Sunday, December 01, 2013

New York Eats: Jean-Georges

Trump International Hotel and Tower
1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
Tel: +1 (212) 299 3900

If you're in New York and want to have a fine dining experience with excellent value, there's no place better than lunch at Jean-Georges. Where else can you find a 2 course lunch for USD38 at a 3 Michelin Star restaurant? 

Jean-Georges opened its doors in 1997 and is considered the crown jewel of Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurant empire. French-born Chef Jean-Georges trained under some famous chefs such as Paul Bocuse before heading to places in Asia such as Singapore and Hong Kong to continue his training. It was there that he developed his love for flavours of the East and shaped his style of cooking today. Housed in the Trump International Hotel and Tower on the southwest corner of Central Park, Jean-Georges' dining room is filled with lots of natural light, bright, clean and inviting. As in a typical 3 Star restaurant, all the staff we met (including the greeters at the entrance) at Jean-Georges were incredibly personal, friendly and professional.


The lunch menu we had was peppered with Chef Jean-George's signature Asian influences throughout and on the whole, rather delightful. R and I obviously couldn't stick to 2 courses and opted to add 2 additional courses to our last lunch in the Big Apple. We started with a complimentary amuse bouche which was made up of 3 canapes - a broccoli soup, a crispy celeraic tempura and seasonal greens with a wasabi pecan crust. (I did ask what "greens" they were but I lost track after she was telling me about the 5th or 6th ingredient so that's how I can describe it at best.)

Black Bread, JalapeƱo and Yuzu
We got off to a pretty good start with the appetisers. R chose the Uni from Santa Barbara which were sweet and creamy. I made the choice (an excellent one I might add) of having the Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons which I've read to be one of the signature dishes of the restaurant. This was probably one of the top 10 dishes I ate all trip. The flavours all made sense and paired well together. The tuna was fresh and meaty and the ginger marinade was such a tasty sauce - it was delicious.

Avocado and Spicy Radish, Ginger Marinade

The Crab Dumplings and Foie Gras Brulee could not be more opposite dishes. The dumplings had a nice thin wanton wrapper and were filled with morsels of sweet crab. The broth that was flavoured with meyer lemon made the dish a really light and refreshing one. The foie gras on the other hand, was pretty rich and relied on the fig jam to help contrast the richness of the star of the dish.

Celeriac-Meyer Lemon Tea

Spiced Fig Jam and Toasted Brioche

I really enjoyed my main of Arctic Char. It's not usually a fish that we eat in this part of the world which is why I was keen to try it. The fish was cooked to a perfect medium rare, had a nice flaky texture and tasted somewhat like ocean trout which is one of my favourite fishes to eat. The truffle crumbs that coated the fish was incredibly tasty and I could not get enough of the smooth and silky parsnip puree. The Suckling Pig was also memorable - the pork was moist and the skin was crispy.

with Black Burgundy Truffle Crumbs, Crispy Parsnips

 Baby Beets and Ginger Vinaigrette

Dessert was pretty interesting as each choice presented a theme and from there, a trio of desserts would be served. R picked 'Chocolate' which showcased the 3 different types of chocolates prepared in a variety of methods. R's favourite was the comforting Warm Chocolate Cake which had a gooey chocolate centre when it was cut into. The peach tart in my 'Stone Fruit' dessert was pretty good too although I wished there was more pastry. I did like the almond tofu more than I expected since I hadn't been much of a fan of it when I was younger.

White Chocolate Ice Cream, Yuzu Sorbet
Milk Chocolate Custard, Mango Gel, Smoked Salt Meringue
Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

Almond Tofu, Nectarine Compote and Lavender
Warm Peach Tart, Corn Ice Cream, White Peach Puree and Lemon Thyme

We capped off the lunch with some petit fours, a few cups of hot tea before spending the rest of the day exploring what we had left of the time in the city. Lunch at Jean-Georges was pretty enjoyable though not the best of the 3 star restaurants we visited. However, for the value, I'd highly recommend a visit during lunch. In fact the next time I'm back in New York and if I'm looking for a laidback lunch with good food and great service in a beautiful space, I'd be sure to visit Jean-Georges again.


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