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Geoffrey’s crafts culinary art

Pictured are the sautéed day boat sea scallops at Geoffrey’s Malibu. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the Ahi tuna tartar at Geoffrey’s Malibu. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Pictured is the pan-seared Chilean sea bass at Geoffrey’s Malibu. Chris Bashaw/22nd Century Media
Chris Bashaw, Assistant Editor
3:19 pm PST March 3, 2014

While his prior experience was mostly lent to cooking steakhouse-style steaks, necessity became the mother of invention for executive chef Bijan Shokatfard when he came on board at Geoffrey’s Malibu 11 years ago.

“Seafood was a new variety for me and I wasn’t very comfortable with it, but I became comfortable with it by necessity,” said Shokatfard, who has been designing and preparing dishes at Geoffrey’s since March of 2003. 

Save for one recipe that Shokatfard inherited, every dish at Geoffrey’s is a personal creation from an executive chef who doesn’t shy away from giving his guests satisfying portions of artfully crafted dishes. He also likes to keep his dishes sophisticatedly simple, using the smallest number of high-quality ingredients in each dish as possible.

One standout dish at Geoffrey’s Malibu is Shokatfard’s sautéed day boat sea scallops, which are served on a bed of Maine lobster risotto and a pomegranate reduction. 

The delicately sautéed scallops – four per order – are prepared to a point where the smooth and buttery texture of the shellfish meat matches its rich flavor.

The scallops are placed atop the risotto prepared with a generous portion of Maine lobster chunks.

“We add a cream and some Parmesan cheese to give it that rich texture,” Shokatfard said about his risotto. “Most people are against matching seafood with dairy, but I don’t really follow that standard. I just do whatever I feel tastes right and looks right.”

Finally, a pomegranate reduction with a hint of honey lends the seafood dish a sweetness that pairs exceptionally well with the savory flavor of the risotto and scallops.

While he expressed an interest in modifying some of his recipes, Shokatfard found it difficult in the past to do so due to the restaurant’s loyal following on some of his dishes.

“If I change anything, then there’s an uprising,” he said jokingly. “It’s hard to change anything on this menu, which can be frustrating . . . [but] most of these dishes are what I like to eat. That’s how I’ve come up with these dishes and that’s how most of them are.”

Shokatfard finds a fine balance by offering his guests specials, which include some variations of the dishes that regulars have come to know and love.

Geoffrey’s Malibu opened its doors to a hard-to-beat ocean view in 1983 at the site of the former Holiday House, which was designed by world-famous architect Richard Neutra in 1948.

Other dishes not to miss:

• Ahi tuna tartar: While the tuna comes from Hawaii, everything about this dish feels like Malibu. This dish is prepared with pieces of avocado and scallion delicately mixed with tuna, decorated with a wonton crisp and tobiko caviar. 

• Pan-seared Chilean sea bass: Served atop a delicious and hearty portion of pesto mashed potatoes, this flaky fish dish features a side of sweet heirloom tomato marmalade.