Sweet of the Week: Berry Crisp at Gemini Bistro

Spring hath sprung! That's right, after the frigid winter from hell, we can finally thaw out and know that sunnier days are upon us. Aside from not being frostbitten all the time, there's no better indicator of spring than seasonal food. With warmer weather and greener pastures comes lighter dishes and vivid flavors. Case in point, produce that isn't a godforsaken pumpkin. Gemini Bistro is embracing spring hardcore, and at the end of a meal of asparagus risotto and spring salads, it's best to cap it off with a berry crisp. Remember berry crisps? It seems like centuries have gone by since we've last had one. But like a warm hug from an old friend at a school reunion, crisps are here to remind us that everything will be OK. And before I get sidetracked and cheesy, let me reiterate that Gemini Bistro is doing a wonderful job with classic American crisps.

Berry crisp at Gemini Bistro
(Berry crisp at Gemini Bistro)

The berry crisp currently on the dessert menu at Gemini Bistro, a Mecca of comforting solace in the heart of Lincoln Park, is a most welcome sensation. The template is as classic as it gets, with a teeny pot stuffed to brimming with luscious berries, crackly streusel, and gelato. But in this case, classic is what we sorely need after the emotional beating we just endured last season. It's sweet comforts like this one that make life worth living. Gemini heaps on the spring berries, baking them into a treacly compote-like mash perfect for spooning directly into gaping mouths. The gooey medley is topped with a crunchy layer of cinnamon-sugar streusel, which tastes like a deconstructed bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch. But unlike that vindictive cereal, this one won't stab the roof of your mouth every time you try to eat it. The final piece of the nostalgia puzzle is a hefty scoop of vanilla gelato. Dolloped atop the warm-from-the-oven crisp, it begins to melt ever so slightly into the fruit smorgasbord beneath it, enriching the crisp with rich notes of vanilla and cream. Hello spring, nice to eat you again!

- Matt Kirouac