We’re easily wooed by seafood of any sort. But news that a “pescatarian” eatery recently opened, run by alums of Le Bernardin and Contra? That’s cause for an all-out crustacean celebration.
Add in the fact that its situated in the aptly-named restaurant wasteland of Hell’s Kitchen, and Gloria may just be one of the most welcome debuts of the season. Helmed by chef Diego Garcia (formerly Eric Ripert’s sous) and general manager Phil Johnson (fresh off a run at Contra), the sunlight-bathed spot focuses strictly on fish from the Eastern Seaboard; prepared without even the slightest help from meat.
So expect a tightly curated selection of approximately 14 local catches; partnered with vegetables but nary a speck of bacon or slick of (bone) broth. Cones of Squid sit in sweet pea-dotted yuzu butter, Skate Wing supports citric rounds of tomatillo and nopales, and the invasive Lionfish (which poses a threat to Atlantic Ocean sea creatures) is put to good use in a rose-tinted tartare, with a crunchy nest of watermelon radish, and a nutty base of barley. Jonah Crab is lapped in bouillabaisse sabayon, flaky Fluke is grilled whole, and Shrimp cuddles up to fluffy spheres of hominy, yet believe it or not, Gloria is also a haven for vegetarians — thanks to a handful of fully flesh-free options such as Early Spring Market Vegetable Salad, fresh Garbanzo and Cranberry Beans with finger limes, and mounds of Wild Mushrooms, in a heady, fragrant dashi.
Even the wine list adheres to Gloria’s virtuous, back-to-the-land throughline, featuring all-natural bottles like Domaine A & M Tissot Cremant du Jura (a biodynamic sparkling rose), sulfite-free Clos des Mourres IGP Vaucluse Pompette Rouge (a blend of Grenache and Tempranillo), and Luneau-Papin Muscadet “Clos des Allées;” fermented in glass-lined underground vats and the ultimate partner for shellfish.
No doubt — Gloria has what it takes to lure seafaring diners straight to the heart of Hell’s Kitchen.
401 W 53rd St.