Alfred Portale of Gotham Bar and Grill is one of the pioneers of what used to be called the New American cooking. His style, a combination of dramatic vertical presentations, French technique, and urban pizzazz, perfectly encapsulated the energy of the movement in the eighties and nineties. All these years later, Portale is still at Gotham, and still turning out some of the city’s best food, minus the towering drama of old. “As for all that verticality, once it became very trendy and talked about, that’s when I began to back away from it,” Portale says. “My style has changed and evolved.” At least one dish still reaches for the stars: Portale’s roasted lobster, a constant on Gotham’s menu. Scroll over the different parts of the dish to see it described in the chef’s own words.
Photo: Melissa Hom