416-863 6006 | $19-28 per course (reco 3 courses)
When you talk fine dining in Toronto, inevitably George comes up in the conversation. It’s been a staple in the scene since 2004 and you don’t see very many reviews/mentions anymore, but trust that this place is still humming. As part of our Dish Duel tasting, we took a stroll over to see what George is all about.
Having gone through and selected a bunch (along with some nice amuse-bouches), it’s clear the menu is specifically designed for you to have a first, second, and third dish from a portion perspective. There’s also a number of tasting menus we were told are their specialty…we left that for another day.
First we were brought a mussel amuse (above) over avocado with some quinoa and mango. Solid mix of textures with the crisp over top, grittier quinoa and soft mango/avocado. Nice and clean start.
The other amuse mirrored the first in many ways, with tuna crudo instead of mussel. Again very clean flavours executed well to start of the meal.
The light and clean continued with George’s Dish Duel entry, a first that I suppose you could consider a ‘salad’ if you were generalizing. Here’s how I described it for the tournament:
First thing you notice: this is a beautifully presented first dish in your meal at George. It’s also light, clean and quite balanced. Very pleasant mix of textures from the chunks of crab, to the juicy oranges, and soft bruleed avocado. Would recommend it as a nice start to your progression of dishes for sure. Only thing is that you aren’t likely to find any really bold flavours - the blend may be too good for those looking for a more assertive dish.
Next we were greeted by a special dish (thanks kitchen!) of arctic char wrapped in potato with mandarin orange segments and a basil gelee. I’m getting a little tired of saying “ooooh, nice and clean, looks great” by this point. Looking for something a little more bold, sinful.
Next was the black cod topped with carrot foam over a lobster farro (above). The fish was tender and flaky aka cooked perfectly. Not sure there were any real assertive flavours, but it was really pleasant with the carrot and lobster.
To finish the savoury side, we went with the venison, citrus spaezle and medjool dates. I think this was the most flavourful of our dishes with the specific emphasis on the use of the dates and the variety of ingredients and textures on the plate. The little toothpick decorative piece added height, but I didn’t see the need for it.
This amuse was a pear creme brulee with a little crisp over top. Again, the right touch of sweet and a good mix of textures. Sort of reminded me of the dessert version of the scallop amuse.
To end our extensive meal, we were looking for an emphatic topper. We looked through the desserts, couldn’t really pick and said surprise us. Apparently this was a green light for the pastry chef (who are you btw!?) to put on a chocolate show. The beignets were killer, that super dark chocolate gelato up front was great, the brownie on right was yum and blood oranges along with pomegranate seeds throughout made this the best $20 I’ve ever dropped on dessert.
Service and Ambience
Plain and simple the service here is top notch. There’s a seeming excess of staff ready to help you out from your main server, to supplementary staff that explain every detail of the amuses. There’s also a very extensive wine menu with a Sommelier that always seems to have a bottle in his hand (like a symbol or something, it was actually amusing).
George is still one of the better fine-dining choices in the city. If you’re looking for a classy night out with some really well-plated and well-executed food, this is the spot for you. What I was missing for most of the meal was the ‘oomph’, fat, sin, edge, and spice. Thankfully dessert delivered =D
Posted by: Jacob, Visited Feb 10, 2012