Diners who step into Greenwich Village fixture Gotham Bar & Grill tonight may not recognize a single thing: There’s a new chef in the kitchen, a revamped menu that strays beyond classic American fare, and colorful ceramics have replaced traditionally white plates.
The driving force behind the changes is chef Victoria Blamey, who took over earlier this year when longtime chef Alfred Portale announced he was leaving to open his own restaurant. She’s carefully plotted a total overhaul of the 35-year-old restaurant that includes dishes like spicy octopus ragu, made with black felicetti pasta, charred sungold tomatoes, and peperoncino.
Blamey’s cooking contrasts Portale’s traditionalist ways — his iconic dishes included upscale American fare like a hamburger, tuna tartare, and apple tarte tatin, whereas Blamey is better known for putting her own spin on those same dishes. During her time at West Village revival Chumley’s, she created a beef tartare paired with confit tomatoes, sheep’s milk cheese, and fried beef tendon as well as a bone marrow-laced burger that led her to a two-star review in the Times.
A version of her acclaimed burger will appear at Gotham, as well as dishes like charred Japanese eggplant with wild peas, black garlic broth, and pickled chanterelle mushrooms, and yellowtail crudo with smoked avocado and white soy sauce. Not a single dish from the previous menu was kept; see the new menu below.
Her goal is to liven up the food and space to attract a younger crowd.
It’s not the first time Blamey is stepping into a New York relic to attempt to make it cool again. When she took over Chumley’s in the West Village, the final product was nothing like the original Prohibition-era speakeasy. But Chumley’s 2.0 had a menu loaded with “more excitement than you’ll come across in other new restaurants that are getting far more attention,” Times critic Pete Wells wrote in 2017.
The new Gotham Bar & Grill opens tonight at 12 East 12th Street, between University Place and Fifth Avenue.