Strolling around the perimeter of The George Prime Steakhouse last Wednesday even a Bacon & Onion tart in one hand and a Cucumber Collins in the other couldn’t help me from being a little awestruck by the view.
Maybe it’s because part of the view included what promises to be a major stride forward in the local dining scene, which has been in a dead sprint toward gaining national attention over the past half decade. Friends, foodies and gourmands, this is a major, major restaurant opening. We’ve seen some big ones in the past few years, but I can’t make an argument for a bigger one in recent memory. And at long last, you can make arrangements to be a part of it.
You can now call 242-4761 to book a reservation for dinner and you can even show up for a seat at the bar unannounced. That’s right, it’s real — and based on the cocktail party I attended on Wednesday, it’s spectacular.
Wednesday’s event was a bit of controlled chaos unleashed upon the brand-new staff, which handled the occasion with aplomb. Chef Josh Valentine’s kitchen staff pumped out samples of the first full-scale menu Valentine has written since competing on Bravo’s “Top Chef” back in 2012-13. He did spend a little time as pastry chef for white-hit FT-33 in Dallas before returning to Oklahoma City last spring, just in time to take the scepter as king of the new kitchen atop Founders Tower.Wednesday night’s samples included a crab cake with fennel mayo that showed incredible promise. The samples were about the size of a tater tot. With a little foresight, I would worn deep-pocketed trousers to hoard them like Napoleon Dynamite hoards tots. A spoonful of Carolina Gold Rice, which includes lobster, cauliflower and pecans, had my barely pescatarian wife a-swoon for another spoon. Wedge salad samples included a tiny gondola of romaine topped with house-made blue cheese and chef Valentine’s signature candied bacon. (Oh, Candied Bacon Sticky Bun where are you?) The Bacon & Onion Tart was a blissful bite in a modern-comfort-food-meets-classic-technique kind of way. And the aforementioned Cucumber Collins was perfectly balanced and dangerously delicious.
The night was a major success for the staff, but no one should be more proud than owner Kevin George, who has endured a succession of bad luck you wouldn’t buy if someone tried to sell it to you in a script. This veteran restaurant operator weathered all these travails to bring Oklahoma City a spectacular dining experience. I haven’t had a chance to dine properly yet, but the preview showed a future bright enough to not only show the way forward but perhaps even cast a little light on the dark The George had to find its way through over the past 18 months.
The George will unveil lunch service later this summer. For now, you’ll have to settle for dinner and the bar. A Chef’s Table outside the kitchen window, intimate two-tops along the north edge of the space and low-lying horseshoe booths offer spectacular views. The restaurant also has an enormous private dining room equipped for small banquets and presentations.
This is just the beginning for The George and for our coverage of its opening. The city has established its affinity for fine foods via food trucks, now you’ve got your chance to ramp that passion up — way up.