Too often a chef's cookbook is simply a presentation of one intricate recipe after another, apparently based on the assumption either that the book is only to be read in bed, or that the home cook has all the expertise of the trained restaurant professional. Happily, Alfred Portale's "Gotham Bar and Grill Cookbook" makes neither of these assumptions. It is, in fact, the first book in which a chef actually explains to the home cook why he has used particular combinations of foods, how he was inspired to "invent" the recipe, and the reason for preparing the ingredients in a particular way. Portale tries, in other words, to teach the reader to think like a chef!Here you will find more than 100 complete Gotham recipes, the components of any one of which easily comprise a meal in itself--as, for example Seared Salmon, Potato Puree, Peas, and an Herbed Butter Sauce, or Lamb Shanks with Creamy White Beans and Yellow Turnip Puree. The elements of these dishes may be as elegant as foie gras or as homey as a potato cake, but they are all, as the New York Times has called Gotham's food, "blissful." And throughout Portale gives instructions not only for serving these dishes in Gotham's signature "architectural" style, but also for presenting them more casually, for family dining. Notes on variations and flavor building indicate how the recipes may be changed by substituting one ingredient for another and how their taste may be enriched or enhanced by adding additional elements. There are ample "do-ahead" instructions and bountiful hints and tips about special ingredients and procedures.