The Gander

Once you discover this Flatiron hot spot, it will become your go-to

By Erik Mathes

Here’s a not-so-bold prediction: If you go to The Gander once, you will be going back for more. That’s because award-winning chef-owner Jesse Schenker’s dishes are so outrageously interesting and inviting that you probably won’t feel satisfied until you try every single one of them. And whether you’re into liquor, beer, or wine, well, let’s just say you won’t be hard pressed when it comes to choosing from among the impressive options here. In consideration of your body and mind, you’ll want you to spread all that deliciousness out over many, many visits.

The two-time James Beard Award semifinalist, Iron Chef America winner, and recipient of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” distinction has perfected a recipe that’s made sweetbreads (of all things) not just popular, but an absolute must-order item—dredging them lightly in flour, frying them to a golden crisp, and serving them spicy Buffalo-style with house-pickled celery and carrot and a decadently creamy blue cheese dip. He’s also rebuilt the demand for spaghetti with garlic and olive oil by divorcing meatballs and marinara from the dish and remarrying the pasta with a salty, sassy trio of lobster, uni, and bottarga.

Whether you lounge in the 64-seat bar room—which you enter Schenker’s space through—or you opt to chill in the custom-wallpapered dining room in back, you’ll be treated to a menu that hits every note across the spectra of flavor and texture. You’ll find everything from super-healthy salads, with quinoa, edamame, and roasted yams, to uber-rich entrées like shrimp tempura with turnips, Romesco, and sherry caramel. Sample the widest range of flavors by sharing, which works equally well for large or small plates, such as the brisket tots with apple, potato, and mustard (think a Reuben sandwich inside of tater tots), sea trout tartare with crispy trout skin and traditional accompaniments, and the crispy-juicy pork Milanese with herbed smashed potato salad.
Then there’s the booze. Schenker’s wine menu reads like a novella, with bottles from all over the States (New York to New Mexico to Napa) and Europe (including more obscure wine-producing nations, like Slovenia) and prices that range from around $30 to several grand. The spirits selection is nearly as vast, with everything from single malt Scotches to Chartreuse and sambuca. There’s also plenty to rejoice over for beer lovers, especially the “Beer Geek Sandbox” portion of the menu, featuring “a collection of dorky brew, not for the faint of heart.”

Adventurous eaters and sophisticated drinkers will find one more sublime satisfaction at the Gander: A classy atmosphere that won’t have you bumping elbows with guests at other tables—an incredible luxury in NYC. To say you’ll be left with tough choices is an understatement, but thankfully, you’ll never be disappointed in the outcome—and there’s always the next visit to look forward to.


The Bar Room:
Mon–Fri noon–11PM; Sat 11:30 AM–11 PM; Sun11:30 AM–3 PM
The Dining Room:
Dinner: Mon–Thu 5:30 PM–10 PM; Fri–Sat 5:30 PM–11 PM
Lunch: Mon–Fri noon–2:30 PM
Brunch: Sat–Sun 11:30 AM–3 PM

price range

$18 (baby octopus) to $33 (steak frites)