TBL3 @ George’s California Modern
1250 Prospect St
La Jolla, CA 92039
Wow – let’s just say this post has been in OHT limbo for just about the entire year. I have been pessimistic to the point of not even knowing what to say anymore, because I didn’t think my words would do it any justice. Luckily, all that anyone needs to know is that my dinner at George’s in February, specifically the one at TBL3 (a spontaneous 12-to-14 course dinner prepared for one party seated at the best table in the house once a night – see details in link above), has withstood many, many wonderful meals that followed it to remain as my clear choice for favorite meal of 2014.
Chef Trey Foshee and his talented team are just firing on all cylinders when it comes to TBL3, whether it be the bright vegetarian dishes with the amazing product from Chino Farms, to the local shellfish prep with fennel butter than has become one of Chef Trey’s standbys, to the fun and creative desserts, down to a single fish taco which was my gateway drug to this man and the restaurant – this is classical and technical perfection taken to the next level by local inspiration and sourcing. This is Michelin-star level execution in a warm atmosphere, all while the kitchen is essentially serving THREE different restaurants simultaneously. The serving was befitting of a classic fine-dining institution, yet had the calm and joy that resonated with the nearby sea. And don’t even get me started on what a value TBL3 is.
Conclusion: my favorite meal of 2014, and even better than my meals at 2-Star Michelin restaurants.
Funny story – so I dined solo here, where I had been chatting with the courteous FOH and briefly with Chef Trey. When I had gotten to the last savory dish, I felt EXTREMELY FULL all of a sudden. Those of you who know me know that I can eat a lot (I did eat 36 tacos at Tacolandia this year), and all I ate beforehand were 2 tacos + appetizer at Taco Maria for lunch. But for some reason it all just weighed down on me, as if I just went 8 rounds at a Vegas buffet. So the belt got unbuckled, the shirt untucked. I even started doing stairs inside the restaurant (it’s 3 floors) between the intermezzo and dessert courses. By the time Chef Trey was sending me off I had a feeling that most of the restaurant was laughing at me – with love of course.
Northern Divine Caviar – white radish
Celeryroot – smoked apple, Buddha’s hand, Dungeness crab
Chino Farms Carrot – whey, chamomile, raisin, fresh cheese
Local Spiny Lobster – fennel butter
Black Truffle Omelet – sea urchin, hollandaise
Braised Cabbage – smoked bone marrow, crispy rice, bacon-kombu broth
Rabbit – Chino Farms asparagus, rhubarb, black trumpet mushrooms, tarragon
Pink Trout – chrysanthemum, bonito butter
Lamb – cauliflower, sage honey
Apple Celery Consomme – fennel, confit, sheep’s milk frozen yogurt
Sarsaparilla Rice Pudding – red kuri squash, madarin, curried pineapple, coconut ice milk
Peach Blossom – chocolate, marzipan