Gemini, the Spanish eatery that opened in November 2021 at 1115 Pearl Street in Boulder, was originally intended to be a New American farm-to-table restaurant — but executive chef Brian Pierce knew that market was saturated with longtime heavy hitters like Oak at Fourteenth and the Kitchen.
Pierce's stacked résumé includes Estela in New York and Safta in Denver as well as experience in biodynamic farming. To create a meaningful menu that would stand out from nearby establishments, the chef thought back to his culinary travels around the world.
During his time in Asia and Europe, Pierce spent many days meandering the markets for fresh produce, spices, meats and more, and he came to the realization that these were the most memorable moments of each trip. “The experience of the market, the smells, the local produce and the meals you have in that setting are the most meaningful," he recalls. "You get a cultural experience out of those meals.”
And so at Gemini, Pierce combines inspiration from Barcelona and San Sebastian, Spain, with locally sourced ingredients. This approach results in dishes such as the champiñones (Spanish for mushrooms) off of the tapas section of the restaurant's menu. An exotic mix of mushrooms from Hazel Dell in Fort Collins are sautéed with charred scallions and topped with a perfectly cooked egg yolk. Every mushroom tastes different, so each bite varies, and the egg yolk adds richness. With just five simple ingredients, the dish is memorably tasty without weighing you down.
Tortilla de papas is a Spanish classic and another tapas offering at Gemini. Pierce's take combines eggs and potatoes cooked in a cast-iron skillet until the omelet rises and becomes fluffy. Many iterations of this dish become too heavy with garlic, but Pierce keeps it light with a garnish of fresh greens from Longmont's Oxford Gardens and an herbed aioli.
He also gets creative with specials like beef tartare served with rosemary seeded crackers. “To lighten the dish, we pickled carrots and tossed the tartare in a caraway spice mixture," Pierce explains. "This creates some acidity and freshness in a traditionally dense meal.”
Along with tapas and larger plates, Gemini serves a variety of meats and cheese, small bites, salads and sandwiches (available only during lunch). There is also a happy hour from 3 to 5 p.m. daily with deals on food, wine and cocktails.
Gemini is located at 1115 Pearl Street in Boulder and is open from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. For more information, visit geminiboulder.com.