Executive Chef George Harrison of Mastro’s City Hall Steakhouse
Steakhouses are a dime a dozen in the Phoenix metro area, but Mastro’s manages to stand out. The upscale setting, VIP clients and impressive food are just some of the reasons diners have flocked to Mastro’s for years. If you need proof, just ask Executive Chef George Harrison. After stints in catering and at hotel restaurants, he’s been with Mastro’s for nine years. Here, Harrison discusses his background, what makes Mastro’s unique and how to cook the perfect steak.
What has been your greatest inspiration for pursuing a career as a chef?
My family. I’ve always been excited about how a good meal can bring people together and create so much joy. A great meal goes hand-in-hand with great memories, and I love bringing that happiness to people.
How did you come to your current role as executive chef of Mastro’s City Hall?
By climbing up the culinary ranks. I got my start in the hotel restaurant of the Park View Hilton in Hartford, Connecticut. I was the banquet chef at the Arizona Biltmore for 10 years, but grew tired of the hotel scene. I then moved into catering and eventually became executive chef at Mastro’s City Hall. Nine years later, the upbeat, local community, high profile environment, and VIP guests still keep me excited.
What makes you so passionate about the culinary industry?
It’s an exciting business and an ever-changing industry. I love mentoring young chefs who are getting started. From new trends to products, there is always something to learn.
What makes the menu at Mastro’s unique?
Mastro’s menu of juicy steaks, seafood, decadent side dishes and our dedication to providing all guests with a VIP experience makes us unique. In addition to our acclaimed cuisine, Mastro’s is known for world-class white glove service, an elegant atmosphere and nightly live entertainment. We’re firmly dedicated to ensuring each visit to Mastro’s provides guests with a truly unforgettable dining experience.
What are some customer favorites at Mastro’s?
We’re known for sizzling steaks, filets and bone-in ribeye. Another favorite is our signature seafood tower with freshly shucked oysters, chilled Alaskan King crab legs, lobster and giant shrimp cocktail. They are customized to each guest’s preference and are presented in a dramatic cloud of dry ice so they are eye-catching for the dining room. The lobster mashed potatoes are also among the top favorites. For dessert, our signature warm butter cake is beloved by our guests—served a la mode, it’s the perfect way to end a dining experience at Mastro’s on a sweet note.
Do you have any personal favorite dishes?
I love a great steak. It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to go with the New York Steak as a favorite.
In your opinion, what makes the perfect steak?
Two things make the perfect steak: the cut and sear. It’s best to look for a good cut with lots of marbling – not excessive fat, just marble. It’s also important to sear at a high heat and let the meat speak for itself by adding a simple seasoning – salt and pepper.