The tallest and most central figure behind the wicker screens that divide Georgie’s serious kitchen from its swank dining room is R.J. Yoakum, Georgie’s new executive chef with more than three years’ experience at one of America’s most awarded restaurants: the French Laundry. Yoakum’s formal training began at the Culinary Institute of America at Hyde Park (where he played basketball), and he later staged at the Clove Club, a Michelin-starred restaurant in London. At Georgie, he’s upping the competition for best chef in Dallas with dishes that appear straightforward on the menu, but come presented in dramatic, unexpected ways. Our French onion consommé with sweet caramelized onions under a sturdy, yet spoonable piece of pain perdu came covered with a dome of whipped Gruyère and was finished tableside with brown butter-onion bouillon. Almost resembling a savory dessert, it was an extremely complex and interesting bowl of “soup.” Our pastrami-inspired roasted coulotte with two slender, highly marbled cuts from the sirloin tip was drizzled in a tangy, lick-able mustard gastrique. The sides that lent creamy and crunchy diversions to the rich plate included caraway smoked crème fraîche, slivers of pickled carrots, and crisped leaves of Brussels sprouts “confetti.” In contrast, our side of sweet potato puree was delightfully simple, topped with shavings of dehydrated sweet potato and chives. The final curtain we won’t soon forget was the fancy candy bar with a salted, soft chocolate ganache and a quenelle of banana–white chocolate ice cream.
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Dallas has a young new chef in town who’s no stranger to competitive excellence.