The New Sophistication

Restaurateur Geoffrey Zakarian partners with Montage Beverly Hills to create a fresh new dining and meeting spot

Written by Constance Dunn | Photography Courtesy of Dylan + Jeni & Rick Lew | Courtesy of Georgie at Montage Beverly Hills

Pair an East Coast restaurateur with an exclusive Beverly Hills hotel and you get Georgie, a fresh, sophisticated spot that opened this past July at Montage Beverly Hills.

“We did the project in collaboration with our chef-partner Geoffrey Zakarian,” explains Todd Orlich, general manager of Montage Beverly Hills.

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“We had a real similar approach to how we wanted to look at the space.” Some of that inspiration was fueled by the Beverly Hills community; some by the hotel’s adjacent gardens, a peaceful setting of hand-carved fountains, meticulous shrubbery and graceful tulip trees.

Next was channeling their vision to Christine and John Gachot, New York designers at Gachot Studios who count designer Marc Jacobs’ Greenwich Village townhouse and the Smyth TriBeCa hotel among their projects. The group was in sync. “Everything they brought back was so impressive,” says Orlich. “Every time we met with them we got more excited about the space.”

In the end, the rooms were transformed into a super smart eatery with classic bistro and booth seating and dramatic Moorish archways. Hearty green plants fan out against snow-white pillars, martinis are mixed to order at your table, and the service is traditional and impeccable. (Tip: For intimate gatherings, book a booth in the back of Georgie. For an uplifting luncheon spot, try the patio overlooking the gardens.) There’s also The Garden Bar, an elegant adjacent lounge that’s ideal for a light bite (think oysters, Parker House rolls and meticulous cheese boards with garnish) and classic cocktails, fresh juice or high tea.

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At the heart of the collaboration is Zakarian’s style. The man—whose action-packed resume includes a string of restaurants (The Lambs Club and The National in New York among them), a couple of best-selling cookbooks and a slew of TV shows (he’s an Iron Chef and a fixture on the Food Network)—has an unwavering brand that leans heavily on early-20th-century classic Americana, notably Art Deco and a New York glamour of the fern-and-chandelier variety. And it’s on display here, albeit in a bright and sunny Beverly Hills mode that’s perfectly fitting for an elegant, international haunt like Montage.

Complementing Georgie’s atmosphere is Zakarian’s Modern American menu. Hearty classics that have been given a nouveau California overlay, like the Dover Sole with morels and pickled ramps, and the New York strip with shallot confit and watercress. At lunch there’s a warm, oversized lobster roll, short rib ravioli and a wedge salad with snap peas and horseradish.

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“What Geoffrey does so well is extract the most flavor out of whatever he’s working with, and he’s highly seasonal,” notes Orlich, who describes Georgie’s menu as “micro-seasonal,” with dishes and ingredients shifting to adjust for optimum seasonality and taste. Within the first seven weeks of Georgie’s opening, for example, the menu had already changed twice in order to accommodate newly ripe fruits and vegetables.

Though sophisticated and approachable were two words that guided the design process, they can also be applied to sum up the cuisine and entire Georgie experience. “We really wanted to create a space that could be used for a variety of occasions,” notes Orlich.“Power meetings, cocktails, a light meal or even, in the Garden Bar, a perfectly brewed cup of tea. And we wanted people to feel comfortable in all the different settings.”

GEORGIE AT MONTAGE BEVERLY HILLS

225 North Canon Drive, Beverly Hills, CA 90210

310.860.7970 | GeorgieRestaurant.com

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