Georges California Modern

by Rodzilla on June 23, 2011 · 5 comments

I first learned of Georges Modern while still living in Pittsburgh. I had marveled at the custom tasting executive chef Trey Foshee had prepared for ChuckEats way before I ever planned to move to San Diego. I would love say I ran a similar gauntlet of courses – I did not. I’m not quite that established of a diningsaur just yet. What I can tell you is about a more common experience at Georges, which isn’t necessarily common anywhere else.

A quick note on service: it was among the best I’ve had. Course timing was perfect, and glasses were never empty. At one point, a dropped utensil was replaced so quickly that the original the ground.

The view is amazing, the entire back wall of the modern dining area is comprised of large glass windows overlooking the ocean. Our party arrived at sunset and dined beyond it, as the lighting in the photos will show.

House Bread - Salts

The bread basket arrived with a trio of salts. A sole bread offering may appear like an afterthought, but I had to restrain myself from filling up on the fully flavored multi-grain and smoked sea salt.

Date Salad - arugula, goats cheese, walnuts, pomegranate vinaigrette

Meaty dates and walnuts provided some substance to the otherwise delicate salad. The pomegranate dressing was very sweet and paired particularly well with the slight tang from the goat cheese.

Smoked Foie - pickled plum puree, beets, marinated kombu

I much prefer seared foie as opposed to terrine or pate  but I still enjoyed this.  The presentation highlighted the lighter more delicate side of foie. A hint of smoky salinity, to go along with the sugary plum puree and large beat sections.

Fish Tacos

The menu description notes, “hard to explain, just try it” and I would suggest anyone visiting does. Having been featured on Food Network’s Best Thing I ever Ate, this is a dish the restaurant is known for, and it did not disappoint.

Smoked Eggplant - ricotta fritters, zucchini artichoke salad

Moving on to entrees, this was an item from the vegetarian side of the menu. The ricotta fritters were main component of the dish, a crisp outer shell which led way to a light ricotta interior. The smoked eggplant was actually found in the base emulsion, which added an extra savory note when paired with the milder ricotta.

 

Local Yellowtail - carrot-miso puree, bok choy, tangerine butter

This yellowtail arrived just seared and perfectly rare. The supporting elements to go with the flaky, buttery fish reminded me of some of my favorite meals. The carrot-miso puree was as authentic a carrot flavor as the one I had at Salt of the Earth. Next, the unlisted honshemeji mushrooms, which became a favorite after I first tried them at Notion. A standout regardless of the fond memories.

 

Maine Lobster Seafood Stew - toasted pasta, marcona almonds, orange aioli

Our waiter mentioned there was only one stew left for the evening – of course it was ordered. The picture above does not show the sheer size of the dish, with enough seafood to represent a quarter of the pacific (lobster, mussels, shrimp) and all of it expertly prepared. Whole marcona almonds added a great texture to the more supple pearl pasta, and the sweet creamy orange aioli meddled the slight tang from the tomato broth.

 

Peanut Butter Rice Pudding - bananas, crispy wild rice, graham cracker streusel, cocoa crumbs, roasted banana sorbet

With the components listed I was expecting a knockout. But this was one actually did not turn out to be particularly memorable. The crispy rice was a bit too hard, and I didn’t get a particularly strong flavor from any of the components.

 

Cardamom Doughnuts & Dip - pistachio whipped cream, pineapple- curry marmalade, vanilla-rose syrup, white chocolate-saffron sauce

Doughnuts were much more successful. The dessert would have been fine if the pillowy light pastries were served solo, but the “make your own” set-up took it to another level.  I’m not ashamed to say I finished any left over accompaniments with my spoon, and probably would have drank the rose water if the waiter had not cleared the table (kidding..almost).

Parting shots

I think I’ve mentioned my propensity for catastrophic thinking before, but worst fear was that for such a popular restaurant, the common experience at Georges would turn out to be a tourist trap. An upper-echelon, cookie-cutter steak and seafood spot with a nice view. I know I’ve mentioned before that I worry far, far too much. Perhaps the most innovative dishes are seen at an exclusive Chef’s table (and I do hope to get there) but ordering a la carte is an experience in itself, and one I highly recommended.

George's At The Cove on Urbanspoon

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 ChuckEats

wait for my next review – and the code will be revealed

2 Jess

Those fish tacos look exquisite…and strange! What fantastic preparation and surprising elements in each of your dishes. Bummer about the banana pudding. I probably would have gravitated toward that myself.

3 Kirbie

I’ve always enjoyed the food here. The only problem I have is that it is a very slow paced experience. Every meal I’ve had ends up being a few hours and I get a little impatient.

4 Rodzilla

Chuck – I’m flattered that you wold comment. I’ve been looking forward to it ever since reading you were back in SD.

Jess – the fish tacos were a lot of fun. I was let down myself, but the doughnuts made up for it.

Kirbie – It definitely is a slower pacing, but I wouldn’t expect most diners choosing the Modern for a quick dinner. You’re right though, if making a reservation, I think you should expect the meal to be the event for the evening.

5 Lily

We miss you being in Pittsburgh area! – Lily & Kate (and Jake)

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