I still can’t believe that it is 2014, and halfway through January already. But you know what that means: San Diego Restaurant Week is almost here! From January 19-24, over 180 restaurants will be offering special menus – $10, $15, or $20 for lunch, and $25, $35, or $45 for dinner. This year, I was invited to a sneak preview of the Restaurant Week experience at George’s California Modern in La Jolla. S has visited George’s once a couple of years ago and really loved it, and I was really looking forward to the meal.
George’s California Modern is the fine-dining restaurant in the George’s at the Cove group, all located in the same building in downtown La Jolla. Upstairs is George’s Ocean Terrace, a rooftop dining spot with a beautiful view, and downstairs is George’s Bar, featuring both indoor and outdoor seating.
We were lucky to get a table by the window. By the time we arrived, the sun had already set, but the dusk sky was still lovely. I can imagine dining here during sunset would be awesome. Sorry for the terrible picture with all the restaurant light reflections, though.
Given the wonderful atmosphere, we couldn’t resist ordering a couple of cocktails (Huh? What do those have to do with each other? Haha. Okay, I think we just wanted to try the cocktails).
Left: Sea Dew Collins [$12]; Right: virgin Xolo [$5]
S tried the Sea Dew Collins: Stolichnaya vodka, rosemary infusion, Punt E Mes vermouth, and lemon. It was this restaurant’s version of the Tom Collins, I believe – he really enjoyed it. I’m too lightweight when it comes to drinks, so I ordered a virgin Xolo: grapefruit, agave syrup, Gran Centenario Anejo (omitted for the virgin version), and black salt rim. Basically, grapefruit juice, hehe. I liked it, though – especially drinking from the rim so that you get the salty-sweet mix, and I imagine that the alcoholic version would be sweeter with the tequila. It was a bit too tart for S.
Complimentary bread & butter
After taking our orders, we were presented with some warm, pre-sliced baguette bread. I loved the rustic crust on the bread and wanted to eat the whole loaf, but had to restrain myself…
12-flavors seasoned salt; sea salt; fresh black pepper
We were also given a tray of seasonings, which confused us at first because I thought it was given to us to eat with the bread. Haha.
Anyway, we decided to try three appetizers from the Restaurant Week menu offerings:
Japanese Hamachi; frozen cucumber meringue, finger lime, smoked ginger-soy gel [add'l $4]
If I had to pick one word to describe this dish, I would say “refreshing.” The hamachi was fresh, and the cucumber meringue was a perfect, light accompaniment. The finger limes were my favorite part, though – they were crunchy and had really brightened up the entire dish. Tying it all together was the smoked ginger-soy sauce, which added some salt and depth of flavor to the light ingredients.
Beets; dilled cured golden trout, crème fraîche, juniper
Beets are one of my favorite veggies – I love the bright colors and earthy taste. Here, beets and beet purée were paired with cured trout and trout roe – a combo that I never would have thought would work, but it turned out quite nicely because the trout’s saltiness brought out the sweetness of the beets.
Soft Egg; onion compote, chanterelles, parsnip foam, brassicas [add'l $2]
When I saw the soft egg and
chanterelles on the menu I knew I had to try it – two of my favorite things in one dish. This was my absolute favorite. The egg was cooked perfectly – runny yolk with the whites just barely
solidified and holding it together.
The chanterelles were really nice, as were the roasted leafy greens (I believe there was kale, Brussels sprouts, and maybe some purple kohlrabi), which provided a nice crunch to contrast with the soft egg and parsnip foam. I actually couldn’t taste much the parsnip, but the foam was more of a creamy purée.
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