Teen chef Flynn McGarry — who is ready to turn 20 and stop being called a “teen chef” — recently opened the cafe half of his Lower East Side dual-concept restaurant Gem. Now, the restaurant is fully open, offering the flagship $155 tasting menu.
The 18-seat casual neighborhood cafe-style portion called The Living Room opened earlier this month, serving pastries like a blueberry violet muffin and sweet potato bread. But the true test of McGarry’s prodigy status starts tonight with the debut of the formal space, The Dining Room. Here, McGarry serves a 12- to 15-course menu for $155 that’s meant to evoke the feel of dinner party, with two seatings for 18 people each every night.
The Dining Room menu will start with his signature dish — a take on a Ritz cracker sandwich with foie gras, peanuts, and sour cherry. Subsequent dishes will include a slow-roasted sunchoke with seaweed, pumpkin seed oil, and apples that’s plated like a fall wreath, as well as a winter squash topped with pumpkin seeds and accompanied by kogi and lime. One course in the set offers family-style portions of dishes like pasta. Everything is followed by dessert, petit fours, and after-dinner drinks back in The Living Room space.
McGarry got his early start in the culinary world by hosting dinner parties at his parents’ house at 13-years-old. Since then, he has staged at high-profile places like Eleven Madison Park and been declared the “Justin Bieber of food” for his prowess. Though he’s hosted upscale tasting menu pop-ups, this is the first time he’s locked into a permanent space.