Four courses. And four separate exercises in deceptive complexity, perhaps none more so than the terrine of foie gras and seared scallops. The puck of cholesterol is veiled by a litany of crisp viands: pumpkin seeds, granola and almost undetectable flecks of fleur de sel. Then there’s the salty-sweet amalgam undergirding three molluskan coins; the sauce on first glance may seem to be plated heavy-handedly, but trust me, you’ll want to sop up every last drop. And I succumbed to the herd of independent minds–blush–and ordered the molten chocolate cake and couldn’t have been happier because it was delicious, tout court.
Almost as enjoyable as the food were my dining companion’s reactions: the sealed lips ceding to a gaping smile, the inquisitive stare yielding to eye-widening disbelief. It was his first time in a three-star Michelin restaurant and gave me a glimpse into what my expressions must have been like at Per Se last July.
With Shahin, our omnibeaming captain, handling our table, there weren’t any toe-stubbing moments during lunch proper. I will say, however, that I was a bit put off by the discrepancy between the $98 six-course lunch tasting menu the reservationist described thirty days before our meal and the actual $130 price tag that doesn’t even include Egg Caviar,* but it’s not enough to prevent me from re-visiting Jean-Georges’ flagship nor from recommending it to those looking to experience a three-star Michelin restaurant at an affordable price.
*Carrying a $30 supplement, it’s one of five items that carry a surcharge.