Jean-Georges, New York (June 2012)

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. 

 Fluke sashimi with miso, serrano and cantaloupe, mozzarella with strawberry and strawberry-balsamic, and watercress soup with radish and creme fraiche

Foie terrine, pumpkin seeds, granola and sour cherries
Yellowfin tuna ribbons, avocado, spicy radish and ginger
Sea scallops, caramelized cauliflower, nutmeg and caper-raisin emulsion

 Crispy sweetbread, maitake mushrooms, chives and hibiscus
Crispy crab, pink peppercorn, mustard and tropical fruit

Vanilla bean ice cream, molten chocolate cake, Meyer lemon granité, powdered sugar and vanilla cream

Vanilla marshmallows

Strawberry-coconut macarons

House-made chocolates

8 thoughts on “Jean-Georges, New York (June 2012)

  1. Glad to see that the meal was a success. Whether you planned it this way or not, it's quite fortuitous that you posted reviews of Jean-Georges, Benu, and Zingerman's Roadhouse more or less at once–it really gives one the chance to compare not only the three restaurants but their (very different) geographical contexts as well.

  2. That's a great observation, one for which I cannot claim intent: the benu write-up needed to get done given that the meal was at the end of May, Jean-Georges was my shortest meal in New York and the Zingerman's post mainly consisted of photos, so it could be a quick turn-around. My longer meals in New York, especially EMP and Per Se, will probably take a week to get up.Do you have any dining plans on the horizon?

  3. Looking forward to your reviews of EMP and Per Se! As for upcoming dining plans, I'm going back to Maine and will revisit some of my favorite restaurants there; I'll also be going to the White Barn Inn in Kennebunkport for the first time in about a week and a half. In early August I'm heading back to Chicago for a conference and will likely dine at Graham Elliot (at long last.)

  4. I'm glad you enjoyed JG. It was my favorite meal in NY when I visited (at the time the lunch prix fixe still carried the hefty $26 price tag). The foie gras with breakfast ingredients seems quite compelling. And that sweetbread is the biggest I've seen!

  5. My JG meal took place in 2010, at which time I hadn't started blogging or documenting meals. I will need to return to New York in the future for sure.

  6. Yeah, I hear you. It's really difficult to put together a dining agenda given that there are always new places that attract attention–the Nomad, for instance–but also places to which I'd like to return. At this point, I cannot imagine a trip to New York without a lunch at EMP.

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