The Other Critics

Gemini Bistro Aces Everything; A Look at the Elysian’s Restaurants

A potato and caviar amuse at Ria.
A potato and caviar amuse at Ria. Photo: Helen Rosner

Phil Vettel has nary a bad word for Gemini Bistro, celebrating everything from the decadence-upon-decadence short ribs to the multiple chicken options on the menu to the star-potential desserts of pastry chef Margie Easley. He’s a happy man. [Tribune]

• The pan-Middle Eastern menu at Baladna is good, finds Kevin Pang, and it hits all the right notes (ace falafel, piquant baba ghanouj). But it’s not excellent: the pita is subpar and the lentil soup is flavorless. [Tribune]

The Time Out kiddos hit up all three of the eat-drink options at the Elysian Hotel, to an overall positive effect:

• Julia Kramer does the white-tablecloth thing at Ria, where she finds rapturous, transcendent excesses of luxury 90% of the time, and then a crash and burn with the “silly” dessert menu. Aw. [TOC]

• Heather Shouse’s take on the more casual Balsan splits its time between an explication of kitchen politics (is Ryan Poli eating here becase of exec chef Jason McLeod or cdc Danny Grant?) and lamenting that the ambitious, foodie-favoring menu (testa, in-house charcuterie, roasted brussels sprouts) wasn’t executed to the promise of its description. [TOC]
Related: A First Look at Balsan and Ria

• It’s the attendant luxuries at Bernard’s Bar that make the two-figure cocktail prices worth it for David Tamarkin: plated complimentary bar snacks, luxe ambiance, coddling service. Doesn’t hurt that the drinks are top-notch. [TOC]

Gemini Bistro Aces Everything; A Look at the Elysian’s Restaurants