First Look: Bobby Flay's Gato

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Zachary Feldman
It's been nearly a decade since Bobby Flay last opened a new restaurant in New York, and in that time, The Man Who Would Throw Down has had to forfeit the two restaurants closest to his heart: Southwestern-inflected flagship Mesa Grill and its follow-up Bolo, where Flay channeled the flavors of Spain. But even with those personal losses, the celebrity chef's cultural cache has only increased, from meeting grills to meeting President Obama. Now we have Gato (324 Lafayette Street, 212-334-6400), a NoHo Mediterranean restaurant where Flay is promising he'll be spending most of his days (for the foreseeable future, at least).

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Zachary Feldman

The chef was circling stations and checking in at the pass on a recent visit, visible through a line of windows that look onto the kitchen. The dining room boasts oversized design elements like vaulted ceilings, blocky brick walls, and a massive centerpiece bar that encourages schmoozing and boozing, but the space still doesn't exactly feel big box.

Flay's savory menu is separated into five sections encompassing standard appetizers ($12-$18), entrees ($27-$34), and sides ($10). A platter of spreads gets its own billing, though the portion of yogurt, hummus, and white bean dips doesn't match up with the $16 price tag. Perhaps because of that bar, a choice of small tastes are available at three for $17. We had no complaints about juicy slips of lamb tenderloin sitting on top of salsa verde or the pleasantly spongy chorizo crepinette with apricot mostarda and pickled brussels sprouts, but a flash fried prawn, eaten whole and dipped in deep, herbal green romesco mayonnaise, made for an especially fine pairing with one of the four sherries available by the glass.

Location Info

Gato

324 Lafayette St., New York, NY

Category: Restaurant

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1 comments
psizzo
psizzo

Let me tell you about Gato.  This place looks amazing when you walk in, but unfortunately that is where the accolades end.  We came in without a reservation and they said it would likely be around 30 minutes.  After an hour (At 10:30 PM) we asked if a table would be ready anytime soon.  3 managers or hosts stood around saying they would "discuss" if they could get a table for us.  There were 4-5 booths available, and when we asked them about them they said that they wanted to make sure the kitchen could handle an additional table.  What??  They asked us to wait more and they would get back to us.  The tall manager with curly grey hair stood there with his hands in his pockets for 10 minutes making no move to seat us.  After asking him 3 times if they were going to seat us at one of the 4 tables they were staring at they again just said they were "working it out."  Unreal.  They just refused to seat us when they clearly knew we were waiting and there were tables available.  Is this really a Bobby Flay restaurant?  Is it really a NY restaurant?  This guy (The manager) is not qualified to run a professional establishment.  I am sure the place is great, but they have no idea what they are doing in terms of service...

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