NYC: Jean Georges (Apr. 2012)
Authors: Victor and Monty
Restaurant: Jean Georges
Exec Chef: Jean-Georges Vongerichten
Date: April 2, 2012
Dinner (Spring Tasting Menu)
Victor’s Note: I forgot the menu, so I’ve filled in the descriptions with what I remember.
Monte’s Note: This meal was amazing for its memorably distinct flavor profiles. A lot of the different flavors were very bold and concentrated, which revealed superb ingredients as well as fantastic cooking technique. Also, a psychological plus was seeing Jean-Georges there himself surveying the dining room like a pirate captain making sure the ship is upright. And yes, the ship runs very smoothly and is in great shape.
Trio of Amuses-Bouche:
Victor: I forgot what these were, and it doesn’t help that I didn’t take a picture :(.
Caviar, meyer lemon gelée, and crème fraîche.
Monte: The gelee had a very firm texture which made it very chewy and almost meaty. The meatiness worked well with the caviar in terms of making the dish substantial and almost savory, but yet the acid and brightness of the lemon still reminded the eater that this was, at the heart of it, a fruit dish.
Victor: I forgot the details of this course :(. It’s also hard to find the description online because nearly all the Jean Georges scallop pictures are of the “scallops with caramelized cauliflower and raisin-caper emulsion” dish. That dish IS pretty amazing, but I want to know about THIS one :(.
Monte: I remember babbling about how I wanted to put these scallops on my face so my skin could absorb some of the tenderness from the scallops onto my cheeks. The scallops were really sweet and combined with the lemon dressing to escort the mouth to seafood heaven.
Asparagus with morel mushrooms.
Monte: This dish was a pretty stark contrast to the prior two. Whereas the lemon and scallops were acidic and sweet, the morels were earthy and rich – almost like foie, but with a more truffle-esque flavor. These were the best mushrooms I’ve had in my life, bar none. The waiter told us that the morels had just arrived in season and the ingredient really shined. The texture was initially springy like tripe, but at the same time was as tender as any other mushroom and did not have any of the chewiness of tripe. I really liked this dish.
Halibut steamed with kaffir lime, herbal lemongrass sauce, and white asparagus.
Monte: Jean Georges really showed off their flair for Asian flavors by combining this flaky seabass with really smoky, sour, and sweet sauce that reminded me of thai green curry.
Lobster with DELICIOUS gnocchi (which JG does very, very well).
Monte: Oh good lordy lord is there anything better than crispy yet pillowy gnocchi paired with sweet lobster meat? I really don’t know the secret to Jean George’s gnocchi – I’ve had gnocchi that was soft and pillowy, and gnocchi that was crispy on the outside, but never have I had gnocchi that was such a perfect combination of the two textures. The gnocchi at first is deliciously crunchy, but everything else just lusciously gives away and melts in your mouth.
Rack of lamb with vegetables on the side.
Monte: Such a hunk! Yeah girls used to tell me that all the time. Now I use the same line on pieces of lamb. This lamb was simply a perfectly cooked chop – with a salty sweet sauce and very tender texture.
Spring Dessert Tasting: Rhubarb.
From top left clockwise: Rhubarb and yogurt parfait, rhubarb tart, rhubarb puree with fritters, rhubarb creamsicle.
Victor: I remember the bottom two being VERY good, the top left being mediocre, and the top right being solid/above average.
Monte: The creamsicle was really fun to eat because of its creativity and nostalgic effect. I liked the puree tastewise, due to the purity of the sweet rhubarb flavor. The other two dishes I was less of a fan of, since the rhubarb was too tart in those dishes for my liking. Still, everything else about the meal was quite exquisite. I still remember quite distinctively how everything tasted, even six months later. It’s literally been unforgettable.
Victor: Jean Georges usually gives a few macarons, chocolates, vanilla-bean marshmallows, and so on, but I apparently didn’t take a picture of them :(.