My favorite member of the Bobby Flay empire, Gato is very different from the American food eateries where this celebrity chef made his name. But in mastering Med fare, Flay seems to have gotten his mojo back: this is one of the best restaurants in town. The setting is magnificent, a former warehouse with soaring, barrel-vaulted ceilings and ornate cast-iron columns. And what you’ll eat here is different from any other place in the city, thanks to the chef’s creative, and spot-on, food combos. That might mean a small “bar starter” of artichoke hearts with sea urchin and tenderly poached quail egg; or a paella that’s a mélange of kale, mushrooms, and crispy artichokes; or grilled duck liver slathered with melted red grapes.
- Pauline Frommer