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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.