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East Village/ LES >
Posted by lulu55 on 02/19/2008
My boyfriend and I had no idea where to go on a Saturday night at 9:30, so we just started walking and came across Gemma. It looked beautiful, warm and welcoming from the outside, and found this to be true once inside. The menu wasn't posted on the outside of the restaurant, but the hostess was extremely friendly and told us about the specials when we asked to see the menu before committing to dining there. The hostess informed us we could be seated right away at a table near the window, but that she had a much better booth available in the raised mezzanine-like section if we waited 15 minutes at the bar. I found the atmosphere to be borderline romantic since it was dimly lit with big dripping candles and gothic chandeliers. We ordered the 5 cheese plate and were surprised by the larger than average portions (try the truffle cheese!!!). It took a long time for the main dishes to come out, but there was a lot of bread brought to our table in the meantime. His eggplant dish was good although too small, but luckily my delicious seafood linguine dish had more than enough to share. I think the prices were excellent. I would definitely go back.
Posted by Anonymous on 02/17/2008
My party of five dropped in to Gemma at 7:45 on a Saturday night on a holiday weekend thinking that it would be no problem to get a table. There was no one obviously waiting for a table, but they told us that it would be about 1 to 1 1/4 hour wait. We put our names in and waited. We were seated 2 1/2 hours later. Our food came fairly quickly, but it was unimpressive and very small. The beet salad had a very odd and strong dressing on it and the raw tuna appetizer was rediculously tiny. The pasta dishes were fine, though small, and the pizza brought to our table was barely lukewarm. The best thing about this place is the Nutella calzone. I would advise that you sit at the bar and just have coffee and dessert.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/28/2008
My friends and I love to try new places, and we'd heard good things about Gemma. We knew they didn't take reservations, so we arrived at 7:15 pm on a Saturday night, early by New York City standards. Almost every single table was empty and the hostess told our party of four that it would be "just a moment". At 8:40 pm we were finally shown to a table, which was wedged behind another in such a way that a person from the other table had to get up to let us into ours. The food was decent, but certainly not worth waiting an hour and 25 minutes for. I'd go back, but just for drinks and (maybe) food at the bar.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/05/2008
My husband and I went on a Saturday night at 8:30pm. We didn't have a reservation, and the bar area was beyond packed. We were told it would be 40-45 minutes, so we decided to wait. An hour and a half later, we were still waiting. We had assumed that most of the other people waiting had reservations, since they were seated ahead of us and had come in after us, but then we heard a hostess tell someone that they don't take reservations. We started to get upset, and miraculously, we were told that we were next. The Drew Carey Amish-like host led us to a badly located table as if he was doing us a huge favor. The waiter came over in a huge rush a moment later, and said that there was a large party coming in and if we wanted to eat in the near future, then we needed to order that minute or wait awhile. We barely had enough time to look at the menu, but we chose items and he ran off. A few minutes later he returned and practically threw the food at us, never asking us if we needed anything or how it was. He never once came to check on us during the meal, but we did see him fawning over the large party that had arrived. The food was okay, at best. The portions are a decent size, but the food was nothing to write home about. The waiter was so busy ignoring us that we couldn't even get his attention to get our check. The only person who gave us excellent service was the busboy, Manny. He went above and beyond - checking on us consistently, getting our check for us, bringing us more water, etc. In summary, it's a very pretty, romantic looking restaurant, but if you're looking for a place where you can hear your date talk, get any sort of decent service, and have great food, then this is definitely not your place.
Posted by Anonymous on 01/03/2008
Have been here a few times now - lunch is less crowded but think dinner is worth the wait, although go early if you can. You can also sit at the bar to eat if you're lucky enough to snag a spot. Staff are friendly and unpretentious (a rarity at new, trendy spots these days). Food consistently good and fun atmosphere.
Posted by Disappointed on 12/08/2007
My girlfriend and I have been talking about going here since we saw them renovating the building. Wow, it was unpleasant once we finally went in. Don't they know how to smile and check up on your table frequently? We weren't greeted when we walked in - just a sneer and a "follow me" type attitude. Our waitress sat us and never came back. The food was mediocre at best. The french toast was soggy. The best thing was probably the water.
Posted by Christopher on 12/01/2007
Gemma almost has it all. The restaurant is absolutely gorgeous. The service is genuine and professional. Although on the expensive side, the portions are just right if you don't want to go home feeling bloated. But sadly, the food is remarkably unspectacular. I had heard that the food was just "alright" at Gemma and that about sums it up. We started with some cheese and sliced meats, which were fine, but nothing special. I'm not sure why they chose to offer this particular selection. For example. we tried the Ubriaco cheese, described as "'drunk,' aged 6 months in red wine," but what we ate had no discernible flavor whatsoever. And the slice of Parmigiano Reggiano we tried was so close to the rind we could eat only half of it. For our entrees we ordered the Spaghetti Puttanesca and the Gnocci Bolognese. Both were average at best. The Bolognese was little more than the taste of plain chopped meat thrown into a red sauce that was devoid of any real flavor. We didn't order pizza, but the few I saw coming out of the kitchen looked unimpressive. Unless you like pizza that consistently looks undercooked, I'd avoid it altogether. $12 for a Stoli with club also dampens the mood while waiting for your table, but the wine was more reasonably priced at $9-13 a glass with a fairly decent selection. Try it for the ambiance. Just be willing to settle for the mediocrity. We will not go back.