The DG Revolution

By Jan Walsh      

Photography by Beau Gustafson

Daniel Briggs

Executive chef and owner Daniel Briggs is redefining Daniel George. I would describe his new Daniel George restaurant as “unpretentious—yet refined.” A shorter version of the name is being used, “DG.” An update to the ambience is planned (at press time). New concepts such as, most dinner entrée options at half portion for half price, are already in place. And Brigg’s culinary style—flavorful, not fussy fare—is now being served for lunch and dinner. One thing that has always changed here is the daily menu of gulf coast seafood, wild and domestic game, meats, poultry, and fresh local produce. And it still does.

The Place

Daniel George is located at 2835 Culver Road in Mountain Brook. This Mountain Brook Village address has been home to the restaurant since it opened in 2000. The restaurant is divided into three spaces: the bar—where you enter—and two dining rooms. Natural light is flattering to food. And the dining rooms each have a wall of windows, which both overlook Mountain Brook Village and fill this pristine restaurant with subtle, natural light. The space also allows for tables to be well placed for private conversations, making DG a great location for a business lunch or a romantic dinner.

The People

Executive chef and owner Daniel Briggs was born and raised in Birmingham. He originally became interested in cooking in the most organic way—through

gardening. Later he graduated from Sewanee and then Johnson & Wales in Vail, Colorado. Briggs style is to allow the flavors of the food to shine through

with light sauces and relishes and minimal processing of ingredients. Sommelier John Rusiecki selects and pairs the perfect wines to compliment Briggs’ fare.

Favorite Fare

Lobster Bisque

Having known and respected Rusiecki’s wine knowledge for years, and knowing that he and I have similar wine palates, I ask him for suggestions. And we take one of them—the Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre 2009, from France’s Loire Valley. And his choice of wine is served properly chilled, is crisp and offers lovely grapefruit notes. Light and dark breads with olive oil are enjoyed with the wine as we look over tonight’s menu.
We select two appetizers, Lobster Bisque and Heirloom Salad. For entrees, I take advantage of the half portion of Diver Scallops while Kevin selects the Duroc Pork Chop. And for dessert, we share the Summer Fruit Cobbler. The lovely bisque arrives in a deep, square bowl. It is a delicate balance that is not easy to achieve in lobster bisque. Goldilocks would call “just right.” I call it rich and creamy without being too strong or weak in its flavors. The tomato salad is a lovely array of heirloom tomatoes with shaved Parmesan and poached figs. The figs add an earthy touch to this divine tomato dish.

Entrees are matched with Soter Pinot Noir 2006, from Oregon’s Dundee Hills. Kevin’s thick, grill marked, Frenched bone in chop arrives atop baked polenta with a blackberry juniper reduction along side a scrumptious heap of wilted greens, which I immediately steal off his plate.  The chop is tender, naturally juicy and flavor filled throughout. My

Diver Scallops

delicate scallops flank a crowder pea and quinoa croquette with green tomato and peach relish topped with bacon jam.

Summer Fruit Cobbler

The complex textures and tasty flavors of the croquette compliment the scallops without overpowering it. And the warm cobbler is a wonderful Southern cobbler with a light crust filled with plums, blackberries, and blueberries, and topped with vanilla bean ice cream melting into each bite.

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