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Gastroarte - Delicious art on a plate

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  • rrems Nov 19, 2011 10:41 AM
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My partner and I had dinner at Gastroarte last night. The only references I found on CH have been regarding their tapas, so I thought I'd report on the dinner menu.

Though the food has a Spanish influence, it is so beautifully presented we felt as though we were in France.

After an amuse bouche of mushroom puree and beet, each with various other ingredients I don't recall, but very tasty, we began with eggplant with fried oysters, and beef tongue. I'm not a big fan of eggplant, but this dish was heavenly, and the tongue was meltingly tender and was served with a number of different sauces on the plate. Our main courses were lamb cheeks,and tuna with roasted tomato and a sherry sauce.

For dessert, we shared a "Jackson Pollock", a whiskey cake with salted caramel sauce and a white chocolate bar, all decorated to look like a Jackson Pollock painting. Last we were given a vanilla nut truffle.

I wish I could name all the ingredients in each course, but there were too many to remember. so I will just say that everythng was superb and I can't wait to go back. The atmosphere is beautiful too, and the service was absolutely perfect. I also like the wine list a lot. We had a great bottle of Ribeira del Duero and the prices are not ridiculous. I highly recommend this place.

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Gastroarte
141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

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  1. Thanks for posting this review, rrems. I haven't been able to make up my mind whether to try Gastroarte. But since you and I generally see eye-to-eye with regard to restaurants, I'm putting it on my "go to" list. I happen to adore eggplant in any way, shape, or form. And everything else you had sounds wonderful as well, especially that "Jackson Pollock."

    http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

    5 Replies
    1. re: RGR

      I think this is just your kind of place, RGR. I forgot to mention it is not noisy, even when quite busy, which we both appreciate. The dessert was truly exceptional, one of the best we've had in a while.

      1. re: rrems

        You're very sweet to think of me with regard to the noise factor, rrems. :) But I figured it wasn't a problem since I was sure you would have mentioned it if it were.

        http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

        1. re: rrems

          rrems,

          Do you agree with the comments below that Gastroarte's cuisine resembles wd-50's? I've purposely avoided going to wd-50 because its style of cuisine -- what I view as science experiments on the plate -- holds no appeal to me.

          http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

          1. re: RGR

            Not the dishes we had, certainly. I have been to WD-50, and while I thought the food was good, I generally prefer more straighforward preparations and have not felt compelled to go back. I would say Gastroarte is inventive but not molecular cuisine.

            1. re: rrems

              Thanks, rrems. That's reassuring.

              http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

      2. We had dinner there a couple of month ago, and overall enjoyed our experience. I was actually surprised at how relatively empty it was when we went; I certainly hope their business is enough to keep them open! First off, their sommelier is fantastic; very helpful, especially as I am not as familiar with Spanish wines. It is a casual space which feels very open and welcoming, though the acoustics aren't great, so it can be somewhat hard to hear others in a larger group.
        I don't recall everyone's meals, but I'll put down what I remember. For starters, the pear and gorgonzola salad was well-done but not very exciting. I had the not-your-average egg, which was an interesting concept (cauliflower puree made into an orb, with egg yolk inside) but the "white" was very bland, tasting neither like egg white nor like cauliflower, so a bit disappointing on that end. Overall I would say that this was a weaker part of the menu.
        For entrees, there were a couple specials which we had, including a swordfish entree which was nicely cooked. I unfortunately don't remember the details of it, but I do remember enjoying the flavor combinations. The most interesting plating was the black rice/calamari entree, which was laid out in a rectangle like a modernist painting. It also provided a nice contrast of flavors, with a touch of cheese, sobrassada, and snow peas also within the dish. (kind of reminded me of deconstructed gumbo, Spanish style, ha)
        We passed on dessert, but all of the desserts that came out were also very artistically plated, and they at least looked delicious.
        In all, it was a very good option for a somewhat whimsical, casual meal in the UWS. I would compare it to WD-50, in that the thought and inventiveness is part of the enjoyment, though the execution and flavors are not always top-notch. Also recommended for those who want a thorough Spanish wine list.

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        WD-50
        50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

        Gastroarte
        141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

        8 Replies
        1. re: orthorunner

          I was there a little over a week ago for a pre-concert meal and it was fully packed. Perhaps you were there after 8P. I can imagine it getting quiet then. Savored offers its discounts for Gastroarte for late seatings.

          I agree with your assessment, orthorunner. Much of the food was very creative and beautiful to look at. Some things faltered on execution and some things just missed the mark on taste. I think the comparison to WD-50 is a good one. Not every dish will be winners in this type of restaurant. But it's a very interesting restaurant to try in NYC.

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          Gastroarte
          141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

          1. re: Miss Needle

            Completely agree. It's the UWS version of wd-50 at half the price. food is fun, creative, and usually tasty. some simple tightening up in the kitchen and eliminating little mistakes would go a long way towards pushing Gastroarte from solid B+ (nice to check out every once in a while) into A (a must-go) territory.

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            Gastroarte
            141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

            1. re: Miss Needle

              We were there around 730 or 8pm I think; late enough that the folks that joined us were finished with their day of viewing at the US Open. Glad to hear they do more business early in the evening. As re RGR's question, not every dish has molecular gastronomy to the hilt like WD-50; it was more that some of the dishes held more promise with regard to inventiveness and presentation but faltered on final outcome. You can certainly have a full meal there without getting any "science experiments on a plate"!

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              WD-50
              50 Clinton Street, New York, NY 10002

              1. re: orthorunner

                Why is it when I read your initial review as well as your response above with "it was more that some of the dishes held more promise with regard to inventiveness and presentation but faltered on final outcome", it somehow doesn't sound positive at all?

                I'm a big Spanish foodie and love Spanish wines and may someday try this place, but somehow there's not a lot of convincing positive enthusiasm in your posts.

                1. re: orthorunner

                  Thanks for your response to my question, orthorunner. Based on what you say here, as well as in your previous post, I have to agree with RCC that you don't sound particularly positive about the food regardless of its exact formulation. Certainly quite a different opinion from rrems' very enthusiastic review.

                  http://thewizardofroz.wordpress.com

                  1. re: RGR

                    I did have a somewhat different experience than rrems. I hope that it sticks around because it holds promise, and despite some of the dishes not quite living up to what I would hope, I nonetheless did enjoy my meal. Perhaps this sounds a bit counterintuitive, but it is the rare meal where I enjoyed the inventiveness and flavor combinations enough that I overlooked some of its faults more that I otherwise would. And faltered was probably not the choice word, perhaps I should have instead said that some dishes (mainly the starters) fell short of expectations with regards to final execution.

                    1. re: orthorunner

                      This is what I would add: I really enjoy Gastroarte. However, you have to accept what it is and what it isn't. You are guaranteed an extremely creative meal with inventive pairings and a good deal (admittedly not quite to the level of wd-50) of molecular cooking. However, there are consistency issues and rather, than "faltering", I would say that some of the dishes end up not delivering exactly what they promise. In other words, the food is quite good, and definitely fun, but it is disappointing that due to technical errors/timing issues, the food fails to truly excel the way it could. The potential is so clearly there that the restaurant is like a tease. It tantalizes you with what it could be with just a little improvement, although it is still good as is. i hope that is somewhat more explanatory although re-reading my post i fear it is not.

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                      Gastroarte
                      141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

                    2. re: RGR

                      Gastroarte takes some risks, and will not please everybody in terms of flavor profiles. For example, I ordered the "cheesecake" which was made with valdeon. As valdeon is my favorite blue cheese, I knew I had to try it. What I didn't realize was that it was very mild blue cheese mousse inserted into white chocolate spheres. I guess some people would consider that daring. For me, the white chocolate and blue cheese wasn't as complementary as I would have liked it to have been.

                      The patatas braviolis was delicious. But it was served a bit on the cold side -- and on jenga blocks. It was a cool presentation, but you need to be careful about taking the potato cubes off the blocks because it ruins the balance and the blocks can tumble down. This almost happened to me but I luckily rearranged the blocks in time to avert a mini-disaster. Not super practical.

                      I also ordered the eggplant and fried oyster dish. Unlike rrems, I thought the eggplant was undersalted and quite bland. There may be a problem with consistency -- or rrems and I have different palates. But I'm not a salt fiend (sometimes Batali's dishes can be too salty for me). So I think it's more of a consistency issue at Gastroarte. But the dish was quite visually stunning.

                      There were some dishes that I liked quite a bit. Thought that the albondigas was good though there was too much fried sweet potatoes for my taste. The carrot souffle was tasty too but I thought the portion was too large as a couple of bites was more than enough. The lamb cheeks were delicious, but was hoping for a larger portion of meat, especially since the plate was close to $30. The meat was about 4 oz in total. The "egg" was very interesting in concept though there was way too much turnip for my taste.

                      Service was really friendly and professional. It did start to lag a bit when things got very busy, but not a big deal since we made our concert. The food was very interesting, but kind of missed the mark for me at times. I appreciate what the chef is trying to do, and am happy to see this type of restaurant in NYC. I think there's a lot of potential at Gastroarte, but they still need to work some things out.

                      Gastroarte does use some "molecular gastronomy" techniques, but not to the same extent as wd-50. The "egg" and the "cheesecake" could not have been achieved unless these techniques were used. But the rest of the food I had were cooked conventionally (perhaps the lamb cheeks were cooked sous-vide style -- not sure).

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                      Gastroarte
                      141 W 69th St, New York, NY 10023

              2. Well, we finally got back there and are so glad we did. The menu has changed completely since last fall, and we had some wonderful dishes. Started with artichoke confit with Bellota ham and clams, and fresh pasta with spicy oxtail, octopus, and roasted onion. Main courses were pork belly two ways with roasted fennel, turnip and carrot-tomato sauce, and osso buco with onion-date marmalade and Valdeon cheese. The pasta dish was a "wow", the artichokes rich yet light. Osso buco was full of flavor and so rich my partner took most of it home. My pork belly was sheer heaven, a block of shredded meat and 2 blocks of almost pure fat. Combining a bit of the two in each bite created a wonderfully rich and flavorful mouthful, and the sauces added nicely to the complexity. We than shared a banana and chocolate dessert with peanut butter that tasted something like a fluffy, creamy version of Reese's peanut butter cups with ultra-thin strips of fried banana. Difficult to describe, but beautiful to look at, scrumptious and a very generous portion. Ended with delicious mignardises. Great food, great service, great atmosphere. I will not wait so long to go back again.