Thursday, September 4, 2014

Gato

When it comes to birthdays with my sister and her husband, Mr. M&P and I split up the year. The spring/summer is focused on the boys. The winter is for the girls. This past birthday celebration (the boys), we wanted to try something new. Lucky for us, Chef Bobby Flay had just opened a new restaurant in NYC. It's been a long time since he's opened up a new restaurant and we were excited to try all the new influences he's been playing around with.
We decided to share everything so that we may taste more dishes together. To start, we had the White Chicory Salad ($14) with chorizo, egg, fontina cheese, and apricot almond dressing. This was a really nice salad both bitter and luxurious from the richness of the egg and fattiness of the chorizo. The dressing added the slight sweetness that it needed.

The Roasted Octopus ($17) with sour orange, bacon, and oregano was also pretty good. A tender piece of tentacle dressed lightly. My only complaint would be that the portion size was pretty small.
The small bites from the bar menu (3 for $17) were certainly small bites. They were the size of amuse bouche. We had the lamb tenderloin with salsa verde, artichoke heart with quail egg and sea urchin, and the mussel and razor clam salad. Overall, the flavors were very ho hum. If I were sitting at the bar and wanted something to snack on, I would consider this. But for dinner, it's a pass.
The Crab Risotto ($18) was quite a deal. A large portion to share. They didn't skimp on the pieces of crab meat that was found strewn throughout the creamy risotto rice. This was a really satisfying dish.
The Pizza with Lamb Sausage ($17) was excellent as well. The thick dough held up well to the cheese, sausage, tomato jam, and mint. A tasty dish to share.
And now the entrees to share. Here is the Portorhouse Pork Chop ($29) with tomato pan juices and romesco polenta. A nice thick piece of meat cooked like a steak leaving it incredibly juicy and tender inside. The sauce on top helped cut through the richness of the meat very nicely.
The Fresh Fettuccine ($34) with squid ink pasta, red prawns, mussels, green onion sauce was a miss. The prawns which looked big were actually quite skimpy when it came to the meat on the body. I personally had wished they kept the peel on but I can understand of they wanted a certain aesthetic to the dish. Many patrons do not like using their hands when they're eating. Anyway, the pasta was just okay too. Nothing actually excited me about this dish.
The Kale and Mushroom Paella ($27) with crispy artichokes and egg was the hit of the night. Well seasoned, crispy rice and plenty of crispy bits to share. A really good amount of vegetables too.
And finally the Charred Carrots ($10) was ordered as a side dish to our meal. Carrots and harissa. It seems like everyone is doing this dish right now. And I can see why. The flavors are very good together. The only thing I didn't like about this dish was that some pieces were much too charred but pretty much burned to an unappetizing crisp leaving a foul taste in our mouths.
And because it's someone's birthday, we shared some dessert. This is the Blackberry Crostata ($11) which was excellent. A flaky crust with butter and sugar notes. Tart blackberries in the middle and a creamy strawberry rhubarb gelato on top. I really enjoyed this dessert.
We also tried the Fromage Blanc Cheesecake ($11) with blood orange sauce and almond crust. This was a light airy cheescake which was welcomed after such a heavy meal. Sweet but not overly so. The small size was perfect for the richness it provided.
If you're not up for a whole dessert after your savory meal, then a few pieces of biscotti comes with the bill. Not a bad way to end the meal.
Overall, I enjoyed my meal at Gato. Clearly some dishes were better than others but the whole meal itself was quite nice. The decor is dark (hence the weird color of my pictures) and the noise level is a bit too loud for an intimate occasion. However, we were there to chat, laugh, and stuff our faces silly. A good time indeed.

Gato
324 Lafayette Street
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-6400
gatonyc.com

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