Seriously Accomplished Food on Main Street

There’s no end to praise Brian Freedman heaps on Clark Gilbert’s Gemelli on Main.

At his best, Gilbert sends out gems like the mammoth portion of beef cheeks, a gorgeous plateful of shimmering, ink-toned flesh from New York’s renowned Pat LaFrieda. All the earthiness of the meat—sticky and melty and beyond fork-tender—was balanced by deliriously sweet caramelized cippolini. The slick of sauce, the reduced and concentrated braising liquid, served as a perfect vessel for showing off its constituent house-made veal stock. And just when all of this heartiness threatened to overwhelm, the celery-root risotto swept it up to a brighter level.

Gemelli Is a Miracle on Main Street [Philadelphia Weekly]
Gemelli on Main [Official Site]

Two Bells for Manayunk’s Gemelli on Main

Craig LaBan checks out Clark Gilbert’s latest stop, Gemelli on Main. The talented chef is on to his tenth restaurant in 16 years, this one along Main Street in Manayunk. LaBan finds it recommendable but has quibbles over price and some other details.

Rabbit legs are slow-cooked confit-style, then whipped into a creamy rillettes to be served like a puck of pâté with lentil salad. A seared duck breast starter – cooked rare and served cool, like roast beef – was shingled like cards over a lively celery root salad. Beef tartare, meanwhile, continuing the cold-meat theme, was glazed in a perfectly mustardy dressing but wasted its most brilliant idea – a cockle salad in curried vinaigrette – by setting it so coyly off to the side that it was nearly lost as an afterthought. I’d return for that dish alone, more boldly blended, especially now that it’s switched to venison.

Two Bells – Very Good

Gemelli [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Gemelli [Official Site]

Quick Bites: Shuffling Ownership, Cocktails and More

Steve Cook and Michael Solomonov are selling Xochitl. Friends Peter Leontaras and Demetri Pappas are buying the Mexican bar. This isn’t the first time the Cook+Solo have done something like this. They previously sold Marigold Kitchen to new operators. [The Insider]

Percy Street Barbecue’s 60+ craft beer cans are profiled by the web site  [CraftCans]

The Corner has remade its cocktail list for the summer with some guidance from Chef John Taus. [Grub Street]

The National Park Service is putting City Tavern’s lease up for bids. Current operator Walter Staib says he has no plans on leaving. [KYW News Radio]

Yesterday we told you about two restaurants that received their liquor licenses. Add Gemelli on Main to that list as the Manayunk restaurant is also now serving a full liquor list.

Greatest Hits and What You Missed: Shrimp and Grits, Root Beer and Ice Cream, Hot Dogs and Beer, and 10 Chefs On Why You Can’t Grill For S#!t

That picture above (of the shrimp grits at Relish) was my favorite snap of the week–the kind of thing that made me want to immediately get in the car, head out to West Oak Lane and eat seven or eight bowls of it. My favorite story? The one about Victory Brewing finally bottling their artisan root beer (perfect for bourbon-spiked root beer floats) and selling their own beer-inspired ice cream. The best deal of the past week? Daniel Stern losing his mind and almost giving away Smokehouse Dogs and pints of Narragansett Lager at MidAtlantic. And the most useful thing we came up with? Grilling advice from 10 of the best chefs in the city (including Daniel Stern, who may be nuts but does know a thing or two about working a grill).

And you know what? That wasn’t even half of what we had going on this week on Foobooz. Here’s some of the other good stuff you might’ve missed:

Gemelli Opens In Manayunk And yeah, we’ve got the menu and the pictures
Ex-Horizons Owners Promise to Make Vegetables Sexy Frankly, I already find kale quite alluring
A. Kitchen Opens the Doors And yeah, we’ve got the menu and the pictures
Should Servers Get Paid Sick Days? Or would you rather them just sneeze right on your food?
Vendy Awards Nominations Announced Philly’s street food fans go bonkers
Ranstead Room Unveils Its Summer Cocktails And yeah, we’ve got the menu. No pictures this time, though, so just go see it for yourself, Drunky

Happy 4th of July, everyone. See you all back here on Tuesday.

Gemelli Opens in Manayunk

Gemelli opened this weekend in Manayunk just in time for the masses who turned out on Main Street for the annual Arts Festival. Owner Clark Gilbert moved Gemelli across the Schuylkill River from Narberth and added a liquor license.

The menu focuses on Italian with some nods to France, particularly Provence. Dinner is served nightly with lunch offered on weekends.

Menu and Photos

Suburban Snacks: From Fort Washington to Haddonfield and Wegmans Too

Brian Sirhal (left) & Chef Tim Spinner, co-owners of Cantina Feliz in what will be the outside dining area.

Cantina Feliz gets go-ahead for outdoor dining. The 300 square-foot patio is secluded from traffic and will be surrounded by shrubs, trees, flowers and a picket fence. The area will have seating for twenty and should open in late June.

Ralic’s Steakhouse opens in Haddonfield on June 18th. Hell’s Kitchen contestant Ed Battaglia mans the back of the house. [The Insider]

Gemelli in Narberth becomes Aperto this weekend. [Main Line Restaurant Guide]

Wegmans says no to PLCB wine kiosks and Lew Bryson gloats. [Why the PLCB Should Be Abolished]

Redhound Grille has opened in Paoli replacing the Big Easy Saloon. Local sourcing and some organics dot the menu. [The Insider]

Avril in Bala Cynwyd closes after two years. [The Insider]

Suburban Snacks: Butter Cake, Farm to Pizza and Musical Restaurants

Main Line Restaurant Guide positively kills us with its guide to butter cake on the Main Line. Gosh, we love this stuff. [Main Line Restaurant Guide]

Marino’s of Mullica Hill will be opening  at Mullica Hill Commons in Early May. The “farm to pizza” restaurant will 25-seat restaurant will offer breakfast, lunch and dinner but it will be the thin crust pizzas that will be the stars. [Marino’s of Mullica Hill]

Dos Gringos adds missing Mexican ingredient to Media. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Clark Gilbert is selling his Narberth BYO, Gemelli to his friend and fellow chef, John Wolferth. Gilbert isn’t getting at of the restaurant game but instead is crossing the Schuylkill and setting up shop in the former Mango Moon. The new spot will feature a liquor license and a rustic look. The name and concept at Gemelli will change in coming weeks. Got it? Good. [The Insider]

Two Bells for Gemelli


Craig LaBan certainly has some complaints in his two bell review of Narberth’s Gemelli. But he also has some nice things to say about chef/owner Clark Gilbert’s cooking.

Tops on my list is Gilbert’s inventive take on the classic Italian “vitello tonnato,” a dice of tuna tartare molded atop a cylinder of braised veal cheek meat that’s been cooked into the shredded texture of rillettes. Each ingredient heightens the other, the tuna a ruby spark of raw freshness against the savory intensity of the pâtélike meat, accented with a capery Caesar dressing. A special peekytoe crab salad was equally satisfying, an unbound crab cake whose briny sweetness was tuned up by a lemony herb vinaigrette, then enriched with a silky layer of avocado mousse.

Two Bells – Very Good

Gemelli [Philadelphia Inquirer]
Gemelli [Official Site]

How Many Bells for Gemelli

Main Line Today’s checks out Clark Gilbert’s Gemelli in Narberth and has plenty of good things to say about the modest BYOB.

The evening’s real show-stopper was the appetizer special: rare seared scallops with a shaved fennel salad tossed with lemon juice and extra-virgin olive and lemon oils, and seasoned with shallots, chives and an orange-vanilla reduction. The lightly caramelized scallops were sliced horizontally and arranged atop the fennel, with a shallow pool of reduction nearby.

This Sunday the restaurant will be in Craig LaBan’s sights. How will it do?

How Many Bells for Gemelli?

  • 2 Bells - Very Good (50%, 17 Votes)
  • 1 Bell - Hit-or-Miss (29%, 10 Votes)
  • 3 Bells - Excellent (15%, 5 Votes)
  • 0 Bells - Poor (6%, 2 Votes)
  • 4 Bells - Superior (0%, 0 Votes)

Total Voters: 34

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Look Who’s Back in Town [Main Line Today]

Gemelli Puts Down Roots


Rick Nichols visits Clark Gilbert’s Gemelli and hopes the Italian “with a nod to French” BYOB in Narberth puts down some deep roots.

He is a seasoned chef, under his belt stints at the Four Seasons, Tony Clark’s short-lived Square Bar on Rittenhouse Square, Avalon in West Chester, and the elegant, now-departed Taquet in Wayne.

But he is the first to point out that the menu here, his first truly solo venture, is not the wheel reinvented: He offers a proper Caesar salad (add $2 for white anchovies), and the braised-veal-cheek-and-tuna-tartare classic called vitello tonnato. The salmon rests on ratatouille and puttanesca sauce.

Back home, with a bistro [Philadelphia Inquirer]

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