Jason Hall, Chef de Cuisine at three-star, innovative New American restaurant Gotham Bar and Grill. Chef Hill has worked along side of the most celebrated chefs in the country, like Michael Mina, Marco Canora, Tom Colicchio, Michael Psilakis and now, Alfred Portale. Three-star, Michelin Star Restaurant, Classic New York, Celebrated Chefs, West Village, New York, University Place, 12th Street



In 2009, it seems that every restaurant boasted about using local farm-fresh ingredients. Chef Alfred Portale wasn’t one of them. That’s because he’s been sourcing locally grown ingredients for nearly a quarter of a century.

In 1985, he was hired as chef for Gotham Bar and Grill and never left, garnering four three-star reviews from the New York Times and a one-star rating from Michelin. Combining French techniques and American flavors, he was one of the pioneers of what is now commonly known as New American.

Q & A with Chef Alfred Portale

Q. In a city where restaurants come and go, Gotham has stayed relevant and critically well regarded for 25 years, what’s the key to your success?

A. Loyalty and longevity. I think Gotham is getting better and better every year. I care so much about the restaurant and what I do. I haven’t traveled and spent time elsewhere. I’ve remained focused on the restaurant and never stalled. We created an environment where everyone enjoys their position. People work here for years. The sous-chef has been here for 24 years.

Q. Chef Jason Hall recently joined your team, how difficult was it to find the right Chef de Cuisine?

A. It was extremely hard to pick someone. I interviewed six different people. Jason and I share a dynamic and respect.

Q. How did you come up with the idea for the “Mondays Uncorked” dinners?

A. A dinner series is not new, but it is to Gotham. It gives us the opportunity to do something different, a different flavor palate. It’s a really fun way to integrate what I love to cook, but couldn’t do it at Gotham.

Q. Is it freeing?

A. Yes -- we’ve always adhered to the Gotham style, so it is freeing to step out of that. We’re serving a five-course meal in the spirit of Italian traditional, relaxed not precious.

Q. Any other changes at Gotham?

A. We’ve made inside changes. By changing the physical format of the menu, adding a third page, we now have the flexibility and freedom to do things like dishes for two. Whole Roasted Lamb, Bouillabaisse, Dover Sole. We can put them on menu for a few days and then take it off.

I don’t believe or like verbal specials. I feel everything should be printed.

Q. What influenced your decision to open Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau in Miami?

A. (Note: the American steakhouse opened in the fall of 2008 at Miami’s newly renovated  Fontainebleau Resort). 

I’d been loyal to New York for so long. Then I did a project in Philadelphia with Stephen Starr at Striped Bass. I learned a lot and I found it to be a great experience. I found it highly motivating and great to work with new people. It was invigorating to create in a new environment. And I really liked working with Chef de Cuisine Christopher Lee (currently Executive Chef at New York's Aureole).

I began looking for another project. The Fontainebleau Group came along and I found them to be very committed to food and beverage. I had resisted going to Las Vegas, but I really liked Miami and all the different cultures. Plus the advantage over Vegas is that it’s on the water. I can walk right out onto the beach, it’s not in a casino and it’s an easy, three hour flight in the same time zone. Plus, I’m not responsible for the daily operation of the restaurant.

Q. Miami is filled with great ethnic culinary finds, any gems that you have unearthed in your time there?

A. I don’t get a lot of time to try places, but I really like the local stone crabs. It used to be difficult to get good tomatoes and they’re now growing amazing heirloom tomatoes.

We’re also getting great things like lychee fruit from Paradise Farms.

Chef’s Recs | New York City

Eat | Restaurants


I really like all their pastas.


I like to sit at the bar. The shellfish is fantastic. I also like the pastas and the octopus.

Locanda Verde

For rustic, relaxed atmosphere and food. Pastas, porchetta, sheep's milk ricotta truffle honey and burnt orange toast.


I loved what they did with the design of the space. As a amateur woodworker, I am impressed with the use of reclaimed wood.

Chef’s Recs | New York Area

Eat | Restaurants

Amagansett | Turtle Crossing

I really like their food.

Great Barrington | Bablouie’s Sour Dough Pizza

But now I’m spending a lot of time in the Berkshires and every time I go to Great Barrington, I stop here for pizza. It’s a simple, but great place.


Details of Alfred Portale’s recommendations on where to eat in and around  New York City.

City Guides

- New York | Manhattan: Download

- The Berkshires: Download


Simple Pleasures: Home Cooking from the Gotham Bar and Grill's Acclaimed Chef

Buy on: Amazon


Photograph courtesy of Gotham Bar & Grill

Greenwich Village - New York, NY


New American

West Village

12 East 12th Street

New York, NY, 10003

T: 212-620-4020 (make a reservation)




Mon - Fri: 12pm - 2:15pm

Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 10pm

Fri: 5:30pm - 11pm

Sat: 5pm - 11pm

Sun: 5pm - 10pm


Q & A

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