If you're into astrological signs, you know that a Gemini's strongest characteristic is versatility. It's no surprise, then, that Gemini Bistro chef Jason Paskewitz has combined versatile ingredients and flavors with unlikely counterparts at this charming Lincoln Park
I gravitated toward the short rib ravioli ($14), which seemed to be a match of strange bedfellows, but succeeded in exquisite fashion, and included a sweet, hidden surprise of tomato marmalade. "So good, it's like being ambidextrous," a fellow diner quipped. Other unique combos include the roasted salmon ($19) served with savoy cabbage and smoked bacon, and the grilled lamb chops ($26) with spinach & feta pie and lemon-oregano gremolata.
Paskewitz (a veteran of the kitchens at Four Season and Nine) runs Gemini Bistro together with partner Ryan O'Donnell (O'Donnell's sign is Gemini). The restaurant is cozy and unpretentious, blanketed with black-and-white tones, and offers a dinner menu of American entrees infused with French and Italian influence. The menu is divided between small, medium and large plates, depending on your hunger. If you’re a bird, try the Gemini Bistro salad ($8) or the creamless tomato soup ($7); mildly-hungry, go for the gnocchi bolognese ($14) or the P.E.I. mussels ($12); if you're a bear, sink your teeth into the grilled swordfish ($23) or the braised short rib ($23).
The drink lineup includes a kiddie cocktail menu (this is family-friendly dining) and a quality wine list full of California and Mediterranean favorites. If you're not on your way to work, try a creative concoction from the cocktail menu: The Heater (with milagro tequila, serano chile and agave syrup), a Mango Mojito (with parrot bay mango rum and fresh mango juice) or the Velvet Old Fashioned (makers mark, cointreau and angostura bitters) all for $10.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Jacob Wheeler