We’re now deep into the summer, and that means it’s a great time to have some fresh seafood in your meal. Gloria, which opened this spring at the Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood which is not really known for a strong roster of restaurants, has been on my radar for a while and when my wife Jun’s friend and her husband visited from out of town, I used that occasion to finally visit the restaurant. Overall, there were some really delicious dishes that would lead to a satisfying meal.
Chef Diego Garcia previously worked at Contra known to inventive and affordable tasting menus, and his background definitely shows in the sophistication of various dishes we were able to sample. I found the colorful tilefish tartare with watermelon radish and jalapeno a bit too bland, but found crab with kohlrabi and bouillabaisse sabayon to be quite interesting in the complexity of flavor and texture (although Jun thought the seasoning was a little too potent for her taste). My favorite appetizer was, however, octopus accompanied by red cabbage and black rice. The octopus was gently cooked to near perfection and worked harmoniously with cabbage and black rice for quite a well-balanced dish.
There were some stars in the main dish options as well. Everyone liked the whole wild red snapper that was aptly cooked with moderate level of seasoning (you can always adjust the level with garlic scape lobster sauce on the side), and the otherwise plain-looking wild striped bass with asparagus and red wine béarnaise offered a pleasant surprise in its optimal level of texture. On the other hand, whole shrimp and cortez sauce was pedestrian despite its colorful display. The desserts at Gloria are not to be missed. Jun was a huge fan of corn panna cotta with blackberry and corn flake brittle that was quite delightful without being overly sweet, and the summer tart with vanilla custard and market berries was also very good.
Getting a reservation at Gloria wasn’t too difficult but the dining space is not too big, so booking in advance is recommended. The cozy and light vibe of the restaurant stands out from other boring or touristy establishments in the nearby Times Square and Hell’s Kitchen areas. It’s unfortunate that their wine selection heavily leans toward organic and natural varieties (I’ve already voiced my displeasure with these varieties multiple times in previous reviews). Gloria is definitely worth a visit for a pleasant summer dining where you’ll be able to encounter understated sophistication in the way the kitchen prepares seafood.
- Creativity: 8.5/10
- Execution: 8.5/10
- Ingredients: 8.0/10
- Flavor: 8.0/10
- Texture: 8.0/10
- Value: 8.0/10
Address: 401 West 53rd Street, New York, NY 10019
Telephone: (212) 956-0709