There isn't goose of any kind on the menu at Jesse Schenker's new restaurant The Gander, which opens this evening on West 18th in the Flatiron; in fact, the only poultry on the menu is a broccoli rabe- and farro-accompanied rotisserie chicken, a humble dish enjoying its little highbrow trend at the moment. What you will find are interesting twists on both bar snacks and haute cuisine from Schenker and chef de cuisine James Bowen, who've put together a delicious-sounding menu filled with all kinds of culinary buzzwords to get us salivating. French fries with bone marrow mayo? Oh hell yes.
Schencker employs a similar snacks/charcuterie/plates-style as he did with his first restaurant, the West Village's Recette. They may bear the snack moniker, but dishes like Brisket "Tots" ($9), "Buffalo" Sweetbreads ($10) and Shrimp Toast au Jus ($8) sound like the kinds of plates that call for an entree doggy bag at the end of the meal; as do selections from the Charcuterie section like Lobster "Roll" with brioche ($19) and Lamb Pastrami with kraut ($9).
If you can save yourself for the main event you'll find the aforementioned Rotisserie Chicken served with a chicken vinaigrette ($24) and Roasted White Elf Mushrooms with turnips and cabbage ($20). We'd gladly skip eating the next day for any one of the fresh pasta offerings, which include a version of Spaghetti & Clams with cured pork jowl ($14/22), a jewel-toned Beet Tortelli with goat's milk yogurt ($12/20) and the panty dropping Brown Butter Pansotti with buffalo taleggio, chanterelles, parmesan and ramps ($14).
There's a fun '70s vibe happening in the dining room; the olive green booths with patterned pillows would be at home in your neighbor's groovy basement bar. It's not kitsch, though, especially at the handsome marble-topped bar illuminated by copper-toned orbs. Commitment phobes should note that the 64-seat bar area is reserved exclusively for walk ins. Oenophiles should be captivated by the expansive wine list, which includes vintages from all over the globe, including a selection from Slovenia. Everyone else will dig the respectably-priced $5 PBR.
15 West 18th Street, 212-229-9500; thegandernyc.com