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 three-star Michelin restaurants from his time in France with Jacques Maximin, Michel Guérard 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 six months, Gotham received its first three-star New York Times review and Portale’s reputation was established. At Gotham for 29 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.
Alfred Portale’s Cookbooks: