Gemma Serves Some of the Best Desserts and Tea You Can Find
In Happy Endings, food critic Scott Reitz travels part of the globe that says "Dallas" in search of great desserts and great places to eat them. This is the sixth in an occasional series.
The pine nut tart with tea service at Gemma. Photos by Catherine Downes
In a few of these Happy Ending columns, I've talked about restaurants whose sweet offerings are so good they are worthy of dessert destination status -- places you'd visit for their confections alone, regardless of whether you've planned on having dinner. Gemma, without a doubt, is worth visiting just for a sugary nightcap. The Henderson Avenue restaurant opened late last year, and if you're interested in learning about the rest of their dinner service you should check out this week's review, but first focus on that pine nut tart pictured above.
Pastry chef Stephanie Childress is responsible for the crunchy crust that holds soft chocolate that soothes you with every bite, while hidden beneath, pine nuts encased in soft caramel make for very rich eating. Thankfully, there are other bites strewn about to break up potential monotony. Freshly made marshmallows are toasted till they are barely held together by hope and a big quenelle of vanilla ice cream cools things down. Childress has a penchant for frozen dairy, and you can order up to six flavors at a time. Check out more of her offering in the picture below.
But it's the tea service that surprised me most. They serve oolong, Earl Grey, a pu-erh that tastes vaguely of chocolate, and a few others, all purchased from the Cultured Cup way up there in North Dallas. A pot of this stuff will ruin you for tea bags forever, and it's impossible not to feel good with your hands wrapped around a mug.
Gemma is open late, so if you're having dinner in one place and want to move on to something new, it's a perfect spot. I can also see customers enjoying sweet things at the bar with a warm cup of tea as a nightcap that won't potentially leave you with a morning headache. Don't miss out.