My mom and I have the same birthday and wanted to go somewhere for a nice dinner rather than get presents for each other, so this year we chose George. George is located on Queen East, where executive chef Lorenzo Loseto invents modern classics with a focus on fish and seafood. The interior of George, like the food, is a mix of classic and contemporary – beautiful hardwood floors and exposed brick walls, meet modern light fixtures and furniture. One thing I really liked was that though the overall lighting was dim, the tables were very well lit so I could see (and photograph) all the food.
My mom and I both went with the 7-course tasting meal with wine pairings and it was quite the ride. We were each presented with different courses and wines, meaning we got to sample 14 different plates and wines. Let’s see how good my memory is.
My amuse bouche was a red hot pepper with sweet ricotta. It was served with a sparkling Crémant du Jura.
My mom’s amuse was cauliflower flan with fingerling potato chips. I think we both had the same wine for this course.
My first course was a swordfish tataki served with beet puree, beet sashimi and pumpkin seeds. It was served with a 2014 Fred Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner. The flavours of this dish were subtle but delicious. Everything was so fresh tasting and bright.
My mom’s first course was smoked trout, winter greens, russian fennel, kale, and pomegranate. It was served with Aphros Loureiro 2013. Whereas my dish was delicate, this one was much more bold.
My second course was octopus sashimi with fresh and roasted carrots and pears. It was served with a 2014 Seven Hills Pinot Grigio. I haven’t eaten a ton of octopus, but when I have I’ve found it tough. Slicing it thinly like this really solved that problem. This was a great dish, and I loved all the different textures and flavours brought out in the carrots using the different preparations.
Mom got poached lobster with heirloom tomatoes and red quinoa. It was served with Terre de Pierre.
My third course was a dungeness crab cake with olive tapenade. It was served with Neyers Chardonnay 304, from Sonoma. This was amazing. The crab was sandwiched between two ultra thin pieces of pastry. The salt from the tapenade and caviar offset the rich crab meat so well.
Mom’s third course was fingerling potato wrapped tuna with carrot and salsa. The wine was Olho de Mocho Reserva 2013. Isn’t this a beautiful plate of food? Such lovely colours. This dish was a real standout, the tuna was perfect and the coating (how do you even wrap tuna in potato?) was divine.
My fourth course was fried sweetbreads with foie gras, mushroom and apple. It was served with La Solana Listan negro. Delicious. The sweetbreads had the most delicate coating with just the right amount of salt.
I have to say, the servers did a great job with deciding who got which plate. Each course that came out, I got the dish I thought I’d prefer set in front of me. With this one it was especially obvious as my mom is not a sweetbread fan, while I think they’re delicious.
My mom got partridge with foie gras, artichoke puree and a coconut crepe. The wine was Mas du Soleilla, Les Chailles 2011.
My fifth course was lamb with brussel sprouts and olives, served with Storybook Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010. This was the one dish where my mom and I traded, as this was originally given to her. I love lamb and this was perfectly rare and the olives really complemented its strong flavour.
The other plate was beef tenderloin with mushrooms and hollondaise. The wine was Quinta dos Termos Tinto. This was also stellar, with beef that almost melted in my mouth.
For my cheese course I got a cows milk cheese with mango pepper jam. This was a harder cheese and reminded me a bit of Manchego. It was very good. Rather than wine, it was served with beer – Trapistes Rochefort 8. Though I’m not generally a beer fan, this strong, dark ale was delicious.
My mom got a goat milk cheese from Quebec with mango chutney. It was served with Louis de Lauriston, Pommeau de Normandie. Pommeau de Normandie is a delicious blend of apple cider and calvados brandy. I was really impressed with the pairings for the cheese course, it was nice to have a break from wines.
My dessert was an Earl Grey crème brûlée, served with a crumb, pomegranate seeds and lovely little pastries. This dish felt tailor made for me, everything was perfect. The creme brulee was so smooth with just the thinnest of sugar crust on top of each lovely little round. It was served with a fortified wine – 1986 Gran Reserva PX Bodegas To Albala.
My mom’s dessert was a chocolate cheesecake with chocolate ganache, pear and persimmon compote. Very rich.
Overall, my meal at George was outstanding. Every dish was a hit, and the sommelier made some inspired pairing choices. The service was great, with a particular shout out to the wonderful bartender. I’d love to go back to George again and see what they have to offer during another season.