PLAYING IT COOL Bar Margot’s throwback interiors nod to the inspirational film.
Inspired by Margot Tenenbaum, Gwyneth Paltrow’s character in the Wes Anderson cult classic The Royal Tenenbaums, celebrated chef and restaurateur Ford Fry has once again crafted a perfect cocktail of coolness with newly opened hot spot Bar Margot.
Tucked inside the elegant Four Seasons hotel in Midtown, the hotel bar is abuzz with a chic clique of businessmen and -women, and smartly dressed couples. For those who prefer something more stylish than stuffy, Bar Margot is the perfect spot to take a meeting. The selection of craft cocktails (curated by master mixologists Greg Best and Paul Calvert) is both inventive and enticing, beckoning me to break out of my white Burgundy box and test-drive the Lady Victoria ($10), crafted with Hangar One vodka, lemon juice, Cocchi Americano and fresh rosemary. Sipping from the delicately stemmed glass on a perfect balance of herbaciousness and citrus has me feeling every bit the theatrical Tenenbaum. My date opts for the signature Gin Margot ($11), featuring Fords Gin, lime cordial, Amontillado sherry and tonic beautifully presented in a tall glass with a sprig of Thai basil. We sink into our seats and enjoy Fry’s carefully selected playlist of music intended to evoke “emotional comfort” (ranging from Stereolab to Swamp Dogg, and The Everly Brothers to Miles Davis). As we sip, we soak in the thoughtful interiors crafted by Meyer Davis out of New York. Using fixtures and finishes that pay homage to the Anderson film, Fry is a master at setting the stage for his culinary creativity to unfold. Volumes of thoughtful tomes are stacked in corners and burnt-orange velvet fabrics add a tastefully themed throwback vibe to the eatery.
Each delicious dish presented features as much beguiling bite as Paltrow’s portrayal of Margot’s winsome wit. In collaboration with Executive Chef Robert Gerstenecker of Four Seasons Hotel Atlanta, Fry serves up his signature spin on Southern cuisine offering up a global menu infused with regionality. A bar snack of fried Castelvetrano olives ($8) features the cornmeal crust of down-home fried hush puppies. Crab toast served with avocado coulis ($15) offers a sophisticated spin on the Southern starter, while sorghum-soaked burrata with nutty pistachio butter and rich grilled toast ($13) is the star of the show. As we transition to the heartier fare, a Mediterranean-meets-barbecue fusion of wood-grilled lamb ribs served with harissa and cucumber raita dipping sauces ($20) inspire me to lick my fingers as surely Margot herself would do. For those with a larger appetite, the off-menu house grind burger ($17) is served “Steak n’ Shake-style”—smashed and crispy, served with charred onions, thick-cut bacon and “punched” potatoes.
Just when I am almost ready for the credits to roll, our server delivers the delicious denouement to this theatrical tale—a warm banana cream pie topped with fried bananas ($9) and a cherry clafouti served in a cast-iron skillet ($9)—emotional comfort, indeed.
Like his chosen muse, Fry has a signature look. “She portrays the sense of humor that runs through all my restaurants in one way or the other,” Fry says. He infuses a refined regionality and clever coolness to each of his restaurants, and Bar Margot is the latest in an empire of elegant eateries. So much hipper than any hotel bar I have ever experienced, Bar Margot buzzes with the electricity and excitement of something slightly subversive and stylish beyond compare.
75 14th St. NE, 404.881.5913
Lunch: Mon.-Sat., 11am-5pm
Dinner: Mon.-Thu., 5pm-12am; Fri. & Sat., 5pm-2am; Sun., 2pm-12am
Starters, $3-$23; entrees, $15-$30; dessert: $9