First, I am a SF resident and eat out frequently. This town is a gastronomical dream. So many great restaurants, so much variety. I thought I'd share some of my takes here.
The other day, I went to Geronimo. It is a bit of a fixture on Canyon Road, up by el Farol (one of my favs) and The Compound. I had been there once many years ago, and have not gone back since. When last there, the service was horrible - slow and snooty. While the food was ok, it was not the experience I would pay the kind of prices they were looking for.
Well, I decided to give it another try. After all, it has been quite a while.
Let me start off by saying the service has not changed. If you are one of those people who feel you are only getting your monies worth if you are in a stuffy and snooty environment, then this is the place for you. I normally eat out at a very nice restaurant about once a week, so this was not a "special" meal for me. I like to feel comfortable and welcome - I was not. But let's move on to the food. Good food can easily overcome a poor experience or a bad night for the wait-staff.
I had the Oven Roasted Organic "Harvest Hills" Bobwhite Quail - Fresh Washington Cherries, Savory Brioche Stuffing and Kirshwasser Demi-Glace. It sounded great on the menu. I love quail and have had it a number of times from NYC (where I'm from) to Napa (one of my other fave foodie towns). This was dry and tasteless. In fact the entire presentation reminded me of a bad 1950's Thanksgiving dinner. Overly sweet and lacking in any finesse and subtlety. The "brioche" stuffing tasted as if it came out of a box and the cherries with the "Kirshwasser Demi-Glace" was one note with a cherries on cherries approach.
The other diners I was with had similar experiences. The salmon was uninspired and the Couscous "Risotto" explains why the word risotto was in quotes. Not very good. Though the steaks were done to the proper temp, they lacked anything exciting about the dish (if you want a great steak in town, head to the Inn of the Anasazi!).
The after dinner discussion concluded that they spent more time on thinking up the descriptions of the menu items then on the menu items themselves. Boring and old-fashioned food were the common threads of discussion. Nothing to see here, move along. Over-priced and un-exciting - not worth returning.
One upside was the dessert. I am a dessert person - sorry. While most of my friends had coffee, I had to indulge. Now, the dessert menu is less than exciting - pretty much the standard flour-less chocolate, cheesecake, and crème brulee that every other restaurant has. I had a plate of little desserts. Don't remember what they called it on the menu (it is not listed on-line), but it was by far the high-light of the night. Outstanding! My one friend is a crème brulee nut, so had the Toasted Almond Crème Brule - Fig Pinwheel Cookies. Again, a bit old-fashioned. The cookies were a bit too much and reminded me of the cookie you used to get with your ice-cream at the Friendly's restaurant. On a scale of 1-10 the crème brulee was a 6-7 - executed well, but pretty standard.
So, suffice it to say there is not enough interesting here to warrant me adding Geronimo to my list of "regular" restaurants. Seems to be a lot of "flash" and little substance. If you do go, the deserts are the highlight, so leave room.
Note: Trip Advisor rates this restaurant as #7 of 427 in Santa Fe. I don't see how. For me it wouldn't break the top 100. Hopefully I will be able to review more and more in the coming weeks.
Please add your own review of Geronimo below. I welcome everyone to share their experiences!
(Checking the restaurant thread on this forum I see that in 2006-2008 Geronimo's received some excellent recommendations from residents. I can only conclude that it has lost a bit of it's luster since then. I hope it can recover and bring it's menu in-line with some of the other excellent venues in town. Great location.)