Let's imagine something for a second. Imagine that you don't know Bobby Flay as an Iron Chef, or as the Throwdown! chef who beats old ladies at making pie. Imagine that you don't draw parallels between him and Guy Fieri or Giada DeLaurentis, or the guy your mom saw make "something awesome" from a basket of stupid ingredients last night on the Food Network.
Imagine that it's 1998, that you're older than like, seven, and that all you know about Bobby Flay is that he's a ridiculously talented chef with a few restaurants in New York that everyone loves. That's the Bobby that's cooking (every night) at Gato.
The point we're making here is that you can't let the celebrity chef part of Gato taint your opinion of this place. By every measure, this is one of the best restaurants in NYC right now, and it will make you realize that there's a reason this guy ended up becoming famous in the first place - he can f*cking cook.
As a matter of fact, the the food at Gato is so good that nothing else really matters. Yes it's a huge restaurant, with a huge Las Vegas interior. And yes, it's packed to the gills every single night, often with people that are either hoping to take a picture of or with Bobby - or at least of themselves eating something that he cooked (table selfies). But we hardly noticed any of that because we were too busy enjoying the sh*t out of each meal we had here. Part of what makes Gato so great is that everything on this menu is incredibly good, completely unfamiliar, and unmistakably Bobby Flay. Even a dish of scrambled eggs seems like something entirely new, to be piled on and eaten from crusty pieces of toasted bread that are amazing in their own right.
Follow our Food Rundown for the guide, but if you order right at Gato, you'll have a hard time eating better, anywhere. Here's to hoping that Bobby decides being in the kitchen again is more fun than challenging people to televised cooking battles that they can't win. As long as he's here, this is a 9.0 experience.
$17 gets you three choices from the "bar" section of the Gato menu, and that's definitely how you want to start your meal. We loved most of what we tried, but the Lamb Tenderloin and Chorizo Crepinette are particularly amazing.
Yes, you've had plenty of restaurant octopus in your life. But you haven't had one like this. This roasted tentacle comes topped with a charred pepper, little bits of bacon, and something green from a squeeze bottle in the kitchen that I would like to get my hands on and treat like an adult Capri Sun.
An absolute must order. These Spanish style eggs will make you realize that a) you suck at making scrambled eggs, and b) breakfast for dinner is awesome. Served with some pieces of toast that have had f*cking magic done to them, these eggs are soft and cheesy and mind-bendingly good.
This was something we almost skipped on our first visit to Gato, and that would have been a huge mistake. To us, pizza just didn't seem like a particularly good way to experience the interesting flavors that Bobby Flay is so good at. But it turns out it might be the best way. Instead of tomato sauce, this pie is topped with a sweet tomato jam, and is then layered with pieces of lamb sausage and mint. You've never had anything like it, and you'll want it again.
Doesn't sound all that exciting, right? Wrong. This is one of the better bowls of vegetables we've ever had, thanks to a romesco sauce, some pistachios, and a sh*tload of Romano cheese. Do it.
A delicious paella that's just enough to split between two people. There's no meat in this pan - just mushrooms, egg, artichoke, kale, and a thick layer of perfectly crunchy rice. Another must order.
This seems to be one of the more popular items on the Gato menu, and we liked it a lot. It's basically three pieces of excellent steak, served with blue cheese and brown butter. But it's also kind of just a steak. Get it if you really love red meat or are anemic or whatever, but know that there are more exciting things you could be eating here.