Making your way in the world today takes everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot. Wouldn’t you like to get away? That’s what we thought, and Gemini Bistro is here for you. Everybody might not know your name, and they may or may not be glad you came, but they’ll at least know your drink order. Gemini Bistro is the quintessential quaint neighborhood gem that should be your regular joint if you live in the neighborhood. And if you don’t live nearby, they’ll still let you pretend like you’re part of the family.
Everything about GB screams “wholesome” (you’re allowed to call it “GB” too, now that you’re a regular). It’s small but inviting, shall we say cozy, but it maintains a modern flair. It’s intimate enough for a date night, casual enough for a friend night, and well-lit enough for a family night - moms and dads, put the cheaters away. And for all you hip and trendy Lincoln Park families, they hold strollers up front and have an “X-Small” menu which is about the cutest thing we’ve ever seen. That’s why bringing your children isn’t just allowed, it’s encouraged (although we wouldn’t recommend it on a Friday or Saturday night). The staff feels like the big family you never had, except for they seem legitimately happy to see you walk through the door, which might not hold true with your actual family. They’re friendly and warm, and the bartenders aren’t afraid to rib you a bit when they feel like you need it.
The menu is broken between Small, Medium, and Large, and it’s well balanced between “I just need a really good [insert American classic] right now,” and “that sounds provocative, I’m into it.” The food is rich and flavorful, and they’re definitely not afraid of butter or salt. When you’re mulling over your options, we only make three requests: you must get a daily special, you must get a Squirtsky, and you must at least ask for the dessert menu. Just trust us, we’ve been around the block on this one.
GB knows its audience, and they’re always doing something to cater to the ‘hood. Think specials during Zoo Lights season (three courses with to-go cups of hot chocolate), themed brunches over holidays, and new menus and seasonal items on a regular basis. Before you hightail it over, check the hours as they take the “we do what we want” approach, which means no Mondays, no weekdays before 5:00pm, and brunch on Sundays only. Once you do make it over, it’s only a matter of time before you’re raising a glass with the bartenders and debating whether to get your regular or switch it up. Welcome home.
GB has the salad genre nailed. They offer different seasonal salads that are far more interesting than your regular rabbit food, and they’re almost always a hit. This beet salad is a hit with goat cheese, some greens, and a balsamic and white truffle dressing. Not too sweet, not too complicated. Just right.
A roughage of frisee with a healthy portion of lardons topped with a poached egg. It might be a way of calling “bacon and eggs” a vegetable, and we’re cool with it. We’re not sure how they make lardons, but if we could cook our bacon into plump, melt-in-your mouth delicious lardons everday, we would.
The toppings change weekly and sometimes daily, but it usually involves a salty meat, a creamy cheese, and a hearty portion of vegetables on a soft and crunchy flatbread. We’ve had four different kinds, and we’ve never been disappointed. It’s the best shareable app on the menu.
The server will bring your plate and you’ll probably initially be slightly let down - aww man, only four raviolis? But then you’ll take one bite of these meaty, cheesy pillows, and you’ll forget about everything. It’s so rich and delicious that you might even get over your disappointment with the portion size.
Plump and juicy scallops with an interesting summery Mediterranean twist of hummus, cucumber, fried chickpeas, and feta cream. The scallops are seared delicately, and you’ll want to get a bit of everything in one bite.
The grilled hanger steak with fries resides in the “Large” category for good reason. Lots of steak and lots of fries steeped in lots of bordelaise sauce and butter. Sop everything on the plate in the salty, buttery pool.