Miami is a city of appearances. OK, fine, South Beach is a city of appearances. Go to Prime One Twelve any given night and there will be a wait, guaranteed. Never mind the steak house's extravagant prices for a piece of meat and extra dime for a side dish. People are dying to pay that kind of cash.
And Gotham, the Fontainebleau's chic and trendy American steak house, is packed during the slow season while mom-and-pop restaurants struggle to stay afloat. In the Magic City, the economic "recession" is nonexistent, or at least we drink, eat, and party as if it were. And why wouldn't we? Miami Spice hasn't ended yet, and though we love cozy, intimate places for the uniqueness factor and homey taste of the food, we go to places like Gotham just to say we did. And now you can, for $39, perhaps the cheapest bragging rights you might ever find.
It's slow season, and Gotham is raking in 150 to 200 covers a night. During high season, numbers fluctuate between 350 and 500. On our recent visit, the trending theme seemed to be bachelorettes, all looking for a fine piece of meat (which might surprise them with its $15 add-on for New York strip).
Drinking is also a big part of a bachelorette's life. Luckily, the restaurant has conceptualized two wine flights for an additional $20 or $30. Not too shabby for a venue just steps from LIV.
Appetizers come in three forms. Choose from a wedge salad with blue cheese, shallots, and smoked bacon, hand-cut tagliatelle with an eight-hour short-rib bolognese and shaved Pecorino cheese, or Gotham's signature steak appetizer: prime beef tartare. We opted for the tartare as well as the pasta, which is house-made and oozing in meat sauce. It was the star of the meal. It was robust in flavor as well as heavy, but not overly heavy. I almost wished it would have been an entrée. I'd eat an entire plate, or two.
Now, the main course is where things get tricky. There are fish, chicken, and beef dishes -- the last in the form of cheeks, if you're feeling adventuresome. Though I recommend paying the extra fee for the New York strip, I also suggest either the chicken paillard with a frisée-and-arugula salad or the pan-seared mahi-mahi, served with seared bok choy, sticky rice, and ponzu buerre blanc. While the cheeks sounded interesting, the pairing with mascarpone polenta drove me astray. I'm not a polenta fan (unless it's Scarpetta), and I'm not a mascarpone fan, so stuffing myself with both just didn't seem like something pleasant. You be the judge, though.
And as for something sweet, besides hearing groups of inebriated girls go on about how Anita is the best and most fun bachelorette ever and how much they love her, there's vanilla, in the form of a blood orange custard with vanilla anglaise, orange segments, and vanilla ice cream. There's also milk chocolate cremeux with chocolate sauce, chocolate crumble, and chocolate ice cream. It's like
Wonka's Gotham's chocolate factory.
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As New Times food critic Emily Codik stated in her dissection of Miami Spice -- uncovering the good, the great, and the misses in terms of menus -- Gotham is all right; it's just not very thrilling. Penis party favors and a group of girls on a Friday night might have changed her mind. And with LIV just feet from the entrance, you can tell people you went to both in one night.
Follow Carla on Twitter @ohcarlucha