I was saddened to learn that Scott Conant’s Scarpetta at the Montage Beverly Hills, closed its doors earlier this year. I have fond memories of twirling strands of the most expensive bowl of spaghetti pomodoro around my fork, and seeing Conant walk into the kitchen to prepare a special Montage anniversary dinner. But sadness gave way to excitement when the Montage team formed a new partnership with executive chef, Food Network star, and restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian. He promised two new concepts – a sophisticated Georgie restaurant, named after his young son, and The Garden Bar.
Georgie opened in June and still offers outdoor seating overlooking the spectacular Beverly Canon Gardens, as did Scarpetta. It’s become a favorite lunch spot and elegant dinner destination.
The day I dined with a friend for lunch, Zakarian, the “Chef Partner” wasn’t in the kitchen, however Freddy Vargas (formerly of Scarpetta) was in the kitchen as the executive chef at Georgie.
My favorite server, Jeremiah Woodruff, was also working the day I dined. He has worked at The Montage Beverly Hills since the day it opened in 2008. Dressed in a royal blue jacket, accented with a coral pink tie and stylish jeans, his fashionable attire complements his professional service.
The menu appeals to the Beverly Hills A-list with a variety of healthy choices that include a beautiful bowl of colorful raw crudités with two dipping sauces. It’s a deconstructed salad with a variety of heirloom carrots standing up straight, next to cool lettuce leaves, crisp spheres of cucumber and bright yellow and red heirloom grape-sized tomatoes sprinkled around the bowl. It’s served with green goddess and aglio e olio dips.
Another winner is the roasted eggplant spread that is spiked with pomegranate molasses, roasted garlic and topped with circular and crunchy garlic chips.
The Greek salad is sensational with heirloom tomatoes, French feta cheese, black olives and pickled onions, but no lettuce.
Keeping with the Mediterranean menu theme, there is herbed labneh (thick and pleasantly sour yogurt) with cucumbers, cherry tomatoes and pickled red onions. Another favorite is a kale and tabbouleh salad with heirloom carrots and a splash of lemon vinaigrette.
They also serve a baby beet and endive salad, and a Georgie wedge with baby iceberg lettuce and tomatoes. It’s enhanced with pancetta, and a creamy Roquefort dressing.
Be sure to order the Parker House rolls topped with fennel and za’atar blend of herbs, sesame and salt. The warm rolls are even better spread with a generous amount of the soft Vermont butter.
Elegant lunch fare includes a Zakarian signature warm lobster roll, made with 1-1/4 lb. meat from two claws and the tail. The poached lobster is served whole on a buttery split roll with a little aioli mustard. My friend and I paired this with a glass of Clos Solene La Rose, Paso Robles 2015.
For dessert, be sure to order the strawberry and ginger shortcake stacked high with strawberry compote and rose cream in the middle. It’s heavenly. Another popular treat is the Mexican chocolate budino with coconut whipped cream and topped a delightful sesame crunch. Ladies at a nearby table were enjoying the Georgie cookie board with oatmeal, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.
Later in the afternoon tourists and guests of the hotel, along with a few suits working in Beverly Hills, come into the bar for happy hour. The cocktail list offers drinks with whimsical names and ingredients. There is a Hollywood Park cocktail made from Knob Creek bourbon, fresh lime juice, simple syrup, mint and a splash of Hennessy V.S.O.P. cognac. The mixologists also make a frothy California-style avocado daiquiri, and a Georgie Gerber made with Gerber’s peach baby food, Casamigos Blanco tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar and egg whites. Those wanting to splurge, can order the interactive martini cart wheeled to the table with olives and lemon twists to perk up your drink.
Popular dinner items include grilled Spanish octopus, braised short ribs, and an autumn pumpkin cappelletti with a brown butter sauce, sprinkled with goat Pecorino and served with a Meyer lemon biscotti.
Georgie is open for morning coffee and pastries to-go and breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. Lunch is from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner is served at 6 to 10:30 p.m. The bar is open from 11 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. $$$ 225 N. Canon Drive (310)860-7970.
This review was featured in the Nov. 3, 2016 Beverly Press and Park LaBrea News.