The hook on the restaurant website says, “Begin with an elevator ride to the fourth floor—that’s when the Geraldine’s buzz starts to kick in.” As I walk into Hotel Van Zandt off Rainey Street and those elevator doors close behind me, I do indeed start feeling the vibe. The vibe of fancy life.
When the elevator doors open, I find myself in a dimly lit space that makes me forget it’s lunch time and I am here for an interview. I wish I could sit at the bar and say something like, “Pour me some whiskey, sugar” to the bartender. Not that I like whiskey or have ever said anything so glamorous in my life.
The Geraldine’s menu includes items that may sound intimidating: corn yaki cake with tonkatsu sauce and bonito salad; bourbon glazed cauliflower with pistachio gremolata; and Akaushi steak frites.
So it’s surprising to meet Stephen Bonin, the man behind these creations, and realize he’s one of the most down-to-earth, humble chefs I’ve ever [Read more…]