Ever since my wife and I’s trip to France several years ago, we have longed for a restaurant in Wichita that specializes in traditional French cooking. Finally, with the recent addition of George’s French Bistro, there is a place to get our crepe and escargot fix. Apparently we were not the only ones excited about French food in town, because Georges has been all the rage and one of the harder places to get a table since its opening.
While the location at Central and Oliver in the old Bella Luna space does not exactly remind you of a Parisian avenue overlooking the Seine, they serve Nutella crepes so I can deal with it. The interior of George’s has a classy ambiance that strikes a comfortable balance between casual and upscale. The open seating and kitchen area make the noise level higher than some places, so a quiet date night place it is not.
After getting asked by numerous people if I had been to George’s yet, Steph and I took advantage of spring break last week to make a lunch visit. Even at 11:30 on a weekday, the tables were quickly filling up. In keeping with European tradition a bottle of chilled water and glasses sans ice were bought out to us as we looked over our menus. Unfortunately escargot are not on the lunch menu, but there were plenty of other unique dishes to choose from. The appetizer’s included mac and cheese, smoked salmon, and truffle fries. There were several hearty salads to
choose from and judging by the plates we saw coming out of the kitchen, they were popular items, probably so diners wouldn’t feel so guilty about ordering a dessert. Of course the classic French Onion soup is on the menu as well as several savory crepes, and a nice selection of sandwiches, including the famous Croque Madame. Steak frites and a pounded chicken breast are also offered as well as several side dishes to choose from.
To start off our meal we decided to share a bowl of French onion soup. Steph went with the crepe Josselin for her main dish, while I decided to try the famous Croque Madame(although technically it was a Croque Monsieur because I opted to forego the fried egg on top). Our soup proved to be an excellent take on a classic. The key to a good French onion soup is the beef stock and George’s sure tasted like it was homemade with its rich and salty flavor. My only complaint is that I would have liked more sautéed onion. Steph’s savory crepes were filled with just the right amount of shrimp, scallops, mushrooms, spinach, and cream sauce. They were topped with arugula and sliced tomatoes to help balance out the dish. The flavors of the seafood and mushrooms were muted somewhat by the richness of the sauce, but overall it was enjoyable. The crepe itself was tender, yet strong enough not to disintegrate from the fillings.
The Croque Monsieur was just about everything I had remembered from my experience in Paris. This calorie bomb of a sandwich consisted of loads of ham, gruyere cheese, and copious amounts of béchamel stuffed between two large slices of grilled brioche bread and more cheese and sauce on top. It was certainly a knife and fork sandwich and its immense decadence left me happy I had not upgraded with the fried egg. My sandwich came with a side of the house truffle fries, which were some of the best I have ever had. The skin-on fries were perfectly crispy and seasoned with a light glaze of truffle oil and herbs. We could not pass up dessert and after a tough decision ordered a ricotta, almond, and honey crepe. Other dessert options included a banana and nutella crepe, creme brulee, croissant bread pudding, and chocolate terrine. The sweet crepe was an excellent way to finish our lunch. While not overly rich it still proved a sweet and creamy treat with a hint of almond flavoring.
After our lunch experience at Georges’s it is easy to see why it has been such a popular place. I appreciate them honoring classic French cooking by preparing even the most simplest of dishes with care and quality ingredients. I could go back here and just order truffle fries and a dessert crepe and be completely happy. While this is certainly a more upscale establishment, I felt the prices were reasonable for our experience. George’s is a needed addition to the Wichita dining scene and serves as a good ambassador to one of the most iconic of cuisines.