Dallas Has a Special New Restaurant: Gemma on Henderson

Roasted oysters at Gemma. (Photography by Kevin Marple)
Roasted oysters at Gemma. (Photography by Kevin Marple)

I do not fall in love easy, but after three trips to Gemma I fell hard. This 65-seat restaurant (with 25 more on the patio) owned by husband-and-wife team Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder is a chic oasis. Rogers and Yoder are not old-school Dallas restaurateurs, though Rogers, who is the chef, is a Dallas native. The couple moved back to Dallas after showcasing their talents at the well-respected Press restaurant in NapaValley.

The whitewashed brick walls and bluish-gray-painted beadboard create a faint nautical vibe. Light fixtures hang from thick white ropes down the center of the room. Compared to many of the new restaurants I’ve visited lately, the energy at Gemma was controlled, not chaotic. Even as the room filled to capacity, I never felt rushed or distracted.

The menu is brief but not without diversity. The six sections include raw items, appetizers, shared plates, salads, and main courses with Mediterranean, Asian, Italian, French, and Texas accents.

I met two of the most delightful, knowledgeable, and professional servers I have ever encountered in a Dallas restaurant. Hayley Votolato  profiled one of them, Suncica Lukenda, last week.

The May issue of D Magazine is on the newsstands. Pick up a copy to read my full review of Gemma. Or click here and tell me what you think.