The George embodies northeast Pasadena
By Kateri Wozny
Richard Brent has a vision to make northeast Pasadena vibrant as a place for everyone to enjoy. That’s why he chose it for the location for his new restaurant, The George.
“There is not much in northeast Pasadena, and I want to bring back the neighborhood quality that’s accessible for everyone,” Brent says.
The George, which opened in April, is Brent’s second owned restaurant, with his first being Latin American restaurant Diablo that closed after 10 years in Silver Lake. It is also an ode to Brent’s grandfather, George Brent, who was a film actor during the 1930s and 1940s. Inside the restaurant are photos of his grandfather, actress Lucille Ball, past Rose Parades and other vintage products.
“I wanted something that was classic, old Hollywood with a westside New York vibe and greenery throughout the building,” Brent says.
Brent explains that every item on the menu is from scratch, and he even butchers his own meats. In fact, he’s currently the head chef.
“I wanted the menu to sample different regions of America on what’s popular,” Brent says.
Beginning with refreshments ($8-$20), some libations include George’s Cadillac with blanco, lime and orange honey reduction; Inauguration with fino sherry, vermouth blanc, black cherry reduction and bitters; Jambone Sour with Han Smoked, Han Cinnamon, pineapple, lemon, cardamom bitters and egg white; Lady in Red with red ale, Han Smoked, raspberry, orgeat and lime; and the Lover Come Back with Lillet Rouge, Sabe Clear, lime, cane reduction and muddled strawberry.
Spritz’s include the Fiero with Fiero L’Aperitivo, sparkling wine, soda and bitters; Americano with riserva rouge, vermouth rosso, sparkling wine and soda; and the Hibiscus with sparkling wine, vermouth blanc, hibiscus reduction and soda.
“The Jambone Sour is like a classic whiskey sour with egg foam,” Brent says. “The Hibiscus is really popular and refreshing.”
Brent also adds that The George is currently using low-proof alcohol options where “you’re tasting the cocktail itself and not just the alcohol.”
Onto the starters ($12-$18), which include the charcuterie plate, cheese plate, chipotle arancini with sun-dried tomato, caramelized onion, spinach and lemon thyme aioli; crispy Brussels sprouts with almonds, crispy shallots and a honey mustard balsamic reduction; Nashville hot chicken bites with Buffalo ranch, cucumber slaw and a pickle; and the roasted heirloom cauliflower tossed in chipotle barbecue, cilantro, chili flakes and Parmesan. Starters are also $2 off during happy hour, and a duo jazz group plays every other Thursday.
“Nashville hot chicken is more of a comfort food with the spicy flavors adding a nice heat,” Brent says. “The Brussels sprouts are a little lighter. Most people that don’t like them, they say, ‘This is amazing. I love Brussels sprouts now.’”
For the main courses, Presidential Mains ($16-$34) include It Came From the Sea with the daily catch, red skin mash, braised cabbage, grilled onion, broccolini and bacon dust; Presidential Steak with herb butter; The Hen House with herb-roasted Cornish hen, chipotle risotto, fennel, asparagus and a demi glaze; The George Burger (regular or plant based) with candied bacon, arugula, tomato chutney, Gruyere cheese, roasted garlic aioli and frites; They Got Chops with thick bone-in pork chop, haricot verts, wild mushroom, caramelized cippolini and agrodolce sauce; and the sweet potato gnocchi pan-seared in brown butter, sage, pea tendrils, Parmesan and chili flakes.
“People tell us it’s the best burger in town,” Brent says. “The pork chops are also excellent because they are a thick cut chop.”
For those who favor brunch, Sunday Brunch ($12-$22) has items such as Not Your Gramma Biscuits that are house-made with cheddar and chives, buttermilk fried chicken, black berry basil compote and roasted herb baby potatoes; Nova Lox Toast with smoked salmon, lemon, dill cream cheese, cucumber, red onion and fried capers; poached egg salad with wild arugula, grape tomato, avocado, goat cheese, croutons and pancetta; steak and eggs with herb-crusted steak, two eggs and frites; and the spinach and pancetta frittata with fluffy eggs based with sauteed pancetta, spinach and a cheese blend.
“The chicken biscuits sell out because of its sweet tanginess but has a nice crispy fillet,” Brent says.
Sunday Brunch libations ($10-$25) include bloody marys; Brave Ukrainian with Sabe Clear, coffee cordial and coconut crème foam; George of the Jungle Juice with red wine, vermouth and seasonal fruit; mimosas; and the Super Nova with sparkling wine, coconut-lime reduction and Tiki bitters. Guests can also enjoy music from The George Jazz Trio for two hours.
“Mimosas and spritz’s sell the most,” Brent says. “The Brave Ukrainian is an ode to Ukraine. It’s like a mochatini if guests like a coffee drink with a little kick to it.”
Lastly, don’t forget dessert! The George has a rotating dessert menu ($18) with a cherry pie, classic New York cheesecake, flourless chocolate cake and lemon tart. The most popular are the beignets with a chocolate sauce and each dessert comes paired with a dessert wine.
“The beignets are an ode to New Orleans,” Brent says. “Having a dessert wine pairing is also a nice end to your meal.”
Brent wants to continue to expand The George’s menu options from different regions of the United States. He also wants to participate in street events along East Washington Boulevard and give back to the community through fundraisers, sales proceeds and sponsorships.
“I want to bring in wild game, lamb for the holidays and continue to rotate the specials,” Brent says. “Participating more in the community will also help rejuvenate the east Washington area.”
WHERE: 1615 E. Washington Boulevard, Pasadena
HOURS: Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m., Sunday Brunch from 10 a.m. to 4p.m. with live jazz from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., happy hour Thursday to Saturday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.