“Where have you been!”
I know. I asked myself the same question this morning. It’s been a crazy month and despite having kept busy in the kitchen, I haven’t been letting you in on my most recent endeavors. Even with some more work for Silver Caterers (which I’ll post soon), I find myself searching for some new inspiration. Because no matter how well you can cook, sometimes you just need a refresher. A refresher on what makes a dish fantastic, and what makes a meal truly memorable.
This past weekend, I ventured home (outside of Philadelphia) and had one of those truly memorable meals. My good friend, Clark Gilbert, just recently opened his own BYO in downtown Narberth. Gemelli, a French and Italian inspired bistro, has a awesome menu studded with classic flavors and creative twists that could get any diner excited. We had the opportunity to go on a Friday night where the dining room was bustling as the kitchen (which is open to the diners) pumped out dish after dish. I’m always a bit amazed with open air kitchens, mainly because it requires so much more. And anyone who has worked in a restaurant, front or back of the house, can appreciate that.
But it was the food and service together that make Gemelli so special. The four of us tried a number of the appetizers including the beet salad, the mussels, the calamari special, and the tuna tartare with veal cheeks. All were prepared perfectly, but the tuna tartare was my favorite. The combination of flavors and textures took a fairly common menu item and made it feel brand new. For entrees, my gemelli with lamb bolognese, merguez, and broccoli rabe was savory and delicious. Although I was too busy eating my own to sample the spinach and ricotta ravioli and the chicken breast with piperade, I am sure they were both delicious. Why? Well an empty plate is the surest sign of success. But lastly, my favorite dish, a dish I had been excited for since I found out Clark was opening Gemelli, was the pappardelle with braised rabbit, cerignola olives, and spinach. If you haven’t had rabbit or even if you had, this rich and hearty dish is the one to try. The balance between the ingredients is a perfect example of what cooking should be.
But what’s a meal without good service. In a space that is easily filled, especially on a busy weekend night, not once did we feel rushed or unattended. And you might be saying to yourself, “well you knew the chef”. That may be true, but it’s easy to see through the sounds of conversation and clinking forks and spoons that this dining room was being run correctly. And with fantastically priced menu items and the prospect of bringing your own wine, how can you really go wrong?
Ultimately, Gemelli is the kind of place you would want to be a regular at. So go give it a shot. You won’t be disappointed.