THE INSATIABLE CRITIC
A WHO’S WHO
Gael Greene, known to many as “The Insatiable Critic,” grew up in Detroit, graduated from the University of Michigan, and began her career in New York as an investigative reporter. She spent many years in the job, first at UPI and later at the New York Post, where her editors soon took notice of the unique way in which she wrote about food. In time they started giving her more and more assignments covering restaurants around town. In 1968, having gotten a bit of attention for her food writing, she was offered the position of Chief Restaurant Critic for a startup called New York Magazine.
Launched by Milton Glaser and Clay Felkner, New York Magazine was a bi-weekly publication intended to compete with The New Yorker (though “more brash, less polite”). Contributing writers in those early days included Tom Wolfe, Barbara Goldsmith, and Jimmy Breslin. Gloria Steinem was hired to write the City-Politics column, Harold Clurman was the Theatre Critic, Alan Rich covered classical music, and Gael Greene was brought on to cover restaurant openings.
A FOODIE AMONG US
Greene emerged on the scene at a time when New Yorkers were less sophisticated about restaurants, and she covered food culture in a way that had never been done before. Her headlines provocative, her descriptions suggestive. She was a woman in a man’s job, insisting on doing things her way.
She made a career not just documenting America’s growing obsession with food, but shaping it as well.
So why should that matter to us?
Because in many ways she was the one who put Gotham on the map.
Gotham opened in 1984 to much fanfare, though (as we mentioned last week) quickly found itself in trouble. Most of the writers around town had dismissed the restaurant and moved on. Gael Greene was the only critic to swing back for a return visit once Alfred Portale took over the kitchen. She logged a review in June, 1985, heralding the arrival of an exciting newcomer to the New York dining scene: Gotham Bar and Grill.
Over the years Greene has remained a fan of the restaurant, returning many times to write about us:
1988 in Eating Healthy
1993 in New York Magazine
1995 in New York Magazine
And then just last week she returned to preview the 35th Anniversary menu in her honor: 2019
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GAEL’S “ORIGINAL INFLUENCER” MENU
All this week we’re celebrating her incredible career (and Gotham reviews) with a set Four Course Menu comprised of dishes she specifically called out in that initial review.
Salad Maximin, Crayfish, Red Shrimp, Haricot Vert, Citrus Vinaigrette
Goat Cheese Ravioli, Pancetta, Shallots, Rich Chicken Broth
Loin of Lamb, Globe Artichoke, Crisp Potatoes, Red Wine Sauce
Warm Raspberry Gratin, Grand Marnier Sauce