Jema Restaurant - Huntington, NY
I’ve been going to physical therapy for the last couple of weeks, and every session the therapist and I discuss new Long Island restaurants. The therapist lives in Huntington, so he told me about this great new restaurant that just opened in town. When I tried to make a reservation, I realized that everyone seems to have heard about this restaurant because it was booked for the entire month! I was able to get a reservation for the last weekend in February for a date night with my husband. This worked out perfectly since our Valentine’s Day plans were cancelled due to the fact that I was stuck in bed with the flu.
While I was stuck in bed, I spent a lot of time catching up on my television shows and movies on demand. One of the movies I watched was “Joy.” When I made the reservation to Jema, I had no idea that this restaurant happened to be owned by the one and only Joy Mangano. For those that did not see the movie “Joy”, Joy Mangano was a divorced mom trying to make ends meet. She created the Miracle Mop and completely transformed her life. Joy is now a huge success and owns more than 100 patents for her inventions. What I didn’t know from watching the movie, is that Joy is from Long Island and still lives here. She decided to open a restaurant in Huntington to bring fine class dining to the people of Long Island.
The history of Jema is quite fascinating. Three years ago, Joy was vacationing on a private yacht with her family when she met a young chef named Franco Sampogna. From the minute she met Franco, she knew she wanted to work with him but needed to figure out a way how. The space that Jema now occupies was originally another restaurant called Porto Vivo. Although Porto Vivo was a success, Joy decided she wanted to amplify the level of the restaurant by introducing Franco’s culinary skills. Therefore, Joy transformed Porto Vivo into Jema. Her goal with Jema is to create a restaurant in Huntington worthy of a Michelin star.
The décor at Jema is stylish and modern but also warm and inviting. The restaurant features a multi-level design with each level bringing a different feel to the restaurant experience. The first floor showcases an open kitchen design with several dining tables. The second floor features a beautiful bar and lounge area serving specialty cocktails created by an amazing mixologist. The third floor is split with a spacious dining room and fireplace on one side and a lounge area with the bathroom on the other side. Jema also has a beautiful wine cellar which can be used as a private dining room. My husband and I definitely plan on coming back with some other couples to experience dining in the wine cellar. I cannot say I have ever done that before!
We decided to go with the chefs tasting for our meal so we could experience a sampling of what Jema has to offer. Jema’s menu is seasonal and uses locally sourced ingredients. I love when a restaurant is constantly changing their menu. When I find a dish I love, I tend to order it every time I dine at that restaurant. When the menu is ever changing, you have no choice but to try something new every time you visit.
The chefs tasting consisted of 6 dishes and an amuse-bouche. All of the dishes were beautifully prepared and served by an educated waiter. He described every dish and the preparation in great detail. This is appreciated when doing a chefs tasting because you don't know what you are being served! We learned about the origin of the ingredients and why certain choices on the dishes were made. It was really an enjoyable experience and one I highly recommend when dining at Jema.
The chefs tasting at Jema was one of the best I have experienced in Long Island. Every dish was skillfully prepared and the ingredients were delicious and fresh. The flavors of each plate were delicate and each dish in the tasting complimented the next. The dessert brought the tasting to a wonderful end and fulfilled all flavors of our palettes. From the décor and the staff to the cocktails and the dishes, dining at Jema is a one of a kind experience. Jema is truly a Long Island gem.