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Big Apple-inspired bar and restaurant takes a bite out of East Austin
We know it’s hard to believe, but even longtime Austinites sometimes get tired of tacos. So, start spreading the news — the Capital City’s latest restaurant is mixing things up by taking its culinary cues from the Big Apple.
Gotham debuted July 12 at 1700 E. Second St., the former home of short-lived osteria Al Fico. According to a release, co-owner Nick Goulding wanted to capture the energy of his favorite haunts in New York City, where he spent his early adulthood before moving to Texas with his wife, Jessica.
“There were a handful of places, old established places like Fanelli Cafe and Pete’s Tavern and Raoul’s and McSorley’s, where you could sit and see a cross-section of the city,” said Nick in the release. “Very democratic places, very equalizing, because when you want a drink and a meal you’re in the same boat as anyone else, and the differences of politics and income just sort of fade away.”
The Gouldings, also the owners of Southwest Austin bistro Cafe Malta, created the menu around some of New York’s iconic dishes, like chicken and waffles, Waldorf salads, smoked salmon schmear (at Gotham served with seeded crackers instead of bagels), and Reuben sandwiches.
In true New York fashion, the East Austin eatery also has a trio of pizzas. Named after famous Manhattan streets, the wood-fired pies range from the Ludlow topped with pastrami, red sauce, garlic, and arugula dressed in a grain mustard vinaigrette to the Mulberry with clams, cherry tomatoes, ricotta, parsley, and lemon (the menu recommends kicking it up with an add-on of prosciutto).
For heartier appetites, Gotham offers approachable options like steak frites with a Dijon mustard and brandy sauce served with hand-cut fries; a grilled pork chop smothered in mushroom-shallot jam and accompanied by a Parmesan risotto and seasonal vegetable sauté; and fresh fettuccine topped with mushroom meatballs, traditional red sauce, and Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
The drink program pays homage to New York taverns with a beer selection that includes Brooklyn Lager on tap and cans ranging from local mainstays like Austin Beerworks Pearl Snap and Blue Owl Little Boss to pub classics like Boddington’s. There’s also a curated list of most European wines, covering all the bases, from crisp whites to affordable bubbles.
The cocktails reflect the diversity of Gotham’s inspiration. Choose from a wide variety of spirit bases in drinks like Eau de Masshole (Matusalem Clasico rum, lime juice, turbinado syrup, sea salt, cranberry bitters); Special Hug (Ilegal mezcal, Grind espresso liqueur, milk, chocolate bitters); and Dirty Sweet (Ford’s Gin, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, pickled onion juice, thyme bitters).
For the interior, the Gouldings kept the basic framework of Al Fico, using the existing dark wood wainscoting that is redolent of NYC watering holes. A few colorful works of art were added to jazz things up.
Gotham is currently open for happy hour and dinner Tuesday through Sunday. The Gouldings say that they will soon extend service to lunch and brunch.