For Carnivores Only: Inside Gotham steakhouse

Photo credit: Gotham Steakhouse

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on Vancouver steakhouses, and readers called me out for some notable omissions.  The one favourite that came up in comment after comment was Gotham.  I decided to check it out last weekend.  I wished I hadn’t waited so long.

Maybe I missed it because it’s nearly hidden in plain sight, in the downtown business district near Seymour and Dunsmuir Streets.  From the outside, all you see is a sign.  Inside is a whole different story.

25-foot ceilings.  Hardwood wainscoting.   Red velvet banquettes.  Pianist playing away in the corner.  Gotham is old-school and elegant, like a classic gentleman’s study.  The main dining room – set with white tablecloths and heavy silver – is open and lively, with quieter tables upstairs and a big bar along one side of the restaurant.

But what about the food?

The menu is also classic – and unapologetically so.  Don’t expect daring fusion fare or cucumber foams here.   Appetizers include all the stock favourites – from calamari to Caeser salads.  But what sets Gotham apart, right from the get-go, is freshness and quality.  The crab cake, for starters, is pretty much 99-percent fresh crab meat, with just a sprinkling of breadcrumbs on the outside.  The price point may be set high, but there’s a reason.

Photo courtesy of Gotham Steakhouse

Onto the steaks:  Gotham serves exclusively Canadian prime beef – the top two percent in all of Canada and a clear cut above offerings in some of the city’s other steakhouses.  All the familiar cuts are featured and presumably outstanding.  I went with the flagship steak: an enormous, bone-in porterhouse.   Presentation is stark – just an enormous chunk of beef on a plate.  And don’t expect fancy sauces, i.e. all those chimichurris and chutneys now the rage at other steakhouses.

Gotham keeps it simple, just a little salt and pepper rub on the outside of the steak.  And it works – because the meat speaks for itself.  The server will help you along with which cuts ought to be cooked rare, medium, etc.  But for true carnivores, rare is the way to go in a place like Gotham.   One note: Portions are suitable for even raging carnaholics.  I made it about halfway through the porterhouse.  Come hungry and don’t fill up on the bread (which is homemade and hard to resist).

Steaks can be paired with the standard sides – from mashed potatoes to sautéed mushrooms and, for the real traditionalists, even creamed corn.  The hashbrowns and onion rings are worthy of a special mention.

All in all, Gotham is certainly not breaking any new ground in the steak world.  But it does what it sets out to do exceedingly well, flawlessly in fact.  To be the iconic Vancouver steakhouse.  To offer the most exclusive cuts of meat to those who care to spend.  To create a classic ambiance that blends warmth and welcoming with sophistication.  To be the kind of place where you can confidently send even the most discriminating eater for a memorable meal with polished service.

Any Gotham fans out there?  What makes Gotham special?  Have another favourite?  Please let us know. 

Want more updates on Vancouver and beyond?  Follow me on Twitter @RemyScalza

Tagged: , , , , ,

Comments are closed for this post

2 Responses to For Carnivores Only: Inside Gotham steakhouse