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  • Restaurants
  • West Village
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  1. Gab's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Dolande
  2. Gab's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Dolande
  3. Gab's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Dolande
  4. Gab's
    Photograph: Courtesy of Patrick Dolande

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A self-billed new American bistro downtown.

Gab’s, which opened on Carmine Street in January, is doing a lot of things right. Its owner Gabby Madden, previously of Emmett’s on Grove and Lola Taverna, and its chef Nathan Ashton, (Mimi), are doing enough things right, in fact, to make it a good place to be, under the right circumstances. 

It’s pretty. The petite bar and larger adjacent dining room are awash in pops of orange and the proprietor’s own artwork is featured among the decor. The latter’s winding banquette is comfortable, and tables are just far enough apart to not be too close together. A long row of tables is suitable for large groups and the atmosphere’s convivial in any case. Fleetwood Mac fills the air. 

The sourcing is good. A fattoria salame ($24) from California’s Journeyman Meat Company tastes as fresh as any cured meat in imagination, slightly grassy with a little heat. Some of the preparations more specific to this kitchen are nice, too, like the kampachi crudo ($21), whose mild, buttery raw fish joined by a bright citrus and chile de árbol leche de tigre. 

But some of the larger investments are bad. Echoing an awful lot of self-billed new American restaurants, this one more granularly categorising itself as a bistro, seasonality amounts to some degree of menu rotation. A few months in, a halibut’s already been swapped with a striped bass ($36); the ribs with a côtes de porc ($42). The bass is alarmingly fishy for what’s typically such a gentle one, with a chewy finish. 

The pork sounds promising, described not dissimilar from the previous ribs’ recipe: gochujang-marinated, cooked sous vide for 24 hours and charcoal-grilled. Unmentioned: the curious, coarse coating on this edition’s surface. Its gritty, dry crust has a cinnamon challenge-like effect by virtue of its overpowering texture alone. The meat beneath does not emerge a diamond in the rough, either, whether absent its stated flavor to begin with, or leached by its moisture-sapping top coat. 

It’s all exacerbated by certain well-intended details’ neglect. Tables are topped with flowers, for example, and the decay beginning to devour a small bunch of pale roses near me recently carried that inimitable, mournful, dying-botanical aroma so swiftly it was more of a whack than a waft. The otherwise justly boasted-about housemade bread arrives below room temperature as though recently refrigerated. A Manhattan ordered on the rocks arrives up. 

Still, Gab’s real appeal at the moment is as a bar with apps, and some of the drinks give this an edge among the many, many other options nearby. The martinis ($21) are pleasant, prepared pretty much however you’d like and served cold enough in any case. And, in spite of my general position that all the good cocktails already exist, they’re creating some fun apparent novelties here. The Miss Moneypenny ($19) is made with a subtly interesting combination of gin, asparagus-infused vodka and Aocchi Americano that makes a suitable apéritif; wherever you’re having dinner. 


The Vibe: Pretty, lively, and more Instagram than TikTok. 

The Food: Good small plates like the fattoria salame and the kampachi crudo; avoidable mains like the striped bass and côtes de porc. 

The Drinks: Beer, wine and cocktails like the somewhat unexpected Miss Moneypenny with an asparagus infusion. 

Gab’s is located at 76 Carmine Street. It is open Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm-12am.

Amber Sutherland-Namako
Written by
Amber Sutherland-Namako


76 Carmine Street
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Opening hours:
Tuesday-Saturday from 5pm-12am.
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