Good morning everyone! To my friends that are celebrating, Happy New Year! So, guys, last night I finally went to Bobby Flay's Gato. I didn't have a reservation but that's what the bar is for, right? Even if I tried, all of the ideal times between now and Columbus Day weekend are booked. I popped in around 6 on a Wednesday and it was already bustling. Dark wood, exposed pipes and brilliant light fixtures give off an industrial chic (read: East Village) vibe. Aesthetically it's a bit different from Flay's other establishments that I've been to but that's a good thing. The quality ingredients and bold flavor combinations however, have Flay written all over them and were what attracted my appetite in the first place.
Once I settled in at the bar I ordered an Albarino that was full yet fresh and had hints of tropical fruit. I was then presented with warm bread, a salt cellar and Granny Smith green olive oil that, like the wine was fruity and fresh. At this point, I'm trembling with excitement; if the bread and oil are this good the food is going to be divine.
I ordered a small bite trio that included ricotta with mushrooms and hazelnut toast, lamb tenderloin with salsa verde, and an eleven layer potato with shallots and sage. They came out quickly but you'd never think it was rushed because the presentation was exquisite. I hated to dismantle the carefully constructed plates but but my stomach couldn't wait any longer. Being the carb lover I am I sampled the potato first. The thin, delicate slices had a touch of sweetness from the roasted shallot and were enveloped in creamy goodness. It was, maybe, a two by two bite but it was packed with decadence.
The lamb was three small bites but oh my, they were PERFECT. Perfect, I tell you. Mr. Flay, you have spoiled me. The man knows his meat; it was seared on the outside, rare on the inside and the salsa verde was swirled with some chile oil (we're talking about Bobby Flay here, you knew that was coming) creating the perfect balance of flavor and texture.
Lastly, I had the ricotta. A healthy dollop with some meaty mushrooms and finely chopped hazelnuts resulted in an earthy, crunchy palette. For some reason I want to describe this dish as whimsical. It's really not but it was a very 'fun' plate for me. Blame it on the Albarino.
I knew had a bit more room left in me so I ordered the scrambled egg appetizer with almond romesco and tomato confit. According to the bartender the eggs and the octopus are the most requested dishes. Of all the ways to eat an egg, scrambled is probably my least favorite. Too many things can go wrong. Unless you're Bobby Flay that is. These eggs....oh my goodness, oh my goodness, oh my goodness.
The eggs were mixed with creme fraiche so they managed to be calorific yet delicate and practically weightless at the same time. The almond romesco separated (in a good way) so that the crunch of the nut and the spice of the chile oil cut the creaminess of the eggs. I didn't bother with the toast, I just shoveled the eggs in my mouth and savored every bite. The couple next to me said, "Oh, we were going to get the eggs, are they good?" Are they good? Are theygood? I replied, "You each better get your own because I don't care if the president sat next to me, I wouldn't share these."
When the bartender came to clear my plate I actually pouted. I moped, "I'm really sad they're gone" You would have thought I was talking about my friends. Like actual people. Nope, eggs. And then with a smile he delivered these prophetic words, "Well, you can always come back."