Add a bit of salt to the air and Henderson Avenue's newest joint might have you convinced it's just steps away from the beach at the Hamptons. If you've been there, that is. For the rest of us, Gemma Restaurant is everything we might imagine about the almost mythical beach get-away for richy-rich New York City residents.
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From the blue accent walls to the white marble bar to the kitschy floral fabric lining the banquettes, it's a vision of a fancy beach village. But if you sip wine on this patio, you'll watch grackles waddling through a parking lot instead of seagulls swooping down to a sandy beach. But these trivial observations aside, Gemma is a welcome addition to this previously doomed pocket of Henderson Ave.
Just two doors down from Veritas Wine Room, Gemma Restaurant is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m., with fine dining all night. The dinner menu runs the geographical gamut, with Asian, Italian, Mediterranean and French items. In just one meal, you could order Baked Oysters, Bok Choy Salad and Pappardelle. None of the entrees break $30.
The seasonal cocktail menu isn't too far-fetched, with a few new spices or flavors added to old favorites and at the pretty standard prices of $10 to $12. Rosemary has been added to the salty dog, blood orange to the margarita. The wine selections are much more interesting, with a few Texan and Californian wines listed next to a line-up of obscure Italian and French choices.
At 10 p.m. the late-night menu goes into effect, limiting the culinary choices, without closing the kitchen. Which is good, because if you've had a few too many bottles of wine at Veritas, you can stumble into Gemma for a platter of Crudo or a scrumptious Duck Breast and Confit Leg.