Eating a Life

With George Restaurant's austere environs, the food is even more alluring

Brown says he strived for a neutral backdrop upon which to showcase his flavors with George. "The focus of the restaurant is food," he insists. "We wanted a blank canvas to work on. We want the food to be the color of the restaurant."

To this end the restaurant is done in hypermodernity: intensely neutral, ferociously clinical. The floor is planked in blond timber, but the rest of the dining room drips bright white sterility and frosted glass disinfection. The chairs, which slide perilously across the slick floor, are upholstered in white leather. White curtains frill the windows. You wonder if your order will be taken by servers or phlebotomists. If food is life, why serve it among such impotence? Stark contrasts perhaps?

Food is arguably better served in an atmosphere of dirty fecundity-- tortured woods, crimson bordello fabrics, tasseled wrought-iron lamps and garish doilies--to aid the absorption of the life it carries and the digestion thereof. George gets color from contemporary art and a two-ring binder menu with bright tabs: blue for food, an unfortunate warm pink for wine, green for desserts and purple for cocktails such as lavender cosmos. While the food is tightly composed, it is not stripped to bare essences by any means. The menu is small, with just a handful of appetizers and entrées that change frequently. But there is creamy coziness, as in the smoky grits in chanterelle broth.

George Brown tries for "clean and pure flavors" at his namesake restaurant. Mostly, he succeeds.
Tom Jenkins
George Brown tries for "clean and pure flavors" at his namesake restaurant. Mostly, he succeeds.


Lobster soup $7
Crab salad $14
Foie gras $15
Roasted chicken $22
Prime fillet $34
Lamb T-bones $32
Branzini $27
Grits $5

Lamb T-bones are crowded by firm beans, herb pistou (a sauce that often includes garlic, basil and olive oil) and balsamic. The meat is rich, satiny and slightly racy.

Yet the most impressive entrée is impressive precisely because it was stripped--or should have been. Crisped branzini (Mediterranean sea bass) is three fillets, loosely stacked. Fried capers pebble the plate. The fish is just about perfect: salty, flaky, moist, crispy. But the dish is cluttered with ham hock, its smoky intensity distracting from the clean, sublime branzini notes.

But the stated George essence is clear: Food is life (as is wine). White paint is life, too, one would suspect, though a Google search doesn't bear this out. 7709 Inwood Road, 214-366-9100. Open for dinner 5:30-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. $$$

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