One of San Francisco’s most celebrated chefs has made her way south to Los Angeles. Melissa Perello, star owner of Michelin-worthy Frances and of Octavia up in the Bay Area, has expanded to the Row development in Downtown with partner Robert Wright to open sprawling dream project M.Georgina this week. The large, open former warehouse will seat its first true dinner guests tomorrow night, more than a year after first being announced.
The sunny converted corner owns what may be the most prime restaurant real estate inside the massive Runyon Group development off Alameda. The place teems with weekend traffic thanks to Smorgasburg, and M.Georgina is — perhaps notwithstanding the gigantic Manufactory build-out from Tartine — the first restaurant to be seen by anyone exiting the parking garage. It helps that the Studio Unltd.-designed restaurant features walls of tall windows and raised ceilings, giving the restaurant a warm, inviting evening glow.
The two-sided open kitchen further pulls in the eye, while a private dining room to one end can act as a hideaway for larger groups and a more muted bar hunkers down the opposite end of the dining space. In all, M.Georgina sprawls across some 4,500 square feet of space, with a variety of banquettes, two- and four-tops, bar seating, and patio space.
And then there is M.Georgina’s concise menu, which hovers well below $35 for entrees and nods to wood-fired cooking and California’s bountiful seasons. Starting salads lean into rotating flavors like chicory with rapini pesto or brussels sprouts with roasted mushrooms, while seafood — a baked clam diavolo, whole fish, some squid ink pita — and roasted meats outline the mains. “Every time I open a new restaurant, I feel like my food evolves into something different,” says Perello. “I want to make the food here accessible to people, and to be heartwarming and delicious.”
Adam Flamenbaum is on to oversee the cocktail side of the bar, while master sommelier Alan Murray and wine director Alex Davis handle the wine and beer. Hannah Ziskin, formerly of SF’s celebrated Nopa, is on as the pastry chef.
M.Georgina opens tomorrow for dinner service at the Row in Downtown. An upcoming takeaway lunchtime window offering rotating daily grab and go meals, called the Slip, should arrive in the coming months.
M.Georgina. 777 Alameda St., Los Angeles.