My guest tonight has never had a steak, and wanted to break her steak virginity with me. Originally she wanted to go to “The Keg”, but I thought, “Don’t you want your first time to be special?” So we made plans for a more unique venue. Unfortunately our first choice, and Vancouver magazine’s first choice as best steak house was closed due to renovations. So we found ourselves at “Gotham’s”. Definitely don’t make reservations if you don’t have the money. The buzz on this place is completely true. Be prepared to spend more for your finer dining.
Getting out of my cab I was impressed to have the car door opened and a valet’s hand presented to help guide me out. Approaching the tall doors they too helped to open it for me. I was already impressed with their service even before I walked in.
We were only able to get a reservation at 8pm so decoded to spend an hour with cocktails in the lounge. Though when I came in I couldn’t understand the impossibility of a 7pm reservation. The place was practically empty. With seating everywhere, in the dining room, the bar/lounge, and the out door patio with fireplace. The lights were gold. The dark furniture, black painted walls and brown and black patterned carpet aided in making the place darker. Your eyes had to adjust walking in. You definitely felt the presence of the place. I got the pick of the lounge for my waiting. I choose a high top with leather booth seats. The high top chair that companied this table was also upholstered in leather. Not long after I took my seat did the pianist come out to play his brand of lounge-y classics on the grand piano. He enjoyed a light cocktail as his fingers danced skillfully on the ivory keys. It really set the mood, jovial. He even played the theme song from “Disney’s The Little Mermaid” and “On Top of Old Smokey”, twice. Tables came just to watch him perform. Even our server made mention to how good he was. Through the course of the night he even allowed a guest to sing as he played. She sang the lyrics she read off her iPad. They seemed to be regulars, if not groupies.
My lounge seat gave me a view of everything. Their grand bar was three rows of premium liquors on mirrored shelves. All sandwiched between a television set and their restaurant’s crest. Two well dressed bartenders worked the bar in white shirts, ties, and fitted vests. The bar seated 12 comfortably, with plenty of elbow room to spare. The patio was still bright from the sun’s light. The stone fireplace created ambience and kept the patrons warm. The dining room had breath with vaulted ceilings, elegant drapes and enough room in between tables to truly feel intimate with your guests. The restaurant was huge. We only experienced the front half. But with a winding staircase that went upstairs for more rooms, and downstairs for the washrooms, this was an impressive building.
I asked for water as I waited for my guest. The chilled glasses were placed on cloth coasters with a gold “g” neatly stitched in the corner. They were handsome and made to perfectly pair with the also stitched cloth napkins. There wasn’t much in terms if decoration, besides the wall wide oil paints; in rich hues depicting people done in 50’s styling. You really felt the opulence in their everyday furniture and accessories.
We moved to our table in the dining room only to head back to the lounge. We preferred the upscale elegance of the darker lounge. The dining room and its guests made you feel like you were having a family style dinner. The tables looked more causal in white linens with a bronze lamp style tea light on each one. We wanted a dressier night and thought with dishes at $60 a plate we would get it in any room. What we wanted and how we were dressed matched the feel of lounge more. Like night and day, were the lounge and dining room. I felt awkward dressed in my gold stealth dress, sitting next to a family in their polos with toddlers on booster seats. And with the inconvenient table shuffling not one staff member made a response other than understanding and accommodation. They were courteous, well dressed, and well mannered. Everyone was inviting, you felt like nothing you said would be returned with a negative reaction. Every part of your experience was labelled as fine dining. I did however question the need for three hostesses. Majority of the time they stood shoulder to shoulder watching for any movement in the entrance door before them. They spent their time talking, as the place was dead past 6pm on Saturday night. Not really the place for cheap cocktails and to get drunk, too rich for most people’s blood.
Wines came by the half glass, 6oz or 9oz. Options were listed on a leather bound menu 7 pages long; grouped by colour, region, then arranged by price. We had two bottles of red wine: J. Lohr “Seven Oaks” Cabernet Sauvignon 2010, Paso Robles, Central Coast. Ordering a bottle I was sad to not have an ice bucket. Only to be told by my guest that red is enjoyed in room temperature. Note to self order white next time. But you should be having red with red meat.
The menu was a page of appetizers and steaks, with sides added on. We of course were going to order steak, planing on ordering the best cut at the most expensive price. I have been here in the past with groups and you can tell who wants to save when they order the roasted stuffed half chicken at $31.95, the cheapest protein on the menu. If you don’t want to order steak at a steakhouse, may I suggest not coming? And if you choose to dine at “Gotham’s” the expectation is you will be paying more for less better quality ingredients and its skillful preparation. The pricing also includes the ambience and the grade “A” service you receive in it.
Complimentary eye bread. The crust was crispy, it left crumbs as we cut into each segment. The middle was soft and hot. And the butter just melted into it upon contact. We ended up picking out the middles and leaving the crusts, to not ruin our appetites.
“Jumbo shrimp cocktail with a hot horseradish cocktail sauce”. These are the thickest and juicest shrimp I have had thus far. These four were equivalent to 8 else where, and needed to be eaten in 3 bites. The sauce was thick and sweet with a bit of heat.
“Bone-in rib steak” was our server’s recommendation for the best steak, and the perfect choice for a first time steak eater. She passionately spoke about the cut’s tenderness and the perfect marbling in the flesh. How the fat melted during preparation and made each bite melt in your mouth goodness. There was an offer to have the 24 oz piece we were to share split and plated for two, but I wanted the steak a whole for pictures. Though we did take her suggestion of allowing the kitchen to cut it English style for the best experience. Each morsel would be sliced with the grain for the best bite each time. And of course when eating steak, you have to get it medium rare, steak is a waste other wise; and at $58 that is money I rather not spend on well done. For her first time, my guest commented how there is something so primal and visceral about eating steak; elevated in a regal way. Though it came with more fat than I would like to see on my steaks.
Also as per our server’s suggestion we ordered the side “Baked Idaho potato”. The best out of a list of vegetables. The potato was a pound and came to our table undressed. It’s seasoning was done with our instructing the server. We indulged and went heavy on the butter, sour cream, and green onions. My guest didn’t take any bacon, but I got two large scoops of the pink bits on the side.
I was even impressed with the black take out containers places in a large brown paper bag.
Would I come back? – Yes, but based on price this can’t be an every day dinner. It is more my go to for a once every 6 months fancy dinner kind of meal. We stayed longer than we anticipated and drank more than planed. It is the same when you go shopping, you tend to purchase more when the staff pay more attention to you. We felt the need to order more and treat ourselves more with the indulgent service for our waitress. She made conversation and was witty with her jokes. A delight to have as part of our “Gotham’s” dining experience.
Would I recommend it? – Yes. For the same reason I would come back. Solid food backed up by excellent service. For a truly indulgent night, don’t deny your cravings.