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Tuesday, February 25, 2014


Last year we celebrated Valentine's Day a week late because we were both out of town the weekend of Vday. We decided that we would do it again this year so we're not fighting the crowds on Vday weekend.

The dinner location was a surprise. I let him handle the reservations and stuff. (Although I did give him a list of restaurants I wanted to try, to choose from.) hehehe. :P

We had a super early reservation since this place is pretty new and books up really fast. I kinda figured it out but I was still really excited because it was at the top of my list. I've been hearing nothing but good things about them! We ate a fairly light lunch so I was totally ready for our early dinner!

2323 N Henderson Ave, #109
Dallas, TX. 75206
(214) 370-9426
Price: $$$$

We pulled up to the restaurant and you pretty much have to valet. The self parking is 1 hour only. That sucks. But they do validate your valet so it's complimentary.

The outside is really cute. They have a small outdoor seating area. The front of the space is bright and simple. I really like their logo of the "G" from a rose. We were warmly greeted by the host as we walked in. I loved the decor. Kind of rustic, beachy, but yet sophisticated. A lot of nautical accents. We were actually 20 minutes early to our 5:30 reservation. There was only maybe 2 other tables filled so far so we got seated immediately. The space is pretty small but cozy. I liked the large mirrors on the walls which make the place look bigger.

After we sat down, a waitress came and greeted us and got us some water. We took a look at the cocktail menu and each got a drink.

On the left is the Fennel Rickey (Fords Gin, Meyer lemon, lime, Yellow Chartreuse, fennel fronds) $12~ Fresh and bright and just sweet enough for me. Really enjoyed this. Strong too!

On the right, Jade Goddess (Oolong tea infused Vodka, Meyer lemon, honey) $12~ It was sweet but had a bitter aftertaste, not sure from what. And the flavor of honey was pretty strong which I don't particularly like. But was still good enough to finish. hehe.
I couldn't decide between the 2, but the waitress highly recommended the Jade Goddess so I got that. She said it was sweeter, which I like. So my bf ordered the other so I can try it too. I ended up liking the Rickey better. I think I just like gin better.

We had a different waiter for dinner service. He was super nice. He gave us the specials of the day and told us that they typically take all your orders so they know how to time everything coming out. I like that. It means they pay attention to the timing of your dining experience. We also asked him to take a picture for us. And by "a picture" I mean like 4 or 5 cuz I wanted to redo them. hahaha. He obliged with no complaints and told us that he just wants the customers to have a great time. :) That's the spirit!

We were given some bread to start. I think it was a slice of rye and a Gouda & Fig Scone.
The scone was DIVINE! I have never had a better savory scone. I'd call it more of a biscuit because of it's flaky buttery-ness. The outside was just crispy enough and the inside was warm and buttery with a hint of sweetness from the fig and saltiness from the Gouda. Sublime. I could've been happy just eating that for the rest of the night!

For dinner, we went straight to the entrees.

He got the Duck Breast and Confit Leg (barley "fried rice", scallion, pickled daikon, carrot) $29.50~ 
That was one of my choices too. I'm so glad we have the same preferences for food for the most part cuz we always like what each other gets! The duck was great. The breast had a lot of flavor, but the star was the leg. It was fork tender and awesome. I really enjoyed the barley fried rice too. I like anything with texture and barley had just enough chewiness against the tender confit leg. The pickled veggies on top was a nice splash of brightness against the heavier meat. Plus it was also a pretty plate!

I got the Braised Veal Cheeks (Tokyo turnips, baby carrots, cippolini onions, bacon, black pepper spatzle) $31.50~ 
Can't say I've had many veal cheeks in my life, but I do know that the cheek of anything tends to be the most tender meat. It was like buttah! Totally didn't need a knife and almost didn't even need to chew it. So freaking tender! 
And I totally loved the spatzle. The texture was great, and it soaked up all the flavors from the veal and veggies. I did wish there was some sort of fresh veggies or herb salad on top though. It was a heavy dish and a tad greasy so some brightness would've been perfect.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts (with bacon) $7.25~ 
Gotta get Brussels sprouts whenever I see it! These were yummy. Not as great as Village Kitchen but still good. There were large chunks of bacon in there. The bacon was a tad salty on its own but paired well with the sprouts.

Roasted Acorn Squash (garlic, lemon thyme) $6.25~ 
A nice compliment to all our dishes. It was tender and slightly sweet. Helped balanced out all the savory elements of everything else. It was especially good when I paired it with the spatzle.

We wanted to save room for dessert so we actually took some of the food to go. My bf mentioned to the waiter that we absolutely loved the scones and asked if he could get one for me to go. The waiter smiled and said he'll see what he can do to get us 2!! YAY!! :D GIMME GIMME GIMME! hahaha.

Can't end a meal without trying dessert! We were pretty full so we just got one. Although I would've been perfectly ok if we got two! :P
Chocolate Caramel Pine Nut Tart (toasted marshmallows, vanilla bean ice cream) $10.50~
It was such a gorgeous plate. Everything looked so elegant and perfect. The tart was amazing. Usually my bf doesn't like dark chocolate but with the addition of the caramel on the inside, he loved it. The pine nuts were inside the tart and you can really taste them with the chocolate and caramel. The ice cream had a really great consistency and the marshmallows were so cute. Every flavor paired well together and there was a lot of different textures. The creaminess from the caramel, ganache and ice cream to the gooeyness of the marshmallow and then the crunch from the crust and also some sort of chocolate crumbs under the ice cream. Fantastic.

It was another great Valentine's Day dinner. I had really high expectations for Gemma and it definitely lived up to it. The service from the host to the waiters were so welcoming and spot on. Our water glasses were always filled, our waiter was just attentive enough without being overbearing and everyone was so friendly. The food of course was fantastic. The portion size were good too! Not those teeny tiny portions in some other fancy restaurants. We thoroughly enjoyed it. I definitely recommend Gemma for a nice dinner out or special occasion but just make sure you give plenty of time for reservations! They were completely filled up for the night and I hope business continues to stay that way. :)

**Just a side note. I ate the scone yesterday for dinner. Warmed it up in the toaster oven for a bit and it was still amazing!!! I want MORE!!!!!!!**

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