Story by Sarah Murphy Robertson
George’s at Alys Beach is known for their exquisite entrees, but I recommend you always remember to order from their appetizer, salad, and dessert menus too. Start to finish, their courses are complex and thoroughly composed. I have three new favorites to highlight this week in Dishes of 30A.
Oysters are a popular starter at restaurants along the gulf coast, however George’s at Alys Beach is taking them to new heights. To begin, these plump oysters are fried golden and seasoned perfectly. They are served on a sweet corn creamed puree which is prepared using thyme and shallots. The dish is topped with bacon-crisped kale and a citrus slaw. Using rendered bacon to flavor kale is ingenious and the result is airy, crispy and melts in your mouth. The slaw’s crunch and acidity balances out the richness of both the fried oysters and the corn puree. To be clear, I can’t sing its praises enough; this is a thoughtful and excellent appetizer.
Sometimes salad courses can be routine, but George’s at Alys Beach’s Artisan Baby Greens version is anything but commonplace. This bowl is a study in monochromatic beauty. We all know we eat with our eyes first, and visually this salad’s multiple green-hued ingredients are lovely. Made with the freshest available baby greens from Covey Rise Farms, avocado, scallions, and green garbanzo beans, this dish is also texturally-sound. The house-crafted Green Goddess dressing is creamy and herbaceous – made with lemon, anchovy, basil, and garlic. The salad is finished with fresh parmesan and with every forkful it is evident: George’s Chef Camille Withall takes great ingredients and allows them to shine together as one. This dish is big enough to share, although you might find yourself fighting for the last bite.
Taking a childhood favorite and elevating every component, summarizes George’s latest dessert menu offering, Campfire Nutella S’mores. The tart itself is the richest Nutella ganache nestled in a crust that is buttery and crunchy and made with both crushed graham crackers and finely chopped hazelnuts. This beauty could stand alone, but it wouldn’t be s’mores without marshmallow. So the tart cozies up to a toasted, charred marshmallow meringue and the combination is smoky, sweet, and decadent. Take my word for it: save room for this dessert when you go to George’s.