Gastroarte NYC: A Molecular Gastronomy Restaurant from Chef Jesus Nunez

Tables set inside Gastroarte NYC restaurant in Upper West Side Manhattan.

Chef Jesus Nunez earned a degree of renown in Madrid for opening two hot restaurants–Polenta and Flou–that exemplified the Spaniard's love for such avant garde culinary tags as molecular gastronomy, artistic plating, and experimental, often playfully deconstructed dishes. And that's exactly the same sense of adventure that Nunez has been bringing to the Upper West Side with the beautifully designed Gastroarte (nee Graffit). Hard by Lincoln Center (not to mention Glenwood's Grand Tier), Gastroarte NYC is a refreshingly contemporary restaurant that functions equally well as a neighborhood hang for cocktails and tapas (either early or late), as a place for pre-theater supper that won't have you snoozing by the second act, and as a grown-up spot for an expansive, wine-filled meal.  

Serrano Ham and Clams by Chef Nunez at Gastroarte by Lincolns Center.

Gastroarte NYC & Chef Jesus Nunez

We stopped by Gastroarte NYC early in the evening last week, sat at one of the raised tables in the bar area, and were once again pleased and impressed by the artfully prepared food and by the cool atmosphere countered by warm service. The festivities began with a generous amuse bouche double-shot: a glass of layered, deconstructed sangria, and a tomato soup-ish creation with crunch… though not, it appeared, from Nunez's beloved Pop Rocks, an ingredient that sparked the "cease-and-desist" from Chef Jehangir Mehta of the East Village restaurant Graffiti, which also sprinkles the 1970s candy fad in its food, and which eventually forced Nunez to change the name of this restaurant from Graffit to Gastroarte last summer.  

Chef Jesus Nunez's signature dish Rainbow Scallops at Gastroarte by Lincoln Center.

Anyway, the amuses were welcome and good, but much more exciting was our starter, Serrano Ham and Clams, the pork sweet and fatty, the clams plump and soft, everything made even richer and more delicious by the ham powder AND the deglazed ham sauce our server drizzled over the whole pile. A definite winner, this one. And this was pretty excellent too: apparently the Gastroarte NYC kitchen forgot to include the artichokes in our Serrano starter, a menu-promised ingredient which we had completely forgotten about in the throes of our hamgasm. When our server (not us, our server) brought the error to our attention, we politely declined any restitution… and they hooked us up anyway, promptly producing four roasted hearts, complete with a cloud of spicy white mousse. Nice. 

Roasted artichoke hearts at Gastroarte NYC restaurant at Lincoln Center.

Our entree at Gastroarte NYC was one of Chef Jesus Nunez's signature dishes, Rainbow Scallops, four fat, perfectly cooked mollusks–seared on the outside, melty-soft within, oceanic throughout–each marinated to be a different color, in squid ink, beets, paprika, and orange, respectively. They were all really good but, honestly, the effect was more visual than gustatory. A complimentary trio of tiny cookies finished things off, leaving us more than a little satisfied. Chef Nunez is doing something fun, interesting, and different here at Gastroarte NYC, and if it's not the best Upper West Side restaurant, it certainly is a unique and welcome addition to the neighborhood. 

A complimentary trio cookies by Chef Nunez at Gastroarte restaurant.

Gastroarte NYC Details 

Gastroarte NYC is located on West 69th Street, just east of Broadway. Dinner service begins at 5:00 p.m. every night, and runs until 11:00 p.m. on Sunday and Monday, until 12:00 midnight on Tuesday through Thursday, and until 1:00 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Weekend brunch is served from 11:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. For more information and look at the Gastroarte menu, please see the Gastroarte website, here

The bar at Gastroarte restaurant in Manhattan's Upper West Side.

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