The first time you walk into The Row DTLA, you’ll have some questions: “Why am I here?” “How many cars can actually fit in that parking structure?” “Is this the final level of ‘Westworld’?”
They’re all valid, and frankly, we don’t have the answers - mostly because we’re still trying to figure out what The Row actually is. The sprawling campus is both an impressive urban renewal project and an eerie outdoor mall that’s quickly become Downtown Disney for high-end lifestyle brands you’ve probably never heard of. It’s objectively beautiful yet completely generic, often at the same time, but continues to lure people in, presumably out of curiosity (or perhaps a deep love of Edison bulb string lights).
That’s also why M. Georgina is such a perfect fit here. The modern, California-inspired spot isn’t particularly exciting, nor does it do much to differentiate itself from most other LA restaurants. But the space is attractive and comfortable, the menu features some good food, and, as you know if you’ve ever visited The Row, there’s always plenty of parking.
Perhaps the most obvious thing that M. Georgina has going for it is its prime positioning inside The Row itself. The large corner space is essentially the first thing you see when walking out of the parking garage, making it the de facto reception desk for a place that could definitely use a concierge. Then you walk inside and realize it might be the perfect candidate for the job. People aren’t just visiting M. Georgina like they would every other restaurant in The Row, they’re actually using it - for after-work drinks, midweek dates, or big-group private dining. In a place that’s trying desperately to become its own fake neighborhood, M. Georgina is the closest thing to an actual neighborhood spot. That’s going to go a long way towards M. Georgina’s staying power. The tasty food coming out of the kitchen will certainly help, too.
M. Georgina’s menu isn’t large, but it does cover a lot of ground - a few raw appetizers, some pastas, big plates of meat, and an assortment of salads and sides. If you’re coming in by yourself or with one other person, stick mostly to the left side of the menu, where the smaller dishes are located. The clam diavolo, baked in-shell with a Béchamel sauce and Calabrian chiles, is rich, spicy, and briny, and our favorite single bite on the whole menu. The bowl of roasted mushrooms - with feta, butter beans, and pickled ramps - has a rich, stew-like quality that briefly voids all mistakes you made that week. Even the loaf of perfectly baked Levian bread and cultured butter needs to make it on your table, because at only $6, why wouldn’t it?
There are plenty of other good, if not totally mind-blowing, larger dishes as well. We like the earthy campanelle pasta with pecorino, and a chard saag that’s essentially a spinach casserole with feta. The duck for two gets the job done if you come really hungry. But whatever you do, save enough room for the sourdough ice cream dessert. Topped with cinnamon and salty croutons, this is one of our favorite desserts in town, and while we’re not saying M. Georgina should open a separate ice cream window, we’re also not not.
We can be a little more direct when it comes to answering your “Why am I here?” question, though. It’s M. Georgina. As far as the Westworld theories go, those are still on the table.
This will be the first thing that hits your table at M. Georgina, and it’ll also be the best. A minced littleneck clam baked in Béchamel sauce and chiles, it’s spicy, briny, and all kinds of savory. It’s also only one clam per order, so please plan accordingly.
Yes, $15 for essentially three mushrooms will certainly cause some eye rolls at your table, but once everybody actually tries them, those eyes will be closed, and heads will be nodding in approval.
By no means a mind-blowing bowl of pasta, it’ll still do the trick when you’re at M. Georgina and looking to carbo-load. The pork sausage ragout and pecorino give the whole dish an immensely earthy flavor that pairs well with most of the other big dishes.
Our favorite of M. Georgina’s big dishes, this is essentially a spinach and feta casserole, and one of the better vegetarian dishes you can get Downtown.
Served as both a sliced breast and a whole leg, this is certainly a solid plate of duck, but at $54, you can find better versions around town. We’d stick to the smaller dishes instead - or just save room for more dessert.
Have we gone back to M. Georgina just to eat this cinnamon-and-salty-crouton-topped ice cream alone at the bar? Yes. Will we do it again? Also, yes.