1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
HI GUYZ! It’s been awhile since I’ve done a real blog post. Going to try to get back at it now that the weather is nicer and I’m less inclined to stay home and cook (follow my instagram @whatshisees to see my daily cookeries!). Today’s blog post is from a recent Ladies Lunch I went to with the lovely K.C, B.J., and J.N. As I mentioned in my Betony post, going to fancy restaurants is fun for me in the same way going to a museum is… I admire art and creativity. I usually don’t go for a really satisfying, tasty meal (given that my favorite foods consist of dumplings, noodles, and pizza… you can see why). Luckily for me, Jean Georges ended up being both beautiful and very, very tasty.
If you’re a chronic bruncher or lunch-deal-hunter, you probably know that Jean Georges has one of the best lunch deals. Where else can you go to a Michelin star restaurant for a $48 meal? The $48 lunch deal is a 2-course meal. Any additional “courses” costs $24. We each had two courses and added an additional dessert course because, well, because! And looking back on my journey, it was well worth it. Anyway, let me begin to describe my culinary journey at this fancy pants place.
Bread: Decent. Just decent. The sesame bread was my favorite because it was light and very, very sesame-y (do you like my descriptors?) The bread definitely wasn’t as good as at Betony. I’m going to Bouley next week where the free bread is supposed to be awesome. That’s the only reason I’ve been dying to go! #bread4lyfe
Our meal started with a little amuse bouche featuring a trio of different flavors and textures. Starting clockwise is a tiny bit of soup, a roasted portabello mushroom, and a swirl of smoked salmon. Every item was pretty unique and flavorful, but didn’t really go together. I feel like each was meant to stimulate a different taste profile on my tongue… to get all my taste buds wired and ready to go. Good job Mr. Amuse Bouche. It worked.
This… this… might be my favorite uni dish of all time. And I’ve had a lot of uni things. B.J. and I ordered it for our first course. It is a trio of Santa Barbara urchin (only the best) over a thick slab of butter, on top of toasted black bread. It’s topped with the most amazing flakes of sea salt and a tiny slice of jalepeno. Oh, and there’s yuzu somewhere in there. The ginormous slab of urchin was sweet and creamy, only to be made more creamy and delicious with the butter. The yuzu added a nice citrusy kick to the creaminess, and the jalepeno added a little bit of heat at the end of your bite. The toasted black bread was a nice addition to help soak in some of the flavors. Honestly, just so much YUM in my mouth. AND THERE WERE THREE OF THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!
Which is just called the “Egg Caviar”, also a $40 supplement. Usually only offered on the dinner menu I believe. K.C. had it once before and had literally dreamt of eating it again ever since. We encouraged her to be a brat and demand that they swapped out the toasted yolk one for this.
J.N. got the diver scallops and caramelized cauliflower and caper-raisin emulsion ($8 supplement). I had a bite and remember it being pretty great but at that moment was too overwhelmed by my yuzu uni that I couldn’t really focus on anything else.
For our mains, I got the Crispy Confit of Suckling Pig with Rhutabaga “pudding” and Smoked Bacon Marmalade. You had me at “suckling pig” and “bacon”. I cared for no other item on the menu. Rhutabaga, btw, other than fun-to-say, is a very tasty yellow turnip. The rhutabaga (rhutabaga-rhutabaga! Makes me want to do a little chant and march) “pudding” was less like a pudding and more like a very creamy, smooth spread. It was surprisingly light. The suckling pig had an amazingly thick crispy skin that sat on top this juicy, fatty, tender cut of pig. Delicious. Bacon marmalade was not as bacon-y as I expected but also didn’t need to be because the suckling was way more than enough for flavor.
Random, this dish reminded me a LOT of a dish I had at Borkonyha Winekitchen in Budapest, another Michelin star place (nbd).
K.C. had the Sautéed Veal Scallopine with flying pig ham, mushrooms, and lavender. She shared this time :) The dish really tasted like how it looks. Imagine a veal bacon sautéed with butter and delicious mushrooms… that’s what this dish was.
B.J. got the Black Bass Crusted with Nuts and Seeds with a sweet and sour jus. The dish was overall incredibly fresh and light. There wasn’t anything particularly unique about it but it was definitely a very well-made dish of fish, fish dish. Something I would love to master in my own kitchen.
J.N. got the Skate with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds, spaghetti squash, and soy-yuzu broth. Also a very light fish dish but somehow less memorable than the bass. I think the flavors from the veggies in the bass created a much fuller flavor than this soy-yuzu broth.
Dessert time. The desserts at Jean Georges come in themes. You can either pick one item from a theme or pick a whole theme and the restaurant will serve you all the items (in mini versions) from the theme. I went with the Citrus theme, which came with a cup of Grapefruit Granite, Tonic, and Vanilla Meringue on one side. Then on the other, Cheesecake, Meyer Lemon Jam, Blood Orange, and Candied Citrus.
The cheesecake had the perfect 50/50 ratio of cheesecake to crust (normal cheesecakes need to emulate this). It was so pretty I didn’t really want to eat it. But I did. The little dollops of things sprinkled on top added sweet and sour flavors to each bite. There were chewy and crispy textures. It was delicious.
The cup of “grapefruit granite” was SO refreshing. It was cold, citrusy, and creamy at the same time. Great way to end the meal.
K.C. and J.N. both got the Caramel theme, which came with Salted Caramel Ice Cream, a “Floating Island”, a Caramelized Banana Tart, and a Crisp Puff Pastry filled with warm Caramel Pastry Cream. Also very pretty, though less unique than the Citrus theme I think. Then again, why fix something that isn’t broken? Caramel and banana just go really well together. The “floating island” was like a marshmallow. Not sure how it was floating because I definitely saw it sitting on the plate.
B.J. got the Chocolate theme, which was also one of those “why fix something that isn’t broken” kinds of dishes. Just classic. It came with a roll of Milk Chocolate Custard covered with strips of candied orange, smoked salt meringue, and hazenuts, a Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream, and White Chocolate Ice Cream. The best thing I think was actually, surprisingly, the milk chocolate custard. It was so creamy and rich, like a fudge but a bit lighter. Delicious!
THEEEN as we were about to pay, we got a plate of petit fours. I can’t remember what everything was… one was like a fancy snickers bar. All were great but I was stuffed to the brim at this point with all kinds of flavors and richness that I couldn’t really enjoy these babies.
If you order tea, it comes with this super cute little jar of honey that J.N. forgot to steal! ALSO big tip, ORDER COFFEE with your dessert because it’s only $5 and it’ll make your dessert that much better. I wouldn’t know because I didn’t order coffee but I watched J.N. enviously throughout the last course of our meal.
That’s all, friends! Highly recommend this spot for a nice lunch place. Food strikes a great balance of being interesting but also just objectively tasty at the same time. I’ll be back with the rents when they’re in town.