Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Gemini Bistro

Location: 2075 N Lincoln Avenue
Cost: About $40 per person

Remember in undergrad when a friend's cool parents were in town and they'd take everyone out to dinner? Well some of you may have moved on to the real world, but in med school , that still goes down. My friend Kim's mom has this sweet job that takes her around the world checking up on zoo operations, and she just so happened to be coming through chi town. She was generous enough to take Kim, Maddie, and me with her to dinner. While we might have hit up El Toro in undergrad, this time we had a significant upgrade with Gemini Bistro.

Logistics
Gemini Bistro is one large room. There's a divider in the middle that splits up the bar crowd from the majority of the seated diners which came in handy later when the bar got packed. We had a reservation and otherwise would've waited a good half hour or longer. Also, we drove, and it should be noted that it's damn near impossible to find a street spot. I actually had to give in to the valet (which was $6). One beef I had was how loud it got in the restaurant once the bar filled up, but maybe I've just got old man ears.

Our server made excellent suggestions throughout the night and was never more than a holler away. The menu is split into small, medium, and large dishes which can often leave me pretty confused. We ended up with just enough food thanks to his guidance. He also led us to some solid wine selections. The cost is reasonable for the upscale atmosphere the restaurant portrays, and the quality of food matches accordingly. I'd say small, medium, and large items had an average cost of $10, $15, and $25 respectively.

The Food
For our starters, the table split the Short Rib Ravioli, the Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, and the Baby Beet Salad. The ravioli was really quite soft with big savory chunks of short rib on the inside. It came with this tomato marmalade that added a nice sweetness and acidity to the dish. I was surprised that we ordered the crab cake given that my party had two people from Maryland and one from Maine. I mean, how could a crab cake stand up to their expectations? The beet salad was clean, straightforward, and came with a simple balsamic dressing.

The Short Rib Ravioli

The Jumbo Lump Crab Cake

The Baby Beet Salad

We each picked something from the Large category for our mains. Mrs. Everett and I both ordered the Grouper while Maddie got the Roasted Salmon, and Kim got the Braised Short Rib. The grouper was nice and flaky, and it came in a steaming broth alongside some mussels, braised kale, and a garlic confit. I almost didn't get the dish because of my general distaste for kale, but the broth took over the flavor enough to make me content with my decision. Maddie seemed pleased with her salmon which came topped with a pico de gallo of sorts and served over a bed of cabbage and bacon. The short rib over this butternut squash gratin which was really something else. Plus, the short rib was just extremely tender.

The Braised Short Rib

The Roasted Salmon

 The Grouper

For dessert we went for the Creme Brulee and the Skillet Sundae. The biscotti that came with the creme brulee were almost impossible to bite through, but the dish was otherwise technically proficient. The waiter tried to convince us that the Skillet Sundae (a cast iron pan with a cookie at the bottom and topped with ice cream) was some breakthrough innovation of the restaurant, but I've seen dishes like this at a good half dozen other restaurants. I still think Lou Malnati's has the best one of these, but this had a warm and gooey cookie at the bottom as well.

The Skillet Sundae

 The Creme Brulee

Overall
While the appetizers and desserts were a little above status quo, I was really impressed with our main dishes. Each entree was cooked to perfection and came with a complicated flavor profile accented by non-traditional vegetable preparations and broths. I can see why they earned a Bib Gourmand last year. I'm giving them 4 out of 5 Pearls.

Gemini Bistro on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I'm not hating on El Toro. They've got pretty much the cheapest and best Mexican food ever. Plus, that cheese sauce is just fantastic. The point was that it's not the highest scale venue.

    ReplyDelete