The Statesman’s Matthew Odam is back with a write-up of Hotel Van Zandt’s flagship restaurant/music venue/bar Geraldine’s. In light of Austin’s newly minted reputation as a "hotel town," the goal of any new hotel, Odam explained, should be to "feel like Austin to Austinites and communicate what the city is about to those who only know it by reputation." That in lies the problem with Geraldine’s.
Much like the restaurant’s aesthetic where rustic charm meets sophistication, the menu achieves "Texas comfort with an artisanal twist befitting Austin’s current culinary ethos." Think barbecued short rib with edamame-jalapeño, pickled carrots, cucumbers and furikake.
But when Odam looked beyond the palate-pleasing food, he found Geraldine’s may be overly ambitious in its attempt to be too many things to too many people. The result? Service that deteriorated, plus disruptive bar activity, which earned it a 7 out of 10 in overall experience:
[...] I started to feel like the guest in room 327 and not a valued customer at a stand-alone restaurant. And, while the ruby-centered coffee-rubbed wagyu ($28) almost melted in my mouth, I wanted more than two small medallions. Suddenly the kitchen was starting to make me feel like a tourist as well, a danger you can run into at a place I was told several times serves more out-of-towners than locals.
Over at The Austin Chronicle, Brandon Watson broke down interpretations of okonomiyaki—a Japanese savory pancake—from two Austin hot spots with his Food Fight column. He found The Peached Tortilla’s version includes a less traditional addition of bacon, which he applauded as adding depth. Komé’s dish (described as Kansai style) is slightly more classic with a filling of shrimp, squid and cuttlefish, plus a creaminess which "differentiates itself from similar versions around town," according to Watson. The verdict: a tie.
We’re sorry. We just refuse to choose. Peached Tortilla's creative take has the thickness and flavor balance right, while Komé’s price and bonito explosion can’t be beat.
- Geraldine’s serves as snazzy postcard for Austin, smudges and all [Statesman]
- AC Food Fight: Okonomiyaki [Chronicle]