Full disclosure: I’m not a foodie. Before coming to Yale, I had no idea what quinoa was, and with the exception of knowing that it is grain-esque, I still don’t. In other words, my palate is unrefined. However, as often as Yalies put on airs, I’m convinced there are really only half a dozen food snobs with an actually refined palate, so my opinion is probably just as good as anyone else’s.
That being said, Geronimo is a fantastic bar that serves day-making margaritas, and, coming from a Yalie that puts on airs and pretends to only enjoy whiskey and imported beer, the fact that I am willing to admit this says a lot. Unfortunately, as a restaurant Geronimo falls short.
The inside of Geronimo looks the way I imagine Urban Outfitters in the Navajo nation would, in that everything looks really expensive and like a caricature of the culture. The lighting at the bar provides a contemporary ambiance with an impressive tequila selection, if only for the bottles they came in. The bar is perfect for people like me who are impressed by liquor bottles in the shape of skulls or firearms. The restaurant played old blues that I found bizarrely charming and the large deck is enclosed and heated, creating a comfortable place to sit and enjoy the autumn weather.
My lunch had a wonderful start. My margarita came first, and for fear of spending too much time singing its praises, just know it’s good enough to rival Miya’s’s bonobo juice (if you’ve never had one, it’s their famed firecracker sake mixed with club soda and lime. It is heaven.)
If by any chance you want to grab lunch in less than an hour and a half before your class starts like I did, perhaps consider a different restaurant. Geronimo is best suited for people taking their time at meals, because the restaurant doesn’t leave you another option. Though it wasn’t crowded, I waited a half-hour after ordering to receive just the appetizers. When they did arrive, I was feeling optimistic for the rest of the meal. The young green salad had a wonderfully light dressing, and it was delicious, though I would consider just about anything with goat cheese delicious. The vegetable chili was good, but upon reflection I realized I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a dining hall’s vegetable chili and the one I was served.
After another wait — and two Dos Equis — our entrees arrived, the southwest skillet and the vegetarian platter, though the name “platter” is generous. The portions were small, but the poblano pepper was well-roasted and went nicely with the quinoa. There was a red sauce and sour cream that brought the plate together well.
The southwestern skillet had a small portion as well, and here is when I question the refinement of my palate, because I found the sauce practically inedible. The chicken was tender and extraordinarily well cooked, but I couldn’t stand the sauce they covered it in. After scraping off what I assumed was chipotle sauce (as it wasn’t listed on the menu), the chicken made for a great meal.
Geronimo does everything southwestern-themed tequila bars should do, and it does it right. The bar’s ambiance is like one of those hip spots from movies that you just wish you could go to, so it’s a great place in New Haven for 5 o’clock happy hour. But for lunch, there are better restaurants.