Izakaya Geronimo takes you from dinner and drinks to the dance floor

OCTOBER 27, 2022

American paratroopers jumping out of airplanes as a means of deployment was a new concept back in the mid-1940s. Legend has it, one soldier told his friends that to prove he wasn’t scared to jump out, he would shout “Geronimo.” The word has since become an exclamation of bravery.

Opening a sprawling 470-square-meter restaurant and bar concept in the heart of BGC is akin to jumping from extreme heights, compelling one to shout Geronimo! Its owners, the Clavano brothers (LA, Mico, and Lui), Yoji Kitayama, and Carlo Alvarez (the same guys behind Wagyu Studio), wanted to bring a fresh and contemporary iteration of a Japanese izakaya to the BGC scene. 

“People that go out are prioritizing more than just food nowadays,” co-owner Alvarez says. “The dining experience is a combination of the food, the feel, the vibe, the music, all of that are taken into account.”

Arrival of Izakaya Geronimo

Izakaya Geronimo: Pull up at the sushi bar for expertly crafted sushi rolls and sashimi
Pull up at the sushi bar for expertly crafted sushi rolls and sashimi

A typical izakaya in Japan (think Netflix’s “Midnight Diner”) usually has seating around a single bar facing the chef, serving sake and food. Entering Izakaya Geronimo reveals a bar lined with swiveling wooden chairs and a curved ceiling of shiny gold. Bottles of premium sake ranging from traditional Hakurakusei to fruitier, colorful Tsuru Ume are displayed in chillers. Geronimo’s servers can guide guests in choosing the perfect artisanal sake to pair with the different dishes they serve.

Japanese chic made modern
Japanese chic made modern

The main dining area has couch seating and semiprivate seating for bigger parties. For those who want to get front row seats of the kitchen action, you can sit at the sushi bar—where they serve sashimi and temaki—or at the ramen-ya where the noodles are made in-house. Its kitchen is headed by chefs Erik Idos and Yoji Kitayama. “We’d like our food to be fun and familiar, but with an elegant twist,” Kitayama says. 

There’s always a surprise in store

Small snacks are available such as the potato salad and crispy shirauo. The potato salad is unassuming but contains chunky flavorful bites of bacon within and topped with crispy shallots and a creamy ajitama egg. The crispy shirauo meanwhile are breaded, fried whitebait fish served with spiced mayonnaise topped with toasted sesame seeds.

The Filet O Fish is their take on a fish fillet sandwich underlined by takana pickles and mentaiko roe
The Filet O Fish is their take on a fish fillet sandwich underlined by takana pickles and mentaiko roe

Premium ingredients air-flown from Japan guarantee beautiful bites full of flavor. Those who enjoy sashimi are in for a treat as a variety of seafood is available—fatty bluefin tuna, octopus, scallop, and sea urchin. These may also be ordered as platters for an assortment. The layu tuna dish has cubes of raw tuna sitting on a garlic chili oil and topped with crushed cucumbers, cilantro, and onion. 

Temaki or hand-rolled sushi is also eaten using your hands. Geronimo’s versions are formed like small tacos with its fillings masterfully crafted on top. The shrimp tempura temaki is topped with a creamy, spiced sauce, with its tempura lending a wonderful crunch to each bite. 

There are plenty of shareable small plates to choose from, too
There are plenty of shareable small plates to choose from, too
Izakaya Geronimo temakis
A trio of temakis

Moveable feasts

As you walk through to the other end of Izakaya Geronimo, you’ll notice that the wooden floors get darker and the windows become tinted. This designates the main lounge area that features a 16 x 9 projection of custom animation and a working bar. Izakaya Geronimo also has a keg system that keeps not only beer chilled and fresh but cocktails as well. A DJ in the loft above plays songs during weekends and during night service, bar stools are removed to make way for a dance floor. 

“Within our social circle, our friends and colleagues are always on the lookout for something to do and places to go, which aren’t just a restaurant or a club. We imagine Izakaya Geronimo to be a place you can go for dinner, pre- game, and end-game all in one,” adds Lui Clavano.

Erik Idos and Yoji Kitayama of Izakaya Geronimo
Erik Idos and Yoji Kitayama

Diners can easily move into the lounge area after dinner for a fun night out with friends. A private room that can comfortably seat 10 is also available and guests can play their own music there.

Geronimo head chef Idos believes that this combination of good food, ambiance and music is unbeatable. “With good music and a nice vibe, great food and drinks round up an overall memorable meal you can keep coming back to.”

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