Chef Jason Paskewitz is anything but conventional (he once threatened to Chewbacca slap chef Ben Ford, son of Harrison and owner of Ford’s Filling Station in California, in a Food Network sandwich battle), but his menu at Lincoln Park’s Gemini Bistro, which includes beef carpaccio, tuna tartare and steak frites is straighter than Chuck Norris.
For example, we consider the crab cake a menu item so ubiquitous and cliche we stopped ordering it in 2001 so we could concentrate on evaluating more innovative dishes. And yet, at Gemini bistro, except for the duck confit nachos, we couldn’t avoid classics, so we gave in and ordered one.
The sweet jumbo lump ringmolded crab is offset by a pepperiness of Jack Palance like intensity that comes from a swoosh off Tabasco aioli. Instead of loading the meat down with heavy panko bredding, crunch came from addictive freshly toasted house-made croutons that girded a smart petite salad (something we’d usually rather floss our teeth with) tossed with a sharp vinaigrette. It redeemed our faith in the crab cake and now has us wondering if we should be ordering caprese salad more.