Friday, August 21, 2009
6 days in New Mexico: day 2 - dinner at Geronimo
My "research" for my New Mexico trip consisted of not much more than an hour on Chowhound and some Googling. Reading between the lines of the Chowhound entries (a skill I picked up compiling blurbs for the New York Zagat guide), I whittled the list of restaurants of interest to about 10 - a mix of local cheap eats and Plaza-area upscale places.
Geronimo was the first place I made a reservation. The menu looked interesting and smart (sort of Frenchie Japanese), and I read good things from a variety of sources. It's definitely on the pricey side, but well worth it.
We sat on the porch, which was charming, especially as it was a typically lovely night - cool and breezy. Our waiter was delighted to talk about wine and helped steer me to the Drouhin 06 chablis, which was a superstar. (I may have to do a post down the line about the various types of wine conversations I've had with waiters and sommeliers, which range from completely satisfying and successful, like last night's, to unbelievably rude and hostile, like the coked-out sommelier at Babbo who asked Nicole and me, "What's it going to take for you to make up your mind?")
Anyway, the food was wonderful - appetizers of seared hamachi with salad and sticky rice (in a nice theatrical move, the hamachi arrives plated and raw, and then the server pours boiling hot sesame oil over it from a Japanese tea kettle, carefully shielding you with a napkin to prevent lifelong disfigurement), and a pear and butter lettuce salad that had ridiculously delicious miniature grilled cheese sandwiches made with bleu d'Auvergne.
Entrees were green miso sea bass with house-made ramen noodles and a rich lobster and miso broth, and quail with polenta cakes and marcona almonds. Both were delish.
The restaurant has that nice reassuring feel of a place that's got it down - friendly but not goofy waitstaff, comfy chairs, good timing over the course of the meal, lots of filling-of-water-glasses and replacing-of-cutlery and so forth.
Dessert was not possible, as we were stuffed, though I did make room for a glass of 20-year-old tawny port. I was going to have dessert wine, but the waiter talked me out of it by making a very good point: most restaurants that offer dessert wine by the glass don't go through it quickly enough to ensure that you'll get a glass that's still vivid and bright. Good to know. To prove his point, he brought tastes of an ice wine and the Beringer Nightingale, and you know what? He was right: both were pretty close to simple syrup. And as you can tell from the pic, the tawny (on the left) was a hit.