Chef Melissa Perello and co-owner Robert Wright, of the Michelin-starred Frances and Octavia restaurants in San Francisco, have opened their latest project, M. Georgina in ROW DTLA. Named after Perello’s paternal grandmother, the warm and cozy space anchored by a rustic wood burning hearth with slow-roasted California lamb suspended over the crackling flames that greets guests as they walk in the door.
Designed by Terri Robison and Greg Bleier of Studio Unltd, the 4,500 square-foot restaurant is a combination of sleek lines, natural materials, Nordic architecture and the charm of a French farmhouse. Huge clerestory windows, original to the old factory location, and high ceilings providing an open vibe overlooking all corners of the ROW district. Culinary artifacts gathered on Perello’s European travels and custom ceramics dot the shallow shelves that frame the exposed kitchen.
The cocktail program is spearheaded by Adam Flamenbaum and includes a list of botanical libations like the Myrtle Bonsai made with Japanese gin, dry vermouth, myrtle and herbs. Or try the signature Flying V, a smooth combination of blanc and sweet vermouth, quinine and green chartreuse.
Staying true to her passion for seasonal market items, Perello’s crudités platter is a dramatic sculpture that’s currently a melange of raw vegetables like delicately bitter castelfranco and pickled pumpkin served with a charred onion dip. Unique plates to share include the wood-roasted maitake mushrooms with butter beans and blistered peppers and a mind-blowing grilled squid ink pita nestled in trout roe and pickles with a smoked oyster aioli. And don’t leave without trying the hamachi collar.
You can also go traditional main course style from the seasonal menu with a grilled and roasted ribeye (perfect match for a side order of coal baked potato with the works,) wood baked black cod with creamed escarole and cipollini onion or a Liberty Farms duck for two with charred satsuma mandarins and mustard greens. If this is all too overwhelming, they offer a reasonable four-course prix fixe dinner for $75.
The dessert and bread program from pastry chef Hannah Ziskin focuses on Southern California seasonal fruit and local grains. The levain and cultured butters (regular and vegan) are made in-house.
Despite the recent Manufactory debacle at the ROW, business seems to be looking up for the 30-acre historic district that’s home to Smorgasburg every Sunday. A Father’s Office outpost opened this week, and we stumbled into the fully packed M. Georgina on a chilly Tuesday evening.
M. Georgina, 777 S. Alameda St., #114, downtown; (213) 334-4113, mgeorgina.com.