New York City is no stranger to pasta. But sometimes the hunt of finding real house-made pastas with fresh sauces complementing seasonal flavors is difficult and just plain disappointing. Watered down, one-note sauces, overcooked pasta, and not enough cheese (a real issue) can make pasta hunting seem daunting. So when I find a spot that makes pasta (almost) as good as my family does, I obsess over it for a couple of weeks until I drag both friends and family alike back.
So was the case with Gemma, a beautiful Italian restaurant in The Bowery Hotel. A close friend of mine raved about this place, but when we tried to go, the wait was so long, we couldn't see it being worth it. I now realize it totally would've been worth it.
Dining al fresco also isn't hard to come by, but Gemma is one of my favorite places to go when I'm dying to dine outdoors. Its Bowery location is the perfect mix between chic and urban – perfect for people watching (especially because The Bowery Hotel often houses celebrities.)
But, as I've hinted, the true reason to come to Gemma is the pasta...and the dessert. We began with Carpaccio di Manzo with pickled mushrooms and parmigiano reggiano, which was perfectly light and summery. Then I had Trofiette al Pesto, with french beans, potatoes, and pine nuts. My interest in this dish stemmed from the addition of the potatoes – something I don't often see added to pasta. They, like the pasta, were perfectly al dente, and paired perfectly with the beans as well. My friend had Pappardelle al Ragout with short rib, which was deliciously spiced and incredibly tender.
After clearing both of our plates, we then quickly set our sights on dessert. We chose their newest summer addition, the Crostata al Pistacchio e Rabarbaro, and the Crostata di Mele. The pistachio filling is incredibly sweet, but it is balanced out beautifully by the tart rhubarb reduction and savory sour cream gelato. The crust of the Crostata di Mele, or apple tart, was flavorful and had the perfect crumb, while the apples on the inside had candied just enough to be soft, yet still have a snap. This dish was rounded out with a scoop of cinnamon gelato.
It isn't often that I say I would return to a restaurant...with so many places to try in New York, why would I restaurant repeat? So when I say that I would definitely hit a spot again, you know it has to be good. So in case you haven't picked up on it yet, you will definitely find me at Gemma again.
The Bowery Hotel
NY, NY 10003
My name is Alexandra Jade, but you can call me Alex, or Trin. I am a Food Studies major at New York University, and a freelance photographer, journalist, and social media pro on the side. I run the instagram account @twobrunchgirls.