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An incredibly promising young chef with a challenge in ‘experience creation’: Restaurant Gem (15. June 2019)

| July 9, 2019 | 0 Comments

When I heard about ‘Gem’ where a 17 year old chef is cooking on the same level as many star chefs in their 30ies, I was obviously intrigued right away and tried to get a table which wasn’t that hard really. As in other places like Noma or Eleven Madison Park you have to prepay the menu which costs approximately 200.00 USD per person and you can – again – select the “wine pairing” (100.00 USD) when you’re right there.

The first course was very promising, the “Boston mackerel with cucumber and unripe fruit | sandwich of nectarine, sancho pepper, pine” was actually surprisingly good. The nectarine was interesting but the cucumber with the mackerel was superbly delicious. This dish and the next one were accompanied by “Meinklang, Somlo, 2015” which fit quite well to both of them.

The second course was “raw and cooked peas with fresh cheese and verbena” which was again interesting. Peas seem to be thing of this season as you get them pretty much everywhere.

Next in line were the “crudités with ramp emulsion” which was fine but nothing overwhelming but at least the wine, a “sebastien riffault, skeveldra, sancerre, 2014” fit well with this and the next two courses.

The “spelt with raw and grilled asparagus” was something tasty definitely worth trying when you’re there.

One of my personal high lights of the evening was the “broccoli rabe tortellini en brodo”. So basically, Flynn recreated “tortellini al brodo” but without the pasta texture but with broccoli rabe. How cool is that? And he actually managed to create an extremely similar texture to the actual tortellini. I was impressed.

Of course, if you like the stock, some proper bread with it is perfect to soak it up and enjoy it to the end.

Next in line was the weakest course of the evening. The “new potato cooked in chamomile | smoked trout roe and rose petal” was of good intentions but frankly when you put a quite heavy load of potatoes there, it kind of neutralizes the flavors of the rest. So you would barely taste anything of the smoked trout roe.

What I like – in terms of how food is served – is the fact that they pretty much prepare it at your table …

… so you finally get a lovely dish to look at. Although in terms of aroma, this one wasn’t my favorite. The wine which was served with it, the “Funkwerks, white, fort collins” was fitting though.

And it also fit with the next course, the “fava beans with lamb broth and smoked chili oil”. The combination of the intense lamb stock with the beans and the chili oil was a rather intense and good one again – especially compared to the previous course.

The next was the absolute high light of that evening. It sounded boring, it even looked boring at first, but, oh my god, it was the most delicious dish I have had in a while. Now, the halibut was made ready right in front of you and was taken apart from the way it was prepared …

… and when I saw the tomatoes, I thought, this is going to be so boring.

But when the whole dish, “halibut cooked en papillote with marigold, sungold tomatoes with strawberries” was served and I took my first bite, I was in food heaven. Do you know that feeling when shivers run down your spine? Yeah, that feeling! It was an explosion of flavor, of aroma, of taste, of happiness, of joy, just really outstanding! And the “Jean-Marie berrux, le petit tetu, burgundy, 2017” which came with it rounded it up perfectly!

I expected any next course after this explosion of flavor to be a disappointment – and yet, it wasn’t. Honestly, “cabbage and morel schnitzel” didn’t sound appealing and I am always super skeptical when it comes to things which kind of are like meat but are actually not. But the consistency of this ‘fake schnitzel’ (as I would like to call it) was amazing. It really mimicked a real schnitzel from Vienna. And I assure you, if you wouldn’t know and wouldn’t see it, I’m not sure you could tell. I mean, you could, but it’d be surprisingly hard. The “Franz Strohmeier, Schilcher, Steiermark, NV” complemented the dish in a lovely way.

The “sorrel sorbet with rhubarb and fresh cream” which was the first course of the dessert was then again somewhat disappointing. The “Laurent Cazottes, 72 tomatoes, tarn, NV” was fine but if I’m not stocked about the dessert, then somehow, the wine doesn’t live up to the expectations either.

The second dessert was “bee pollen semifreddo with beeswax and honey” which was good in terms of tastes but somehow a bit boring as there were a variety of known flavors and flavor combinations. Good execution, good taste, but still. The “Enlightenment wines, momento mori, bushwick, ny” rounded it up perfectly.

Now, the last little bites were nice in terms of idea but not really anything spectacular. The “chocolate cake with rose geranium and raspberries” was, well, a chocolate cake with berries.

And the “fruit bowl” was largely also rather non-eventful. Admittedly, the green strawberries were flavorful but the cherries as well as the regular strawberries didn’t taste like much.

The “espresso” (4.00 USD) to close the dinner was a regular espresso. Now, all in all, I must say, the food was good and considering that it was prepared and conceptualized by someone of the age of 17, this is absolutely mind-blowing. And it was one of the few restaurants which have provided me with, what I call, an ‘oral orgasm’. So, when you have a chance, you should dine at Gem when in New York.

However, there is a few remarks in terms of the rest. The place is lovely, all held in wooden interior, amazing in terms of design and lovely overall. But there is a note of care about the ‘experience creation’ you would expect at a high class restaurant. They are not there yet – I am sure they will get there but in terms of attention, in terms of professionalism and in terms of consistency, there is room for improvement. So, funny enough, although the Gem, in my opinion had that one dish which I will remember for a long time, they did not make it in the rank of the best restaurant I have dined in on this trip to New York – merely because the service quality (or lack thereof) – leaves you with an unsatisfied feeling.

So, long story short, try the Gem – be happy about the food you will get and the anticipation of what will be possible in a few years. However, do not expect too much in terms of ‘experience. Still, I would recommend you to give it a try.


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Contact Details:

Restaurant Gem

116 Forsyth St

10002 New York (US)

Tel.: +1 718 419 2717

E-Mail: info@gem-nyc.com

Homepage: http://www.gem-nyc.com

About the Author:

I started the blog in October 2009, while living in Milan which I definitely consider to be one of the food capitals of the world. I was in touch with food since my early childhood (as my father is a former chef). Whenever I can, I travel the world to discover new places, to meet people but mostly to try local dishes and to find hidden gems! If you know a place worth going, please drop a line to: info@thediningexperience.org. Currently, I am a member of the following food-related associations: Chevalier @Chaîne des Rôtisseurs Zurich-Ville; Membre Gourmet Dégustateur @Ordre Mondial des Gourmets Dégustateurs [OMGD]; Gesellschafter @Goldener Fisch and Member @Slowfood Convivium Zurich City.
626.46 USD Filed in: New York (USA), Restaurants

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