During the course of a nearly three-hour meal, Flynn McGarry fields plenty of garish iPhone flashes and “When I was your age” anecdotes. You can’t blame the crowd for gaping; he’s a gangly 16-year-old with a flop of Richie Cunningham–red hair and a pubescent squawk to his voice, and he turns out a 14-course tasting menu that’s significantly pricier than the Michelin-starred spreads at Take Root and Semilla. He’s a New York novelty.
McGarry’s 12-seat pop-up counter, Eureka—running three nights a week out of a stark, stony corner of Creative Edge Studio—was born from a supper club operating out of his family’s home in Studio City, California, when the wunderkind was only 11. It was a PR home run that nabbed him microstages in megawatt kitchens (Chicago’s Alinea, Denmark’s Geranium, New York’s Eleven Madison Park) and the cover of The New York Times Magazine, all before he could take a road test.
It’s no-doubt impressive, but can the goods surpass the gimmick? McGarry’s tweezer-flourished, cool-headed competence often makes you forget he legally can’t enjoy any of the wines paired with his plates. He doesn’t shy away from his youth—an amuse-bouche of foie gras torchon with quince on house-baked peanut “Ritz” crackers plays on PB&J, and a crusty slab of bread saturated in Gruyère fat echoes grilled cheese—and his loveliest offerings show shrewd judgment: McGarry ages a beet for three weeks to draw its sugars to the hull, grills the bulb over embers to a caramelized chew and dresses it with its own greens and a bloody beet-juice bordelaise. It’s a brilliant rendition of the root.
There’s that three-figure price, though, a markup that even some of the best chefs in the city can’t command. And following course after course of roasted sunchoke and braised new potato, there’s one measly tile of meat, a 40-day-aged rib eye that unfortunately doesn’t show its age. On the upside, neither does McGarry.