I’ve been waiting some time to visit Bowery Hotel’s Italian hot spot Gemma. But since they refuse to take reservations for less than six, and are always mobbed with eager foodies I just gave up. But when the opportunity arose to dine at Gemma during lunch, I knew it was meant to be.
Gemma’s decor is rustic but elegant. Glistening candelabra chandeliers hang from high ceilings surrounded by wooden tables and candles adorned with dripping wax. This dark but beautiful space comes alive at night when all of the candles are lit and the room is filled with chic diners. In the early afternoon Gemma was fairly quiet with few diners other than ourselves.
Gemma’s menu is filled with wonderful Italian specialties such as Artichoke & Parmigiano Salad dressed with Truffle Vinaigrette, Papparadelle with Oxtail Ragu, and a vast selections of cheeses, charcuterie, and pizzettes. But having looked over their menu and read many reviews in preparation for my first goodbye lunch, I already knew I was ordering the Branzino Al Forno, which also happened to be the most expensive item on the menu. Oh, well!
My boss Andres suggested we begin our meal with the polenta fries and the calamari which were both delicious. The polenta fries were dusted with fresh parsley and served with a chipotle aioli that complimented the fries perfectly. And the calamari was cooked with garbonzo beans in a savory marinara sauce that I couldn’t stop eating.
For our main courses we ordered the Branzino, Goat Cheese Ravioli al Pomodoro, Rigatoni, & a Margherita Pizza.
All of the dishes, aside from the pizza were wonderful, especially the Goat Cheese Ravioli. The plump fresh tomatoes in the marinara sauce were phenomenal and were a great pairing for the goat cheese.
Gemma is a great place to go for both lunch and dinner and is probably worth the wait during peak evening hours. Definitely try the Goat Cheese Ravioli and the Artichoke salad which I unfortunately did not order this time around.