Around the BLOCK

Geranimo in Santa Fe

Written By: Mary Bloch - Nov• 03•12

Geranimo is a veritable institution in Santa Fe. It has changed chefs over the years, but has never lost its panache or its place as one of the premier restaurants in Santa Fe…if, that is, you are looking for an upscale, non-enchilada/burrito meal.

Geranimo is in a lovely house on Canyon Road, about 2/3 of the way up this very unique art gallery-lined lane. The restaurant is much larger than it appears from the entrance; once past the pleasant sidewalk patio, diners will find several elegant rooms decorated simply with gorgeous leather chairs and banquettes, providing a lovely contrast to the white walls. Service is refined, yet not stuffy or intrusive.

Breads are homemade and unusual, including chile dotted rolls and a very moist cornbread.

The waiter knew we were celebrating a special occasion, so he brought each of us a flute of blush champagne, a very festive way to start what was to be an outstanding dining experience.

Though it was not easy to decide among the mouth-watering appetizers, we were pleased with our selections. Duo of Tuna was quite different. Though there was a somewhat traditional tartar, the other half of the preparation consisted of mini bricks of tuna that were wrapped in a crepe-like buttermilk pancake with hoisin green garlic sauce and wasabi aioli.

One of Chef Eric DiStefano’s signature dishes is a fabulous fiery chile shrimp atop an almond rice cake with yuzu basil aioli, and he serves it here as well as his other restaurant, Coyote Cafe. I had ordered a half portion for an appetizer, but after taking one bite was regretting not getting the full tower for my entree.

Other appetizers included a crab cake with dill remoulade, wasabi Caesar salad with Japanese horseradish infused dressing, and orange and pepper seared diver scallops with vanilla crepes, all beautiful to behold. Tom never met a noodle he didn’t like so he had ramen noodles with Japanese vegetables for his main course. They are billed as a side dish and are more appropriate as such; though a nice addition to a meal, the noodles were a bit bland on their own.

Though tuna and wasabi mashed potatoes is a timeworn combination dating back to the 1980s, it’s one I never tire of and this was a worthy rendition. The bok choy and watercress added a layer of texture and all the flavors played well together.

The grilled lobster tail with green chile garlic sauce over angel hair pasta has been a mainstay on the menu at both restaurants. Though it was a lovely dish, it lacked a punch that one would expect from the menu description.

The birthday celebration was topped off with a complimentary piece of dense flourless cake and four forks, and was easily rich enough for us to share without fighting over the last bite.

Geranimo is not an everyday sort of hangout, though having a drink and appetizers on the patio or in the bar would be a nice way to spend an evening without spending big bucks. I consider it the finest fine-dining restaurant in Santa Fe, having maintained its consistency and quality over the years.

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