, pub-1971575927446776, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 Gotham bar and Grill,.....New York! - Connoisseur Magazine
Fine Dining Restaurants-US Top Chefs Profiles

Gotham bar and Grill,…..New York!

Written by Staff Writer

For three decades, 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.


Chef Alfred Portale is a culinary creator, innovator and architect whose heart belongs to the very restaurant where his career began 31 years ago—Gotham Bar and Grill.

When 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. He wanted to create a restaurant that emulated the high standards of the world’s finest restaurants, while still preserving an American sensibility of relaxed elegance.

Chef Portale’s dedication to sourcing quality ingredients from small farms is now the industry standard. His impact on American dining culture continues to resonate with each passing season; he and his team continue to push boundaries to keep Gotham at the forefront of the New York dining scene.

Livio Velardo



Livio joined Gotham in November of 2011 after a stint in San Francisco at Michael Tusk’s restaurant, Quince. Before his move west he was founding partner and chef for The New French on Hudson Street, where his innovative and eclectic menu earned high praise from Adam Platt, as well as NY Magazine’s “Best New Neighborhood Bistro.” A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Chef Velardo has become an integral member of the Gotham family.

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.

Ron Paprocki



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 2004, Ron moved to New York where he became Head Baker and Assistant Pastry Chef at the celebrated Financier Patisserie. Since then he’s been part of the opening teams of Sasch Bakery/Restaurant, as well as Gordon Ramsay at The London.

Chef Paprocki joined the Gotham team in 2011, heading up the Pastry Department as well as the Gotham Chocolates program. He 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.

Bret Csencsitz



For the past seven years Bret has served as Managing Partner of Gotham Bar & Grill, ensuring that the restaurant lives up to its legacy while continuing to push boundaries as a leader in the New York dining scene. During his time at the helm, he has also helped develop the Gotham Chocolates program, as well as a collection of fine culinary products under the label, Gotham Selections. Csencsitz has also demonstrated his commitment to New York and the food movement through his ongoing work with GrowNYC.

Like many in the industry Bret has his roots in the performing arts, having spent much of his early time in the city as an classically-trained actor, director, and producer. His studies in the work of the Bard have impacted nearly every aspect of his life and work, including naming his son William… and his daughter Cordelia.

Food, family, and the arts remain Csencsitz’s driving passions.

Heidi Turzyn



Heidi’s wine list — nearly 800 selections in all — is a collection of benchmark wines as well as small, artisanal producers representing every major wine producing region around the globe.

As classically trained dancer Heidi moved to New York from her childhood home in Long Island to pursue a career in the performing arts. While working in restaurants, however, she soon found herself drawn to the art and beauty of wine. What began as an interest soon became another passion, and Heidi enrolled in a program at IWSET (International Wine and Sprit Education and Trust).

Ms. Turzyn 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 promoted to wine director, and soon thereafter found herself as Beverage Director for the entire David Burke Group. She returned to Gotham Bar and Grill as Wine Director in 2013, leading the wine program into it’s fourth decade.

Jason Hedges



An authority on both wine and spirits, Jason Hedges joined Gotham Bar and Grill in 2013. He spent his first two years at Gotham working in the wine department as a sommelier before heading up the bar program in 2015. An ardent spirits and cocktail enthusiast, he is constantly looking for exciting new spirits to add to our vast and growing collection. His cocktail program offers a delicious amalgamation of solid variations of the classics as well as thoughtfully honed signature drinks that tap into seasonality and fresh market ingredients.

Jason is actively involved in the beverage community, he sits on the judge’s panel for multiple wine, spirits and cocktail competitions including one of the worlds most highly regarded, “The Ultimate Beverage Challenge” and he teaches a course on the subject at the International Culinary Center ICC in Soho.

Court of Master Sommeliers, Certified Sommelier and BAR certified with distinction, Jason could step behind most any bar in the world and rock the house. Gotham is proud to have him and he is thrilled to call Gotham home. Stop by and visit him for a drink and a conversation any night of the week.

Gotham Bar and Grill
12 East 12th Street
Between Fifth Avenue & University Place
New York, NY, 10003


The Restaurant  accommodates walk-ins, but reservations are recommended. To make a reservation please call  at 212.620.4020

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Staff Writer

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