A restaurant is only as good as its kitchen: That’s the motto shared by chef Curtis Stone and his protege and executive chef at Georgie, Christian Dortch. They’ve been working on the menu at Georgie, one of Dallas’s premiere (and most expensive) steakhouses, which changes nearly constantly.
Many people are familiar with Stone, a prolific restaurateur known for his appearances on Surfing the Menu, Take Home Chef, or his regular appearances on the Today show — as well as his restaurants in LA and Dallas. For diners who are less familiar with Dortch’s career, he has been with Stone for nearly a decade, starting when he applied to a Craigslist ad to be sous chef in Stone’s Beverly Hills restaurant, Maude. He has risen through the ranks, helping to open Gwen on Sunset Boulevard in LA, and serving as the executive chef at Stone’s Share restaurants on Princess Cruise ships. He came to Dallas in 2020 and stepped into his current position in 2021.
Eater Dallas sat down with Stone and Dortch to discuss the latest changes to this nearly three-year-old Dallas restaurant, including the latest menu updates, which the pair created collaboratively, as well as what they’ve learned about the Texas food and agriculture scenes. Oh, and to get the scoop on what’s happening with Stone and that Netflix reboot of Iron Chef.
Eater: Tell us about developing your summer menu together?
Curtis Stone: Christian and I genuinely developed this menu together. It’s not me just telling him what to put on. There’s some dishes that I’ve made for a long time that are really special little things, but even those we pull back from sometimes to do something different because it feels right.
Christian Dortch: The Spanish turbot is a new dish we created together. I really wanted to put turbot on the menu because, for me, I had a piece of seared turbot last summer that was so delicious. I told Curtis we need something we’re able to put out pretty fast that can’t be too finicky. We wanted the layers of flavor, and I wanted to use shallots. He suggested the classic, adding vermouth.
CS: It’s a dish I’ve done in the past, the idea is that everything is built on this fish with a crust. He started playing with dry-aging it. When you think about fish, there’s how you cook it. There’s how you rested it before serving. Christian went on this journey figuring out what happens when you dry fish. It’s an obscure concept. Christian dry-aged the turbot for three to four days and what happens then is you get a little bit of dehydration in the fish, which creates a concentration of flavor.
When we worked on the crust, we brainstormed and I suggested we use a cheese you wouldn’t normally use. We honed in on Gruyere, a strong cheese but just a tiny bit. So little that if I hadn’t told you that, you’d eat it and not know. You know how sometimes you’re like, what is that? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s wonderful? To me it brought that concentrated flavor the fish needed; it’s something a little stronger.
What makes the food at Georgie unique to Dallas?
CD: We launched the restaurant with a partnership with Profound Microfarms in Lucas, Texas. One thing that has always been strong with Curtis’s restaurants are the ingredients. Finding Profound and showcasing their food — they grow lettuce better than anybody’s.
CS: Being there and seeing what they’re doing too, makes you realize what you should use. When you see the spring onions they grow, it makes you think, “We’re going to do a dish with that.” Same for the lettuces — lettuce is a pretty generic ingredient, but it makes such a huge difference in the flavor.
CD: I snack on it. They use an aquaponic system with fish in an ecosystem that runs their greenroom. You can taste the flavor; it’s way different from any other place. It’s so clean and mineral-y. We also work with Reeves Family Farm in Princeton, Texas. Their tomatoes are phenomenal. Their spinach, that red spinach, is incredible. It sucks that it’s already too hot to get those products.
CS: But it’s also cool, because you realize it’s a moment in time.
CD: Something interesting I’m learning about Texas is that there are seasons, but there are also micro seasons. In Texas, something you would grow for the entire spring and into summer, you can only have for three or four weeks. Because of that, we constantly have to be developing and changing components on a dish, or an entire dish. It’s challenging but fun.
Where in Dallas do you like to go to eat, outside of Georgie’s kitchen?
CD: Chefs get off work late, so we go to places that are still open after we close. You always need a late-night sushi spot. Yama Sushi [on Forest Lane] is pretty good. They’re open late and it’s solid. If I get off a little bit earlier, Uchiba is good sushi. I like In-N-Out. [laughs]
Have you heard of Whataburger? Watch out before you offend the whole state.
CD: It’s better than Whataburger. [laughs] There are a lot of good late-night spots, even a gas station taco spot down the street that just opened up. It’s good — $1.50 for a taco.
Have you not had this experience in Texas, the gas station taco?
CD: The one downtown, Fuel City, there’s a line every time.
CS: We work too much. I ate at the Charles and I really liked that.
Curtis, what can you preview for us about Netflix’s Iron Chef?
CS: With Iron Chef, that was the one show that I’ve always watched. I love the Japanese version of it. Watching someone do a five-course menu in 60 minutes as a chef who knows what they’re doing — you watch it. It was also not produced. It’s a proper competition where you don’t know the ingredient and don’t know what’s going on. If you don’t get it on the plate, bad luck. So when Netflix called me and asked me, I was like, “Oh my god yes. Yes, yes, yes.” Then I realized, shit, I’m going to have to go into battle. I got a little nervous as we went into it each day.
Like everything Netflix, they do it bigger and better. They come at it with the ambition to make the best possible product, and there’s no other real factors. I don’t know exactly what their budget was, but they built this set where we had to run up and get the ingredients — I don’t think I’m allowed to tell you what so let’s say cheese. When you run in, there are a thousand cheeses. It’s like they went to every country in the world and put all of these cheeses together.
I cook with fire a lot, so I asked if it would be possible to have live fires. They asked what I wanted, so I asked for a live-fire grill or a spit. They said, “Yes of course — you just tell us.” I asked for a wood-fire oven and they said, “Tell us what you want and we’ll have it.” So you end up with these crazy amounts of options. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity and length.