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5 Things to Know About Gem, 19-Year-Old Chef Flynn McGarry’s Debut Restaurant

After years of pop-ups, the teen chef sets up shop in NYC’s Lower East Side
February 26, 2018
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by Abigail Abesamis

Chef (and Zagat 30 Under 30) Flynn McGarry makes his mark on the NYC dining scene with the opening of Gem, a dual concept restaurant in the Lower East Side. Capitalizing on two top dining trends, the all-day cafe and chef’s tasting menu, Gem offers both dining experiences in adjoining spaces called the Living Room and Dining Room, respectively. Here’s what you need to know before you go:

It’s McGarry’s first restaurant, following a decade of pop-ups

Since he was 12, McGarry has been running pop-ups and residencies in Los Angeles, San Francisco and New York City under his supper club concept EUREKA. The young chef has staged at top restaurants including Eleven Madison Park in NYC and Alinea in Chicago, and abroad at Maaemo in Oslo and Geranium in Copenhagen.

Chef Flynn McGarry, photo by Chloe Horseman Photography

There are two distinct dining options: the Living Room and Dining Room

The Living Room made its debut earlier this month, a casual counterpart to the Dining Room (opening tomorrow, February 27). An all-day cafe, the Living Room is open daily while the Dining Room hosts twice nightly seatings Tuesday through Saturday, and reservations are required.

The Living Room serves up craft coffees with a chill vibe

On the menu at the Living Room are micro-roasted coffees, rare teas and seasonal drinks, which are paired with housemade pastries and sweets like caramelized white chocolate blondies and semolina apple bundt cake.

King crab, photo courtesy of Gem

The Dining Room is a tasting menu experience

Multicourse dinners are prepared for up to 18 guests for $155 per person (gratuity included), plus $100 for an optional beverage pairing. Designed to feel like an intimate dinner party, guests are served champagne and bites in the Living Room before making their way to the Dining Room for a sit-down meal consisting of small plates, family-style dishes and desserts. At opening, tasting menu highlights include king crab with leeks, grapefruit and rose; lamb shank braised with warm spices and apple cider; and aged beet with bordelaise—a McGarry signature. In addition to the beet dish, McGarry’s peanut Ritz cracker–inspired creation with foie gras will always be on the menu.

The beverage program is curated by Quinn McCann, an Eleven Madison Park and Betony alum, and features wines from France, Germany, Austria and the U.S. plus sake, beer and cider.

Dining Room, photo by Chloe Horseman Photography

It’s named after McGarry’s mom, and has a homey vibe

“Gem” is McGarry’s mother’s name, “Meg” spelled backwards. The restaurant itself feels relaxed and informal, paying homage to the original supper clubs McGarry hosted in his childhood home in the San Fernando Valley. Natural tones and plants bring warmth to a minimalist space with carefully curated accents like a vintage Persian rug and wood chairs. An open kitchen in the Dining Room offers views of McGarry and team at work perfecting each course.

116 Forsyth St.; Living Room open daily, 8 AM–5 PM, Dining Room open Tuesday to Saturday, seatings at 6 PM and 9 PM (reservations required).

tasting menu
lower east side
all day cafe