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


Formerly of Gotham Bar & Grill - New York, NY



Upper East Side

24 East 81st Street
New York, NY 10075
T: 646.559.4880 (make a reservation)




Mon - Thu: 5:30pm - 11pm
Fri - Sat: 5:30pm - 12am


If you have a conversation with Chef de Cuisine Jason Hall about food, you know he chose the right career path. He gets almost giddy chatting about one of his latest discoveries, finger limes. He was experimenting with a ceviche recipe, trying to get the right balance of acidity. The guys from Mikuni Wild Harvest happen to come into his kitchen with finger limes, a fruit with citrus caviar beads that pop in your mouth. The lime did the trick. But, he points out, it shouldn’t be all about the novelty of specialty ingredients. They should enhance the dish without being intrusive and overwhelming.

Chef Hall seems to have the right balance in the way he approaches his cooking. Always start with best quality ingredients you can get and go from there. He learned this respect working with the best chefs in the business.

“They taught me to start with what’s in front of you, use the best quality ingredients it can be, because you can’t cook with bad ingredients. Even the mise en place should be cut perfectly. Everything has to be top of line.”


Q. What ingredients are you getting excited about these days?

A.- Blue Foot Chickens: has a red comb, white feathers, and steel-blue feet. It’s slaughtered later than mass-market birds, and then air-chilled.

- Label Rouge Chickens: the Dom Perignon of chickens, slow-grown breeds which roam outdoors in open air for a minimum of 81 days, twice as long as their industrial-raised counterparts.

- Milk-fed Piglet: from St-Canut Farms in Quebec

- Black Perigord Truffles: a one-ounce black truffle would sell for between $90 to $150, found late autumn or winter, has a strong, musty smell.

- White Alba Truffles: from Provence (more aromatic and even more expensive).

- Mangalitsa Ham: from D’Artagnan. It’s very fatty, less salty than Iberico ham with a truer pork flavor.

- Antica Cremeria Butter: from Emilia Romagna. It's made with the pasteurized cream from the same milk used to make Parmigiano Reggiano, stored in the same room, resulting in a unique nutty flavor.

Q. Do you make all your own pastas in-house at Gotham?

A. Occasionally we buy artisanal hard pasta, like Setaro Pasta from Buon Italia.

Q. You butcher your own meat at Gotham, what do you think of the rising star status of butchers?

A. There is nothing glamorous about the work. It’s hard work. I really like Knickerbocker on Ninth Ave, it’s really awesome. People should pay attention to people doing the trade. Going to this type of place, you can talk to them about the meat, rather than rolling through Whole Foods and picking up something already packaged. They are dedicated to the art and trade.

Q. Which purveyors inspire your creativity?

A.- Chef’s Garden: they grow items for chefs such as: citrus coriander blossoms, bronze fennel (that we use in our bouillabaisse), and Red Ribbon Sorrel - it’s magnificent.

- Honolulu Fish: amazing fish.

- Pierless Fish

- Martin's Elysian Fields Farms: for lamb.

- Mikuni Wild Harvest: finger limes. Just starting to build a relationship with them and find out about all their products.

Q. I go to Union Square Greenmarket everyday it is there.

- Paffenroth Gardens: Jerusalem Artichokes, baby carrots

- Knoll Krest Farm: we get eggs on Wednesday and Saturday. They never refrigerate them. They’re still warm, with yokes so yellow and fresh, and the white is flat, it takes up almost half of the egg.

- Mountain Sweet Berry Farm: Rick Bishop is the farmer and he grows tomatoes using European artisanal seeds, also potatoes, herbs, Sucrine Lettuce (which is like a French Baby Bibb).

- Yuno’s Farms: best beans, pepper, salads

Q. What restaurants do you like to eat at on your own time, other than your restaurant or home?

A.- The Red Cat: one of the best in the city.

- El Quinto Pino: love the baguette with spicy liver porky pate, pan con tomate, and they always have great cheeses. It’s go-to spot.

- Izakaya Ten: I like that you can buy bottles of sake or shochu and if you don’t finish it, they write your name on the bottle and keep what’s left for your next visit.

Q. Where do you like to go for cocktails?

I’m always a sucker for a good cocktail.

- Angel’s Share: love the citrus, yuzu and shiso with crushed ice. It’s like a lemon/lime gatorade. One of the best in the city. The trouble is ordering the cocktail... it’s named “The Groovy.” I once had to apologize to a date before ordering the cocktail.

- PDT: it’s intimate and they care about what they’re doing.

- Raines Law Room: I just started going there.

Q. As a chef at a three-star restaurant, what are some of your favorite low-end meals?

A.- Taco Mix in Harlem: I love the Taco al Pastor. They take pork shoulder and put it on a gyro machine with a pineapple on the top of the spike. The pineapple glazes as it roasts. It’s 75 cents a taco.

- Murray’s Bagels: always a go-to for bagels.

- The Pantry: for bacon,egg, avocado and cheese sandwich- it’s tremendous!

- Lipton Cup-a-Soup, Chicken Noodle: I always have some at home. I whisk in an egg and it’s like Straciatella, Italian egg drop soup.

Q. What’s your least favorite food trend?

A. How over exposed the industry is, good and bad. I hope all the television exposure doesn’t discredit chefs who create fine dining.

Also, the hamburger. I will never put a hamburger on the menu. You have to make adjustments, but don’t sacrifice the integrity or the art of what you’re trying to do. I didn’t sacrifice to get to this level to put hamburgers on the menu.

Q. Can you tell us about the “Mondays Uncorked” dinners at Gotham?

A. It’s meant to be more laid back. The dishes are looser, but the food is still serious. We’ll have a tasting menu with several courses. We want the dinner series to be representative of different regions of food. We wanted to cook different food and challenge ourselves.

Q. You encourage people to BYOB, what would you bring to drink?
A. For the Italian menu, I would bring a nice Italian rose to start, like a Cerasuolo. For the last course, something hearty like a super Tuscan, a Brunello or aged Barolo from Northern Italy.

The day after we spoke with Jason, he was on a flight to Paris. No doubt, he will bring back inspiration from his trip to incorporate into the French Uncorked dinners.

“Mondays Uncorked” will be held starting January 18th throughout 2010 at Gotham Bar and Grill. The regionally-focused menu will be a $75 five-course, prix fixe menu incorporating each region’s traditional flavors, ingredients and dishes. The highlighted cuisines will be from Italy, Spain, France, California and Argentina. Gotham is waiving the standard $55 corkage fee and encouraging guests to bring in their own wines from the featured region. 


Details of Jason Hall’s recommendations on where to eat, drink, and shop in New York.

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Photograph courtesy of Gotham Bar & Grill