Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook

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9780385482103: Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook

Home cooks rarely have the chance to learn about cooking firsthand from one of the nation's most revered chefs.  But in this cookbook, the first of its kind, Chef Alfred Portale offers his readers the opportunity to do just that.  The chef of the Gotham Bar and Grill offers not only recipes, but also a peek into the mind of a chef--sharing a host of suggestions, anecdotes, and advice designed to release the reader from recipe dependence and inspire him or her to think like a chef at home.

With Portale at the helm, the Gotham has won praise from the critical world (four consecutive three-star reviews from the New York Times), the public (rated among New York's top five restaurants in the last six Zagat surveys), and the culinary community (Portale was named Best Chef in New York by the James Beard Foundation in 1993).

In this book, Portale reveals the secrets that led to this success.  More than a hundred dishes, comprised of over two hundred recipes, await the reader.  But more than that, Portale has loaded these pages with notes on variations and flavor building that indicate how the recipes might be changed by a substitution of ingredients or enriched with additional elements.  There are also ample "thinking ahead" tips, and bountiful advice about special ingredients and techniques.

Portale also offers both restaurant and family-style presentation tips--magnificently brought to life by more than two hundred photographs--and explains the inspiration for many of his dishes, and how he turned that inspiration into culinary reality.

As he says in his introduction, "My hope is for you to be able to master these recipes and confidently use them in a variety of dishes and contexts of your own design, perhaps creating your own signature dishes."

After graduating first in his class from the Culinary Institute of America, Alfred Portale lived in France and worked in some of its most famous kitchens.  Shortly after he returned to the United States, he took the reins of the Gotham Bar and Grill, where he promptly established himself as one of the most influential figures in New American Cuisine.  He divides his time between New York City and East Hampton, Long Island.

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Review:

Cookbooks by chefs tend to be challenging, obscure, even inappropriate for most home cooks. By contrast, Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill is articulate, revealing, vivid, and inviting. It is "the next best thing to a day in the kitchen" with Portale. This New York City chef is famous for his elaborate presentations and for creating complex dishes. For some of the recipes, progressive photos show how to duplicate the restaurant's spectacular plating of a dish. (Or you can follow the less ambitious "Everyday Presentation.") For others, you will have to go by the detailed text and a large color shot of the finished dish. This well-designed book uses colored boxes of text and easy-to-read type to help you follow the recipes, many of which are long. Cooks willing to spend money for quality ingredients and commit to serious time in the kitchen should enjoy rave results with dishes such as Squab Salad with Couscous, Currants, and Curry Vinaigrette; Salmon with Artichokes a la Grecque; and Warm Chocolate Cake with Toasted Almond Ice Cream.

From the Publisher:

"Dining at the Gotham is New York theater. And Alfred Portale is the Fabergé of America's great chefs. In his hands all is surprising, beautiful, delicious. Gotham Bar and Grill is long overdue for an alabaster throne in four-star Valhalla."
--Gael Greene, restaurant critic, New York magazine

"Portale has such a thorough knowledge of classical cuisine that when his imagination is given free rein the resulting recipes are substantive and outstanding. This well-organized book will be treasured by chefs and home cooks alike."
--Jacques Pépin, chef, cookbook author, and host of his own PBS-TV series

"Portale's book stands high. Here's one chef who figured out how to make his restaurant cooking accessible to the home cook."
--David Rosengarten, New York restaurant critic, Gourmet magazine, author of The Dean & DeLuca Cookbook, host of "Taste" and "In Food Today," TVFN

"Alfred Portale has never ceased to be an inspiration to America's Professional Chefs. Now, in this splendid new book, he is going to inspire America's Home Chefs to cook with the kind of flair and imagination for which he is so widely admired by his colleagues."
--John Mariani, Esquire

"Alfred Portale's food is perfect in its every detail, from his choice of ingredients to his keen sense of presentation. In this book he makes his restaurant recipes accessible for the home cook. He successfully challenges and instructs the reader to be daring and have fun in the kitchen."
--Jean-Georges Vongerichten, chef/owner Jean-Georges, JoJo, and Vong

"Alfred Portale is one of the great chefs in America."
--Tim Zagat, publisher, Zagat restaurant surveys

"One of the best chefs in America, at one of the best restaurants in America, has finally assembled one of the most exciting cookbooks in America--kudos to Alfred Portale's Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook."
--Len Pickell, president, James Beard Foundation

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