For 30 years Gotham has lured diners to east 12 Street to experience the grand setting and the celebrated cuisine of Chef Alfred Portale.
Opening its doors in in 1984 along a tree-lined stretch of the fabled Greenwich Village neighborhood, Gotham was the vision of four New Yorkers from diverse backgrounds. Jerry Kretchmer, Jeff Bliss, Rick Rathe and Robert Rathe set out to create a downtown restaurant reminiscent of the energy, feel and beauty of a Parisian brasserie. Breaking with convention the restaurant was designed to be lively, inclusive and approachable which proved a winning formula as the restaurant was an immediate downtown sensation. One year later the Gotham team determined to upgrade its menu, enlisted the talent of a young, unknown Chef, Alfred Portale. Portale would bring the cuisine to a new level and together Gotham and Portale have proven a winning duo with critics and patrons alike.
In 2010 the New York Times awarded Gotham its fifth three-star review, a distinction achieved by no other New York restaurant. In 2009 New York Magazine named Gotham one of the most important New York City restaurants of the past forty years. Since 2005 the restaurant has maintained a one star Michelin rating and the restaurant is consistently highly ranked in the annual Zagat Guide. The restaurant has also collected three James Beard Awards including the prestigious Award as Outstanding Restaurant in the nation in 2002, and in 2006 Chef Portale was named Outstanding Chef in the nation.
The restaurant’s wine program has evolved over the years as well, earning the respect of many top wine makers who share rare and hard-to-obtain vintages and small production wines. The result is a vast and varied cellar making Gotham Bar and Grill an essential wine destination.
In addition to the consistent quality of food and service, Gotham’s uncommon longevity can be attributed to the tireless efforts of Portale and partners who continuously evolve the menu, dining room, service standards and art collection (Gotham contracts its own curator). All with the objective of maintaining Gotham’s vibrant and beloved guest experience.
The ideal spot for any occasion, Gotham Bar and Grill serves dinner seven nights a week, and serves lunch Monday through Friday, when the room is awash in bright sunlight, and the restaurant offers its legendary prix fixe lunch menu, an institution unto itself and one of New York City’s great values.
Executive Chef & Partner
Chef Alfred Portale is a culinary creator, innovator and architect whose heart belongs to the very restaurant where his career began 28 years ago—Gotham Bar and Grill.
In 1985, Portale took the reins at the young Greenwich Village restaurant. His idea was to bring fine dining downtown, both in terms of cuisine and style. Portale wanted to create a restaurant that emulated the standards of the 3-Star Michelin restaurants from his time in France with Jacques Maximin and the Troisgros brothers. At Gotham, Portale developed a seasonal menu with an American sensibility: relaxed elegance, prime product and bold flavors.
Portale’s dedication to sourcing quality ingredients from small farms and specialty purveyors placed him among those chefs who are identified as the leaders of the movement known as New American Cuisine. This movement, now emulated across the country, marked a return to the simple pleasures of quality ingredients fused with French technique and international influence.
Within three months Gotham received its first 3-Star New York Times review and Portale’s reputation was established. At Gotham for 28 years now, Portale has continued to transform haute cuisine, making it vibrant, contemporary and relaxed. Today, he has earned a total of five three-star reviews from The New York Times; the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Restaurant in 2002; and the James Beard Foundation Award for Outstanding Chef in 2006.
Portale’s dedication to Gotham and its impact on American dining is revealed in the restaurant’s kitchen, which has seen its share of many of today’s culinary stars including the likes of Tom Valente, David Walzog, Bill Telepan, Wylie Dufresne and even a brief stint with Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio.
In 2004 Portale, along with restaurateur Stephen Star, reimagined the Philadelphia restaurant Striped Bass. Portale and his Chef de Cuisine Christopher Lee garnered national attention for their efforts. Lee went on to win the James Beard Award for “Rising Star Chef” in 2005 and went on to be the celebrated chef at the restaurant Gilt in the New York Palace Hotel and Executive Chef for the opening of Charlie Palmer’s Aureole Restaurant.
In 2008 Portale opened Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau Resort in Miami Beach. This interpretation of the American Steakhouse was awarded Best Steakhoue by Miami News and Best New Restaurant. Gotham Steak is a continuation of Portale’s commitment to ingredients with a menu featuring select meats representing some of the finest farms in America. The menu features many classic steakhouse fares albeit with Portale’s flare for bold and layered flavors.
Chef de Cuisine
New at the helm of Gotham’s kitchen is Chef de Cuisine Livio Velardo. Livio joined Gotham in November of 2011 after returning to New York from a stint in San Francisco at Michael Tusk’s Restaurant, Quince.
Before his move west Livio was founding partner and chef for The New French on Hudson Street. At The New French his innovative and eclectic menu earned NY Magazine’s Best New Neighborhood Bistro and praise from Adam Platt for his creative brisket sandwich. Prior to opening The New French, Livio spent four years as a sous chef under Chef Floyd Cardoz at Danny Meyer’s Tabla.
Livio found his way to the culinary world while putting himself through college. He liked the kitchen enough to transfer to the Culinary Institute of America, where he graduated in 1997. He then spent a few years traversing the United States, cooking wherever he went. In 2001 he landed in San Francisco where he worked at Drew Nieporent and Larry Stone’s famed Rubicon for three years. He was quickly promoted to chef de cuisine. Livio credits his three years at Rubicon as fundamental in his cooking. It was where he learned classic French technique with a California sensibility.
Gotham Bar and Grill is proud to have Livio managing the kitchen and tirelessly working to keep the menu fresh, seasonal and as local as possible.
Executive Pastry Chef
After studying the art of pastry in Europe and heading the dessert program of Gordon Ramsay at The London in New York, Pastry Chef Ron Paprocki makes his way to the kitchen of Gotham Bar and Grill.
Ron received his culinary training at Elisabeth-Knipping Schule in Kassel, Germany and served as an apprentice pastry chef at Café Alheit in Kassel. Upon receiving his diploma in pastry arts in 2004, Ron moved to New York where he became Head Baker and Assistant Pastry Chef at the celebrated Financier Patisserie. In August 2005, Ron helped to open Sascha Bakery/Restaurant in New York’s Meatpacking District, where he served as Pastry Sous Chef.
In the Fall of 2006, Ron joined the opening team of Gordon Ramsay at The London, where in addition to running the pastry program of the two Michelin-starred restaurant, he oversaw the pastry program of the hotel’s casual dining space, Maze, and managed The London’s room service and banqueting offerings. In 2011, Ron was honored as a top ten pastry chef in the United States by Dessert Professional Magazine.
As a chef focused on seasonality, Ron is drawn to the market-driven ethos of Gotham—and its proximity to the Union Square Greenmarket. Ron approaches dessert as a light and enjoyable finale to one’s dining experience and likes playing with the natural acidity of fresh fruits to brighten even the richest chocolate experience, often incorporating fresh market ingredients into Gotham’s pastry program.
As Managing Partner of Gotham Bar and Grill, for the past seven years Bret Csencsitz has ensured that Gotham lives up to its legacy while continuing to push boundaries and elevate itself among New York’s best and most beloved restaurants. In addition to his work keeping Gotham growing strong, Csencsitz has demonstrated his commitment to New York and the food movement through his work with GrowNYC.
Prior to coming downtown, Csencsitz worked for seven years as a leader in Daniel Boulud’s restaurant group.
Before entering the restaurant industry, like many of the field’s professionals before him, Csencsitz has his roots in the performing and cinematic arts, as an actor, director and producer. He trained as a Shakespearian actor and his studies in the work of the Bard have impacted every aspect of his life and work, including naming his son William.
Food and the arts remain Csencsitz’s twin passions today.
Director of Operations
Brandon Lynn has worked consistently in the restaurant and event industries for the past two decades. Brandon brings his expertise to all facets of Gotham from the daily operations to private events and off site ventures.
After graduating from the University of Pittsburgh with a major in Arts Administration, Brandon re-located to Palm Beach where he started worked as the Assistant General Manager of the Palm Beach Tavern. Followed by a tenure at the Heart of Palm Beach Hotel as the Director of Food and Beverage. It was there that he merged his knowledge of the restaurant industry with his interest in private events initiating their off-site catering and event management program. After his departure from the hotel Brandon began consulting for major concerts, events and restaurants throughout the United States and South East Asia. He then took his business acumen to the next level as the Director of Production Services at Sunbound Destination Management Company overseeing major corporate events throughout Florida and the Bahamas.
In the summer of 2008, Brandon made the move to New York City where he started work at Gotham Bar and Grill. In his time at Gotham as the Director of Events and Assistant General Manager, Brandon utilized his knowledge of fine dining, wine expertise and event management working with high profile clientele including celebrities, culinary critics, and Heads of State. In early 2012, Brandon became The Director of Sales and Corporate Events for SCM which allowed him to utilize his skills in management in Beverly Hills, Miami, Las Vegas and Toronto. This year, Brandon has used his cumulative knowledge of all things hospitality to transition back to Gotham as the Director of Operations where he oversees daily operations and is expanding Gotham’s event business.
Heidi Turzyn ensures that the Gotham cellar and wine list of some 800 selections will meet the desires of each of our diners. The list is a collection of benchmark wines as well as artisanal producers representing every wine producing region around the globe.
As classically trained dancer Heidi move to New York City from her childhood home in Long Island to pursue her passion for dance. She found herself drawn to the art and beauty of wine while working in restaurants. What began as an interest soon became another passion. Heidi enrolled in a program at IWSET (International Wine and Sprit Education and Trust).
Heidi originally began working as a bartender at Gotham Bar and Grill, where she absorbed Gotham’s wine program while continuing her education at IWSET. She left bartending to take a sommelier position at David Burke Townhouse. Within the two years she was with David Burke, she was promoted to wine director followed shortly by a promotion to Beverage Director of The David Burke Group.
Heidi returns to Gotham Bar and Grill as Wine Director in 2013, she continues her wine education with the Court of Master Sommeliers.