Read about the Artful Diner's holiday dining 2009 at georges.....
503 West Lancaster
Note 2013: georges' closed and a new restaurant has reopoened at this location: Peppercorn The Artful Diner will be posting a review in the near future.
Georges Perrier is something of a legend in these parts... certainly as well known for his mercurial personality as he is for his culinary prowess. Be that as it may, however, his long-running Le Bec-Fin remains at the very top of the Philadelphia food chain, while his Table 31 has settled comfortably into the Comcast Center and Mia continues to woo the high rollers in AC. .
georges', however, his Main Line outpost, has always been something of an oddity on several counts. Right from the get-go, Mr. Perrier engaged in a spirited version of The Name Game - waffling from Le Mas Perrier to Le Mas& finally, thankfully, settling on georges' with a small "g." In addition, there has also been a decidedly energetic exercise in "Musical Chefs." Needless to say, all this semantic and sybaritic shuffling had a less than laudatory effect upon the cuisine, which, apparently, couldn't quite decide what it wanted to be when it grew up.
Fortunately, with Joseph Frost assuming the reins of
executive chef, Mr. Perrier has finally settled on the proper character of georges'
cuisine -- sophisticated bistro fare with international flair -- and has zeroed
in on his target audience. In addition to appealing to the usual gaggle of
well-to-do globe-trotting gastronomes, he has also made a concerted effort to
woo the local hoi polloi with a lively bar scene that features scads of
free hors d'oeuvres, reduced drink tariffs, and reasonably priced individual
pizzas ($9.00), burgers, cheesesteaks, and French dips ($12.00).
Fortunately, many of those problems have been somewhat ameliorated. Jeremy Duclut is now the executive chef, and Mr. Perrier has finally settled on the proper character of georges' cuisine - sophisticated bistro fare with international flair - and has also zeroed in on his target audience. In addition to appealing to the usual gaggle of well-to-do globe-trotting gastronomes, he has also made a concerted effort to woo the local hoi polloi with a lively bar scene featuring scads of free hors d'oeuvres, reduced drink tariffs, and reasonably priced individual pizzas, burgers, cheese steaks, and French dips.
This nifty arrangement presents diners with two positive dining options: They may make reservations and settle in one of the rustic dining rooms, or make an impromptu appearance and elect to dine in the spacious bar area on less expensive, casual fare.
Among the starters, the plump and succulent mussels teamed with chorizo sausage ($10.00) are excellent. On the other hand, the retro iceberg wedge with buttermilk blue cheese dressing ($10.00) is good but not exceptional and the restaurant's take on classic Caesar salad ($9.00) is no more than ordinary.
Entrées do tend to pick up the pace a notch... although, the simpler the better. Both the steak ($24.00) and chicken ($21.00) frites are first-rate. And, among the casual fare, the Black Angus burger teamed with Gruyere cheese and caramelized onion ($14.00) is everything it should be (my only gripe is that it arrived garnished with two meager slices of Styrofoam tomato and fatigued raw red onion rings)& ditto the various incarnations of brick oven pizza ($10.00 - $14.00).
Conversely, when it comes to matters piscatorial, I have always been of the opinion that fish dishes are best served by sauces that intrude the least. In other words, the less gussied up the better. Not so here. While the various species are obviously at the peak of good health, I find their accompaniments entirely too convoluted for my taste: roasted Atlantic salmon sabotaged by a rather odd orange-saffron glaze ($27.00); wild striped bass set on a seabed of basil-pesto potato purée ($29.00); and a special halibut filet drowned beneath an ill-conceived creamed corn concoction.
Desserts, on the other hand, are a high point; so don't be shy about sacrificing either the additional long green or the extra calories. The house-made ice creams and sorbets ($6.00) are superb. I would also highly recommend the streusel apple tart with vanilla ice cream ($8.00) and the white chocolate-cherry bread pudding with almond crunch ice cream & rum anglaise.
Apart from several stumbles on the part of the cuisine, my other misgiving revolves around what I perceive as matters of sanitary consideration - or the lack thereof. One cannot quite shake the feeling, for instance, that the dining rooms could use a bit more spit and polish. And the restrooms, even at 5:00 p.m., when they should be positively pristine in preparation for the dinner onslaught, are significantly less than spotless - and that is, for a restaurant of this caliber, totally unacceptable.
I have dined at this restaurant on numerous occasions - through several name changes and coups in the kitchen - not even counting the sundry preprandial libations enjoyed at the convivial bar/lounge on the way from here to there - and certainly count it among my favorite casual culinary stopovers/watering holes. Certain gastronomic and hygienic disappointments notwithstanding, georges' appears to have the innate ability to woo diners back again and again... and again - and that is a rare gift, indeed.
The Artful Diner
Diner is an independent, freelance food writer. His latest review and an archive of past reviews for restaurants around the country and the world can be found on this site on the REVIEWS page.
Want to receive e-mail notification when a new review or article is posted? E-mail Artful Diner!