Gogi's Restaurant

William Prahl labored at the helm of Gogi's after wowing diners at the McCully House. Last year he sold Gogi's to the brothers Jonoah and Gabriel Murphy. Rumor is that Prahl and his wife will be back in business in an historic building on California Street, perhaps by this summer.

Prahl's legacy is one of high quality in almost every aspect of the dining experience and the wife and I recently ankled downtown for a look at the restaurant's new iteration. In general, we find the Brothers Murphy to be plowing the same general furrow Prahl did. In brief, we can recommend the new Gogi's.

The wife had a $9 tuna Carpaccio appetizer with crispy capers, extra virgin olive oil and sale marino which turned out to be sea salt. It was superb. I had a curried carrot soup with pineapple salsa for $6, served lukewarm but very good.

I next went for the New York steak and it was a splendid cut of beef and cooked to a perfect medium rare. This cost $25. The wife went for monkfish with soba noodles. I found this dish bland but the wife liked its delicacy among heavier items offered as entrees.

The restaurant was full on a Friday evening. Like us, it was the Dockers and L.L. Bean crowd and service was competent if not perfect. Perhaps the recent re-opening (after a small fire) contributed to this but let me make a plea for extending precision beyond just the food to encompass the entire dinner experience.

The old Gogi's had a waiter who never failed to correct my pronunciation of a wine's name. On this recent visit, I found a German Reichsgraf Von Kellelstatt '03 Riesling in Kabinett style described as having mineral notes. This should have been a light and dry-ish wine, which we like. Our server was uncertain and so he asked a man I assumed to be the wine steward wine who zoomed across the room tossing back over his shoulder, "Oh, that's not dry. They don't want that they want a sauvignon blanc."

We would have liked the steward to glide to our table, sidle up, and with a warm suavity which placed us all on an equal plane, guide us toward a wine which would please.

As it was, we chose the Château St. Jean Fume from a single-block in their La Petite Etoile vineyard and it was brilliant. At $27 it was almost a 100% markup from wholesale but this isn't uncommon in restaurants and the wine itself was worth it. Gogi's white wine prices don't top $36 and although some red wines are more expensive, their selection looks perceptive.

Gogi's food prices are fair with most appetizers below $9, salads under $5, and entrees seldom approaching $25. The Sunday Brunch menu is exceptionally tantalizing and boasts something called "Endless Champagne" for $6.

As before, the interior is warm and softly-lit, the music is gentle and sophisticated, and the chatter lively but never obtrusive. The new Gogi's merits your attention.

— Hubert Smith

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