Jean Georges, New York

“He makes foie gras creme brulee”, is the first I ever heard of Jean Georges Vongerichten, the French demi-god of modern, cross cultural cooking. The next I heard of him was about his unique style of marrying south-east Asian cooking to traditional French, which became a source of instant inspiration. The third time I heard of Jean Georges was about his global empire of restaurants, one that people like Gordon Ramsay could only aspire towards (but as we all know, failed spectacularly). It thus goes without saying that my first trip to New York would necessitate  and even demand a visit to the flagship of, what I’ve always felt, one of the finest chefs in the world – regardless of it being the rainiest day in New York for over 500 years, but luckily when that happened, I was cosily seated. The only niggle I have is that the reception area is far too small to accommodate customers for both Nougatine (the brasserie) and Jean Georges (the restaurant proper), but that aside, the spectacular full sized windows would, on a normal day, offer pristine views of Central Park, when on my visit, they offered a cosy warmth of being able to watch the torrential downpour whilst sipping on a glass of Gruner Veltliner. 

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Amuses
Meyer lemon
Hamachi


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Asparagus

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An intriguing mix of nibbles brought forth our amuses in the guise of Fugu sashimi, oyster fritter, English pea and coconut soup  – each outdoing the other, but the champion being the oyster fritter – exploding as you bite into it into a cool oyster liquid!

A classic re-imagined became a meyer lemon filled with its own jelly, topped with a giant hunk of caviar and a dab of creme fraiche – light, refreshing, and has you scraping the barrel clean.

Hamachi sashimi, avocado, yuzu and radish – delicate, simple and elegant – a praise to the quality of the ingredients.

Green asparagus and avocado salad, sorrel dressing, sesame – when some of your favourite ingredients are all on the same plate, there’s not much else you can say but ‘aaahhhh’, but when these ingredients are put together in the simplest, lightest of ways, your head does swoon, and even though there was a repetition of avocado, Miss H and I both felt that this was, just, bloody good and the plate even got licked clean.

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Skate
Lamb

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Steamed skate with new onion vinaigrette, spring vegetables continued the meal in its delicate and fresh avatar with one being able to taste the distinct flavours of each component, each little piece of vegetable on the plate, with the creamy lightness of the skate reigned in by the tangy and earthy whip of the vinaigrette.

I think I did a few mental back flips for our main course of Rack of lamb, smoked chilli glaze, spring onion compote that also came with grilled fiddlehead ferns and a pistachio crumb. With everything binding so perfectly, there was no need or reason for a sauce to accompany the dish – a hearty medley of smoke, sweet, umami, nutty, crunchy… it’s all there, orchestrating a rush of endorphins through your entire being.

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Rhubarb
Sesame macaroons
Chocs
Marshmallow

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Not one, but 4! A Rhubarb dessert tasting in 4 different ways. Thank you god, I screamed silently. Moving clockwise from top left:   rhubarb and yoghurt crumble (chilled), rhubarb custard tart with rhubarb puree, rhubarb cocktail with rhubarb fritters, rhubarb and vanilla parfait. As Miss H was quite full at this point, we promptly swapped plates after I practically inhaled all the food on mine, and then repeated to do the same with her dessert plate.

The flurry of petit fours brought forth sesame macaroons, various chocolate and vanilla marshmallow. Not wanting to mar the flavour of the rhubarb, the chocolates got left out, whilst the others were delicate and light enough to not overwhelm  any previous lingerings.

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And just on cue, the rain had stopped as we exited the doors, feeling elated, satiated and brimming with happiness. Sadly Miss H had to rush to work, leaving me to walk a couple of miles, visit the Guggenheim and then walk a couple of miles home. I love New York! And will definitely return to monsieur J.G for many more fabulous meals.

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Food: 10

Overall experience: 10

Recommend you go: Most definitely! 

Website

Jean-Georges on Urbanspoon

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