Photos by Stacy Zarin Goldberg
It's the Thursday before Christmas and George’s Chophouse, which debuted in November, is hopping. All of the large, circular white leather booths
that line either side of the 86-seat restaurant are full. To my left, a group of 10 festively attired, ebullient women are clinking Champagne glasses and toasting a friend’s birthday as a server places a platter of oysters on the half-shell and shrimp cocktail on their table. All of the seats at the gray marble bar in the center of the room are taken and the bass of loud rock music commingles with boisterous laughter and lively conversation. Lavishly generous, ice-cold Hendrick’s martinis and Maker’s Mark Manhattans hit our table of four, along with warm challah-like bread and two kinds of butter, one with roasted garlic, the other herb-and-garlic-laced.
“This is what this space was always meant to be,” 32-year-old chef and owner Ashish Alfred tells me later in a phone interview, by way of explaining why he gutted the bottom level of 4935 Bar and Kitchen, the modern American restaurant he opened in this Cordell Avenue space in 2012, to create George’s. “This concept is unique to Bethesda. It’s not just another corporate steak house.” (The second-floor space remains private event space called The Loft at 4935.)
Roasted bone marrow with beef ragout
Alfred named the restaurant after his half-brother Dhiraj “George” Waidande, who died suddenly of a heart attack at age 39 in 2015. Pass through this restaurant’s handsome façade of horizontal pinewood planks and gray brick and you’ll see Waidande’s beloved Harley-Davidson motorcycle on display behind a red velvet rope in the entrance hall. The dining room has the feel of a chic steak house, with low lighting, dark wide-plank laminate floors, exposed
brick, gold-framed mirrors, contemporary chrome chandeliers with crystal teardrops, and a gleaming stainless-steel kitchen displayed behind a glass wall.