Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Best Lunch Ever: Jean-Georges

Jean-Georges is a three Michelin-starred restaurant, one of 8 in the United States, and one of 81 in the entire world. I have been eyeing it to be my first fancy meal since moving to New York, especially since it has one of the best lunch deals in town: 2 courses for $29, and each additional course another $14.50.  The dinner option is 3 courses for $98, so you can see what an absolute bargoon lunch could be.  With my birthday in the air, I finally had reason to celebrate here, and celebrate we did!

Jean-Georges is located in the Trump Hotel at Columbus Circle

The food lineup:

Servers walk around with two bread options.  Slices of wheat bread (above) or bread rolls (below)

Do not get this roll unless you want to look like a dog gnawing on a bone  Hardest roll ever.

Butter. Classy.

Two handmade sodas: lemon ginger and passionfruit yuzu.  Fresh, sparkly and so delightful.

The amuse bouche trio

Watermelon with a morsel of lemon, sprinkle of seasalt and a sliver of scallions.  Love.

Fresh mozzarella with fresh rasberries, sea salt and edible flowers.  Too pretty to eat, but was just as pretty in taste.

Chamomile chicken soup, to drink like a shot.  Super rich and creamy.

Caramelized cauliflowers atop sea scallops in a raisin-caper emulsion.

This was incredible.  The sauce was so luscious and thick and the cauliflower...the flavor combinations accenting the fresh taste of the sea scallops was phenomenal.

Soft shell crab with shiso-yuzu mayonnaise and some Boston lettuce

The soft shell crab was meaty and crispy.  And again with the unbelievable sauce.  Cannot get enough.

The veal, topped with special ham from Upstate New York, lightly pan fried and topped with fresh peas; the sauce was poured tableside

Hands down, my favorite.  The veal was incredibly flavorful, the ham lent a certain savoriness, and the meat had these DELECTABLE crispy edges.  I just looked at the current menu, and the veal offering appears to have changed.  Shame.  I would go again in a heartbeat and just order two of these.

Roasted halibut in an "aromatic spice broth", poured tableside, scallions and fava beans

Fish cooked right tastes just so right, and this halibut was perfection.  Impossibly white and flaky, juicy and fresh.  The sauce was buttery with hints of spices.

After we finished our two courses, J and I ordered a dessert to share, but our server surprised me with an additional birthday dessert!

Chocolate lava cake with vanilla bean ice cream

The Happy Birthday scroll was made out of marzipan and completely edible; I totally ate half of it shamelessly

Love! Molten! Cakes !!  The cake was delish, but how could it not be?  Still, I would not opt to order this vs. Jean-Georges' other creative dessert selections; you can get molten cakes anywhere, but pea shoot ice cream?  Good luck finding that elsewhere.

If you choose not to order a dessert, do not fear.  Jean-Georges will not let you leave without satiating your sweet tooth.  First, this vested man will cut homemade marshmallows and serve them at your table.  Then he will give you a couple of other delicious dessert bites.

The complimentary petit four desserts

Vanilla bean marshmallows.  Feather-light, soft pillowy clouds

Strawberry rhubarb macarons

Unbelievably delicious.  I know Greeshma and I hate rhubarb, but mixed with strawberry - this macaron was pure bliss.

A cross-section of one of the chocolates.  Each was a different flavor and all very unique and distinct.

Jean-Georges had four dessert options titled different things like, "Garden," "Rhubarb," "Citrus" or "Chocolate" and each is a plate with various items that fit under the title. I struggled between picking the Garden or Citrus, but in the end, I selected Garden.

One half of the Garden featured: "chocolate cremeux, mochi, blackberries and hazelnut."  This was a fascinating bunch of textures and flavors.  The chocolate truffle looking things had the consistency of mochi, the purple jelly roll tasted like a gourmet fruit rollup (a lovely one at that), and the raspberry dust had a sharp, strong tanginess that I cannot even describe.  Together, they presented a full-on taste explosion.

The other half of the Garden was sweet pea ice cream served atop a bitter almond macaron.  This was simple but quite wonderful.  We had our doubts on sweet pea as an ice cream, but the flavor totally works, and I love the fresh pea shoot sprig garnish.  This dessert will totally cheer you up from anything.  I promise!

All in all, this meal was the best dining experience I have had in a very long time.  The service is impeccable.  The plates are brought out in perfect order; the servers immediately remove plates after both parties have finished eating and then they bring out the next plates simultaneously so that everyone has a plate at the exact same time.  When we had the fish and veal, the servers also poured the sauces at the exact same time.  It was really such a fantastic experience, that I encourage EVERYONE to eat here at least once and experience this exquisite restaurant.  Treat yourself!   You deserve it!

1 Central Park West
New York, NY
Lunch is served M-Sat
Jean-Georges on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. oh my gosh my stomach is so jealous right now it's not even funny. everything looks soooooooo perfect. so glad you had a fab bday lunch :) ugh. passion fruit yuzu?!? absolutely amazing. and those desserts? ridiculously awesome.