Steak Frites and Chocolate Manhattans at Gemelli

Now that summer vacation is over and Main Street Manayunk foot traffic is back in full swing, Gemelli’s on Main has a two-pronged tactic for getting into the pockets of those crowds. First, they have a new weekend lunch menu. Second, they’re mixing whiskey with chocolate.

On the menu are appetizers like butternut squash soup with cinnamon-apple coulis, and the Vitello Tonnato with tuna tartare, crispy veal sweetbreads and tonnato sauce. The kitchen is also doing mussels (in a classic garlic, tomato and white wine broth), omelets, french toast, a burger, a roast pork sandwich, steak frites and their namesake pasta (gemelli) with a lamb bolognese, chickpeas and cherignola olives.

“We were originally planning to do a brunch/lunch on the weekends when we first opened in June,” said manager Matt Richman. “But talking to the other places in Manayunk we realized the summer is not the best time for weekends.” But the fall is.

Gemelli’s menu, developed by chef Clark Gilbert, focuses on Italian cuisine with nods to French technique–and also represents a (possible) turning point in Manayunk-as-foodie-destination (something we thought we’d never say out loud).

But wait, you’re saying, what was that about whiskey and chocolate? In addition to the new lunch menu, Gemelli also has a few new cocktails on the board, including the Ultimat(e) Bloody Mary (made with Ultimat vodka, natch) or with vodka infused in-house with horseradish and heirloom vegetables. Then there’s the Chocolate Manhattan. They’ve taken American rye whiskey, infused it for three weeks with organic chocolate and added Carpano Antico Italian Vermouth, Massenez Creme de Griotte and brandied cherry. And while yes, we like whiskey, we like chocolate and we like cherries, this new concoction seems to be treading dangerously close to the appletini/chocolatini/whatever-you’ve-got-in-the-well-tini nightmares of years past that have nearly rendered the classic martini an endangered species.

Of course, we’re saying that without having actually tried a chocolate Manhattan for ourselves, so who knows? Maybe it’s the best thing since gin met tonic. Seems like a trip to Manayunk might be in order.

Gemelli on Main [Official website]