By. H.R. Fletcher, Jr.
A cheery crowd of local neighbors, Bethesda businesspeople, local politicians, artists and press gathered at George’s Chophouse in downtown Bethesda on Tuesday to witness one of the area’s favorite chefs cut the ribbon on his newest creation.
“I’ve been telling everyone that this isn’t going to be your grandfather’s steakhouse,” said owner and chef Ashish Alfred in a conversation before the ceremony began. “I set out to make this an affordable steakhouse, one where you can get a very well prepared delicious meal and have a great time too.”
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was sponsored by the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce. Many of their members are fans of the 31-year-old chef Alfred, whose previous ventures include the very popular Bethesda restaurants Duck Duck Goose and the Loft at 4935.
“Have you ever seen Ashish in the kitchen? He’s amazing,” said Marcy Silbert, a regular at Duck Duck Goose. “I am really looking forward to this place. It looks absolutely beautiful in here.”
George’s Chophouse seats 85 people in a 4,000-square-foot space. It has booths with round tables lined along its natural brick walls and the bar area in the center of the restaurant is uniquely crafted with a mix of materials like welded steel, veiny granite and antique wood.
There is a raw bar decorated with skateboards painted with Warhol-style Campbell’s soup cans. The walls are covered with photographs of iconic Washington locations like Hot Shoppes and the Capitol dome, and local personalities such as Marion Barry, Biz Markie and Jackie Kennedy.
As you enter the restaurant on the right side, a Harley-Davidson motorcycle sits behind a red velvet rope. The hallowed bike was owned by Alfred’s late brother, Dhiraj Waidande, who went by the name George.
“My brother cooked for me a lot and it was easy to make me spaghetti and meatballs. The meatballs were definitely not from scratch and sauce definitely came out of a jar, but the meal itself is something I associate with him,” says Alfred. Currently, the nostalgic house specialty is priced at $16, and it includes pork, beef and veal meatballs with ricotta and house-made pasta.
“I have seen them working on this place for a few months now and I just had to see how it all turned out,” said Deirdre Byrne, a college student who lives in Olney, Maryland. “I have friends who just rave about Duck Duck Goose. So when I saw the ribbon cutting on Facebook, I made a point of coming. The food they have been serving is wonderful. I’ll definitely be back.”
Alfred joked with the crowd during the ceremony. “I am really appreciative of everyone being here, he said. “I know you have busy schedules, it’s cold outside and I know you have better things to do than come down here for me and look for parking. Many, many thanks. I’m a cook, not a talker. Please, come in for dinner sometime soon. Make sure to reach out and say hello. And thank you for allowing us to be part of the community.”
George’s Chophouse is now open on Tuesday to Friday for lunch from 11:30am to 3:00pm. Dinner hours from Tuesday to Thursday are from 5:00pm to 11:00pm. Friday and Saturday dinner is 5:00pm to midnight.