Thursday, October 23, 2014

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Zagat: Celebrity Chef Bobby Flay Opens Gato

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One of the biggest celebrity chefs in the country has just opened a new NYC restaurant dubbed Gato. Zagat's James Mulcahy stopped by for a visit and filed this report.

Bobby Flay is a familiar face from the Food Network, where he has been a star for years on shows like Iron Chef America, but he's taking a break from super-stardom and returning to his first love: the kitchen line, where you can see him working at his first New York City opening in years.

"Being on the line is the most gratifying thing I've ever done professionally, always. I'm cooking every night. There's no better feeling for me professionally,” said Flay.

His spacious eatery is located on Lafayette right above Houston, and it has an expansive menu of Mediterranean inspired dishes, which can be enjoyed in a cavernous dining room or at a large bar that's built for eating.

"I wanted to get away from sort of the small plates concept. The menu is broken up into basically two parts, and I'm calling it 'bar' and 'kitchen'. It doesn't necessarily mean that you can only order those dishes at the bar, but they are small plates that are put together in a series of three. There's about 15 items on the bar menu, and you can get three of them for $17. You can utilize that as your appetizer, or you can obviously get it for the table,” Flay said.

James Mulcahy: Something that I really love about the menu here is that this bar section really lets you mix and match. There's a lot to choose from, there are three little things. It's relatively inexpensive, you can try a lot. So I'm gonna try the steak tartar right now, a nice little spice to it. It kind of sneaks up on you. I know he said he doesn't want to do tapas, but this section of the menu, just a drink and a snack, awesome.

Due to the chef's celebrity, the restaurant has already attracted considerable buzz, which is a pro to draw crowds but also may have a downside.

"It puts a target on my back. I know that I have to elevate myself every time I do something, or create something, or put out something and that's OK, it just makes me work that much harder,” Flay said.

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