First look: Gotham Steak

Gotham Steak.

The goods: It takes guts to open a steakhouse these days, what with the city chock full of Kobe emporiums and beef parlors. But if any place is synonymous with cohones, it’s New York, and here to tempt with Manhattan-caliber vittles is Gotham Steak at the Fontainebleau. Michelin star-rated chef Alfred Portale transports the classy vibes from his New York-based Gotham Bar and Grill to this tropical outpost. The bi-level dining room conjures big city high-rollers with the upstairs outfitted in dark wood, buttery suede chairs and a 13,000-bottle, glass-encased wine tower that flanks the stairs to the downstairs dining room. Visual marvels include a hand-blown glass chandelier that extends to the lower level and a gleaming open kitchen where patrons can glimpse lobsters and various other crustaceans on display in the kitchen’s raw bar. Al fresco seating is available on the lower level, flanking the hotel’s pool deck.

The grub: Upscale steakhouse fare with Asian and Floribbean influences. There’s plenty of beef to choose from, each with its farm of origin specified on the menu. Prices skew to pre-bailout times; starters range $15-$34 and mains will set you back anywhere from $28 for skirt steak to $130 for a 40-ounce Niman Ranch Porterhouse for two.

Before you even think about steak, enjoy innovative starters like a hamachi sashimi with Asian pear and soy yuzu dressing or a petite bowl of wild mushroom pasta flecked with pine nuts and pecorino cheese. Traditionalists can get a Caesar salad, or try the caviar service with crème fraiche and buckwheat blinis. Then it’s on to the steaks with selections from Niman Ranch, a grass-fed ribeye from Painted Hills Farm and the luxe Japanese AG Wagyu in either filet or strip form. Non-meat items include a miso-marinated black cod, barbecued Muscovy duck and grilled organic chicken breast. Sides provide welcome gluttony in the form of foie gras-stuffed mushroom caps and a mac and cheese topped with a dusting of wasabi powder for an extra kick.

Save room for dessert as the peanut butter trifle is a grown-up peanut butter mousse sundae and the selection of house-made sorbets includes refreshing flavors like apple, white peach and pear.

The verdict: Like other newfangled steakhouses, Gotham simultaneously buys into and bucks the traditional formula, with belly-filling results.

Gotham Steak, 4441 Collins Ave, Miami Beach; 305-674-4780. Dinner 5:30 p.m.-12 a.m. daily

Published: 1/09

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