself is on hand in the kitchen and can be seen cooking here often. The space is massive is packed on most nights.
The menu which has many small plate options has a wide range of offerings. I really liked their take on “Scrambled Eggs”.
The octopus came highly recommend but was chewy – a big disappointment. However the “Kale and Mushroom Paella” reigned supreme. It was a fantastic rendition and all vegetarian. I think it was my favorite dish of the night.
I know that Gato has opened to rave reviews but I didn’t fall in love with it. I think the food is very good here for most part and the service is great. It’s a very solid restaurant in many ways but just not one that endeared itself to me.
Here is some of what we ate:
Oven Roasted Shrimp Roasted Octopus Scrambled Eggs Gato Spreads with Buckwheat Pita Roasted Cauliflower Mushroom and Kale Paella Apple Crostata
[Pigging by Wilfrid: April 23, 2014]
Few things cause more hand-wringing among serious foodies, it seems, than the possibility of one of the brasher, most ubiquitous Food Network "stars" opening a good restaurant. But it really shouldn't come as a big surprise that Bobby Flay has done just that. He does, after all, have a history.
Did Bobby Flay parlay TV success into a string of name restaurants? No. In short, he made a name for himself at the age of 24, running a modern Southwestern kitchen at Miracle Grill (I missed that). Three years later, with long-time partner Larry Kretchmer, he launched the restaurant which made him famous: Mesa Grill (two stars from the Times in '94). Then came his second restaurant, the Spanish Bolo (1993--two Times stars when it opened, three stars in 2003); then the first books; and only then--beginning 1996--his first appearances on the nascent Food Network.
He's a chef who became a TV chef, not vice versa. And what did he do with fame? For a long time, nothing. He waited more than ten years after opening Bolo to extend his brand, first with a second Mesa Grill in Las Vegas; in 2005 with a third New York restaurant, Bar Americain; and since 2008, mainly with a string of burger joints. For a very long time, he was a restaurant chef with just two restaurants, both near his home. And a bunch of TV shows.
Did I like Flay's restaurants? One of the first extended pieces I wrote for the Pink Pig was "Pig Meets Grill: or Bobby Flay Has A Cold" (May 2007), for which I re-visited all three extant NYC Flay outposts, finding some good--and some bad--food, amidst the "cataclysm" of tourists, flashbulbs, and fuss. And Gato?
Flay is still partnered with Kretchmer. Right now, he's working hard in the open kitchen. The place has been busy from day one (people gather outside before 5.30 to grab a bar seat). The food is excellent.
Whether you're at the bar, as I was one evening, or at a table, as I was for my second dinner here, don't overlook the bar snacks. They're listed before appetizers on the menus, and priced at $17 for three. They hit the high spots of creativity. Style? Recognizably Spanish, but with controlled levels of warm spicing--and sweetness--that have always been part of Flay's arsenal.
Instantly recognizable, what I described in 2007 as "One of the signatures of Flay's presentation...some kind of colorful oil, leaching (in a nice way) around the perimeter of the main ingredients." Green and orange as ever, but not always his distinctive ancho-chili/star-anise duo. Herbed oils too (chive--there are a lot of chives in this kitchen).
Duck liver is not, of course, foie gras, and doesn't claim to be. Savory, charred slices were enriched with sweet black grapes. Light fragments of squid served as a canvas for the kitchen to paint powerful flavors of highly smoked bacon and sweet garlic. But for signs of how Flay has moved with the times, consider the artichoke heart, serving as an edible tartlet for a soft quail egg and a lobe of uni: these are grown up flavors, flavors of the moment--earthy, flinty, sober.
A chorizo crépinette--a flat meatball, I suppose--was from the familiar Flay playbook, the heat growing slowly from mild to fierce, sweetness added through an apricot mustard. But here too, 2014 showed itself in the diaphanous shavings of raw fennel, adding an accent of refreshment.
The eleven (who's counting?) layer potato cake I ate twice, and I don't care how soon I eat it again. Dextrous to the limit. Assembled like a gratin; gently moist within; assertively crisp on top; sweetened with thoroughly caramelized (but not burnt) onions; finished with a flourish of crisp sage leaves ("Chips," said my daughter, fighting for a share). This is precisely a dish which will be lame and bland if it's turned out by a kitchen which no longer cares. Right now, it's simply charming.
From the appetizer selection, I forced myself to see what Flay is doing with eggs (as everyone eats eggs for dinner now). This despite the attractive look of the octopus (this week's thing), and the deep appeal of crab risotto with Calabrian hot peppers. The scrambled eggs are deftly made, as one would hope and expect, suspended between firm and runny. And then the flavors are layered in. Rough dabs of ripe Bucheron, the Loire goat cheese. Plenty of those chives, of course. And the element which made the dish--an almond romesco, sweet (again) from the peppers, and adding a fine texture from the minced nuts, scattered like tiny migas throughout the dish.
As so often, the foot was somewhat off the pedal for some of the entrées. A hearty plate of tarragon chicken was correct, the chicken not dry, the patatas crisp and golden, the dandelion garnish leaning appropriately towards bitter. The tarragon was melted as a kind of coat on the chicken, and definitely had...other stuff...mixed in with it.
The best of the three large plates I tried was the rabbit with fregula sarda. The rabbit leg melted under an almost shockingly rich--and very French--meat glaze. A veal reduction? The saucing persisted through the al dente fregula. Almost camouflaged in there, some chanterelles, and two neatly cooked canons of the rabbit saddle, each topped with a crisp sliver of pancetta. A really well-crafted dish (and another spicy one).
The one outright flaw of my two meals--and I think it was unintentional--was the beef fat swimming around slices of charred steak. I saw this dish served to someone else, and I don't think it's part of the plan. Some blood from the rare meat, fine, but not all those juices, please. The beef was pleasant, a Valdeon blue cheese topping pushing the tanginess.
Only one dessert, but it was a doozy. The kind of sugar package to send you straight to bed. No subtlety here. Described by the server as a "classic" tarte tatin, it was a bomb of flaky pastry stuffed with rich, booze-soaked apples. A black pepper vanilla ice cream cleared your passages like wasabi. The Calvados-caramel sauce was like something from a misspent childhood. Lovely, but somehow knocking you out at the same time.
That was a reeling finish to a meal which had started with a notably strong French 75 (heavy on the Dorothy Parker) from the well-priced cocktail list ($12-$14). Wines by the glass are fairly priced too: a Mencia ($10 or $11?) complemented this food, as did a D'Esclans rosé. By the bottle, you can stay with $40-$60 hearty reds, or launch into vintage Riojas. (The online list isn't up-to-date.)
Comps? Yes. There's a plausible sherry list here--the Manzanilla and Amontillado BTG are a steal. I ordered a PX to accompany dessert, and was gifted an Oloroso to go with it. And a plate of biscotti.
My advice? Stop agonizing over whether you should enjoy a restaurant brought to you by the brash enabler of much that's wrong with food TV (Beat Bobby Flay--really?), and go while it's still good. Because it is good; it's even my best new opening of 2014 so far.
Here's the website.
Some delicious spreads at Gato especially the yogurt and green chiles.
Scrambled eggs with almond romesco, voucher on cheese and tomato confit toast. Yeah, this is really good.
A ton of awesome small plates including chorizo, eggplant and an 11 layer potato. Seriously.
This charted beef with blue cheese is so good that it makes me want to fight people with forks.
Dear porterhouse pork chop, I want to buy you expenses jewelry and take you on an exotic cruise.
Gato is a Mediterranean restaurant located in NoHo district of New York City. Bobby Flay is the celebrity chef who sometimes makes an appearance behind the line. They also feature Spanish dishes. Their ratings distribution is heavily weighted in the five star category, making them a safe pick.
The crab risotto and mushroom paella are mentioned by many reviewers to be definite highlights. They mention that they are creamy, packed with flavor but not overly heavy, as it could easily be. The risotto in particular is quite generous with the portions of crab, which reviewers appreciated.
Reviewers note the atmosphere is fun, hip, young and exciting. It is perfect for date night, with a dimly lit and intimate atmosphere. They say that it is an amazing vibe that is worth it in and of itself to visit. It is a spacious restaurant that is conducive to relaxing and enjoying a meal.
The service is rated as professional and indicative of a five-star establishment. The wait staff were knowledgeable, efficient, and attentive. Reviewers note that these staff are clearly people who think of serving as their career instead of just a job and do everything to perfection.