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Jean Georges and Nougatine 2005 - 2008


mukki
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I ate at Nougatine on the 5th May as I could not get a reservation for the Main Dining room and was unimpressed with the food. The only course that was admired was the Foie Gras Brule and one course arrived arrived tepid and had to be sent back. The rest of the food, while nothing wrong with it never impressed or was a verging on bland so we skipped desert.

Perhaps we were just unlucky as I understand that Nougatine is used to try new dishes before they move into the main dining room is successful.

The service however was very good and the cold dish issue was dealt with very professionally.

Compared to the other meals we had in the USA at higher end restaurants this was at the least rated.

I hadn't heard that Nougatine was a testing ground for J-G either, but that doesn't mean that it isn't so. While Nougatine is clearly not thought of on this Forum nearly the way that Jean-Georges is, I imagine that it must have some fans of its own. If not, then why does it still exist? It would seem to me that perhaps the concept of Nougatine - at least in an adjacent space to J-G should be jettisoned with the kitchen devoted entirely to the mother-ship. Perhaps, the answer lies in the fact that the restaurants reside in a hotel and the hotel likes a less formal option along with Jean-Georges. For someone who wishes to sample the great food of the J-G-V empire in a less formal setting I would suggest Perry Street.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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well...for one thing...you can walk into Nougatine at dinner without a reservation and have one or two dishes at the bar without a tasting menu or prix fixe. but yeah, I always thought it was just the casual, less ambitious "tavern room" a la Gramercy Tavern.

edit: but I completely second Perry Street as the more casual way to approach JG.

Edited by Nathan (log)
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I understand that Nougatine is used to try new dishes before they move into the main dining room if successful

Ok I may be wrong about try new dishes. But when I made the reservation I was asked did I want the fine or casual dining room - our schedule and other commitments - meant I had to accept the 'casual' option. I was expecting similar food but less high end ingredients. No mention was ever made of Nougatine.

But when there it seems some of the dishes on offer were similar (from what I read on here - E.g. Foie Gras Brule) to what was served in the main dining room. So it may be true and would seem to be a good idea - perhaps we just got the bad ideas and with service dedicated to the main room that's why we had a cold dish.

To be honest, I don't remember where I heard that Nougatine was a testing ground it could have been from a friend in the UK or on t'internet somewhere but I was very disappointed and it was my 'worst' (in quotes as the meal was ok but nothing to write home about) for one of my USA destination restaurants.

I still want to eat at Jean George (Fine dining restaurant) from comments here, so may try again next time I visit NYC but perhaps their reservation desk should call it Nougatine and not the casual dining room.

At least a lesson for anyone else booking at JG.

Edited by ermintrude (log)

Time flies like an arrow, fruit flies like a banana.

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I find it odd, and irksome, that the Jean Georges Restaurant Group does not post the menus for any of their restaurants online - especially in light of the fact that (unlike many other high-end restaurants), J-G restaurant menus are fairly stable and don't really change drastically night-to-night.

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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My lunch menu from last Wednesday. I was solo, and the waiter was awesome. Brought me a copy of the NYT, and mutually complained about Bruni reviewing Katz's.

The Constant Bliss cheese from Vermont was one of my all time faves.

Mango Gazpacho Ginger Oil, Herb Spring Roll, Shrimp w/Pickled Fennel and oil

Sea Urchin, Brown Bread, Yuzu squeeze, Sliver of Jalapeno

Foie Gras Brulee (embedded strawberries) over toasted brioche with strawberry jus, 25 yo Balsamic, micro something

Nut crusted black bass, Fingerling Potatoes, Grape Tomatoes, Sweet and Sour broth, Pearl Onions

Roasted sweetbread, Artichoke Jam, Rosemary Oil

Cheese (constant bliss, blue) Walnuts, Walnut Raisin Breat, Rhubarb Ginger compote

Spring Dessert (Melon Sorbet with Diced Cantelope) hazelnut tort, nutella type spread

Citrus Dessert (Grapefruit cream, Lemon Sorbet, dried Orange) Chocolate Lemon tart.

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Went last week, solo as well. I have to say that--hands down--JG for lunch is the best deal in the city. Eight courses or so with a couple of wines came to around $125. If you went across the street to Per Se, you'd be looking at $210 minimum, and the food certainly wouldn't be as interesting. Here's what I had (from memory):

Amuse

Same as the guy above

Trout sashimi, trout roe, dill puree, lemon sabayon

Good, but I thought the intensity of the lemon overwhelmed the trout.

Foie gras brulee, tristar strawberries, balsamic, opal basil

Enough has been said about this dish. Brilliant.

Skate, sauce vin jaune, etc

Skate was perfectly cooked, moist and delicate. The sauce is perfect...rich, a touch sweet (you definitely get a note of that caramely-oxidized thing going on from the jura wine), with a little background heat from (I'm assuming) cayenne.

Roasted sweetbreads, artichoke jam, rosemary oil, arugula

One of the best sweetbreads dishes I've ever had. They were pefectly cooked, buttery but with a solid texture...not mushy like a lot of examples I've had lately. The artichoke jam was insanely flavorful.

Short rib vinaigrette

The ribs were braised in vinegar with mint and jalepeno. Words are inadequate to the task of describing how good this dish was, so I won't bother trying.

Cheese

Let's see if I can remember...there were four, an epoisse from Burgundy, Tomme de Chataignier, some domestic parmesan, and one other. I'm by no means a cheese expert, but they were all delicious.

Rhubarb

Rhubarb granite with buttermilk and gooseberries, rhubarb-pine nut cake with vanilla creme fraiche. Solid ending to a great meal.

Mignardises

I have to agree with everyone regarding the macaroons. Very odd texture, almost like those pastel after dinner mints you get at some restaurants. The chocolates and the marshmallows, however, were delicious.

Nothing to see here.

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Roasted sweetbreads, artichoke jam, rosemary oil, arugula

One of the best sweetbreads dishes I've ever had.  They were pefectly cooked, buttery but with a solid texture...not mushy like a lot of examples I've had lately.  The artichoke jam was insanely flavorful.

I have not yet had sweetbreads at Jean Georges. Sigh

How was service?

“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.”

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

My flickr account

ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Roasted sweetbreads, artichoke jam, rosemary oil, arugula

One of the best sweetbreads dishes I've ever had.  They were pefectly cooked, buttery but with a solid texture...not mushy like a lot of examples I've had lately.  The artichoke jam was insanely flavorful.

I have not yet had sweetbreads at Jean Georges. Sigh

How was service?

My service was awesome. The sweetbread was prepared perfectly--any idea how they cooked that?

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Roasted sweetbreads, artichoke jam, rosemary oil, arugula

One of the best sweetbreads dishes I've ever had.  They were pefectly cooked, buttery but with a solid texture...not mushy like a lot of examples I've had lately.  The artichoke jam was insanely flavorful.

I have not yet had sweetbreads at Jean Georges. Sigh

How was service?

Service was great. Very natural, not fawning or overbearing. You can tell it's a veteran crew.

Nothing to see here.

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Service was great.  Very natural, not fawning or overbearing.  You can tell it's a veteran crew.

Interesting. I had lunch at Jean Georges on Monday, but the service was a disaster. In the course of my 1.5 hour lunch, a roll got dropped at my feet, the waiter tipped over a glass at the table behind us, another waiter splashed olive oil all over the tablecloth when spooning mushrooms into my soup and all the servers seemed generally befuddled. Our waiter was extremely nice, but it just didn't seem like a four star meal.

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My comment must have jinxed them.

Service was great.  Very natural, not fawning or overbearing.  You can tell it's a veteran crew.

Interesting. I had lunch at Jean Georges on Monday, but the service was a disaster. In the course of my 1.5 hour lunch, a roll got dropped at my feet, the waiter tipped over a glass at the table behind us, another waiter splashed olive oil all over the tablecloth when spooning mushrooms into my soup and all the servers seemed generally befuddled. Our waiter was extremely nice, but it just didn't seem like a four star meal.

Nothing to see here.

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My comment must have jinxed them.

Service was great.  Very natural, not fawning or overbearing.  You can tell it's a veteran crew.

Interesting. I had lunch at Jean Georges on Monday, but the service was a disaster. In the course of my 1.5 hour lunch, a roll got dropped at my feet, the waiter tipped over a glass at the table behind us, another waiter splashed olive oil all over the tablecloth when spooning mushrooms into my soup and all the servers seemed generally befuddled. Our waiter was extremely nice, but it just didn't seem like a four star meal.

Just to clarify, I didn't mean to make it sound like the food wasn't four star. The food was great. The servers were extremely nice, but not extremely competent. I hope they're not jinxed though!

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  • 3 months later...

For the sake of completeness, a look at the new JG dining room courtesy of Eater can be seen here.

I think it looks nice but definitely not as warm as the original. The previous room was lots of creams, tans, and light browns with some greenery thrown in for effect. This is more sleek, rounder, with a more modern, cooler color palate.

I like the light fixture, though.

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I must admit to being a big-time J-G fan. Last time in New York in early August (just before the make-over), went for dinner, and then on a whim back for lunch. At dinner there were four of us, we all ordered different things, and so we got to taste quite a range of what was on the menu. At lunch, (in the formal room - another vote for one of the great bargains in the world of eating), we were sans one, and the theme was to have whatever we each liked best from dinner. Everyone immediately chose the Charred Corn Ravioli - simply one of the most delicious dishes I have ever had anywhere. For my other dish, I chose one of J-G's well-deserved classics - Skate with Chateau Chalon sauce. That sauce, that sauce, my kingdom for that sauce!! Just fantastic. At the end of the meal had a lovely chat with Lia, of fleeting Top Chef fame, who was running the kitchen for lunch. Very charming. And then off to the airport to head home, happily fed.

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Jean-Georges fans may be interested to know that he's started a blog, presumably to promote his forthcoming book. It's worth noting that in one of his posts he mentions that he no longer works weekends, so don't make a Sat. reservation if you hope to find him in the kitchen.

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On a somewhat related note, I actually like the blog. I recognize it's all a promotional effort, but it comes off as quite humanizing and well-written. I also was unfamiliar with the particularly brand of steam oven that he seems to be in love with.

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We had lunch today at Jean-Georges, and afterwards we asked to see the oven, which they took us to. I'm getting ahead of myself here, but the skate which was cooked in it was just phenomenal.

Anyway, for lunch we had:

Foie Gras Brulé with Slowly Roasted Strawberries and Aged Balsamic:

gallery_11181_4392_95449.jpg

(They also very nicely accommodated my strawberry allergy and made me one without the roasted strawberries woven through it because I was clever enough to call the day before; not photographed.)

Green Asparagus with Morels and Asparagus Juice:

gallery_11181_4392_66279.jpg

Charred Corn Ravioli with Cherry Tomato Salad and Basil Fondue:

gallery_11181_4392_75075.jpg

Skate with the Château Chalon Sauce:

gallery_11181_4392_111005.jpg

Roasted Sweetbreads with Fragrant Pickled Peach, Wild Arugula, and Pink Peppercorns:

gallery_11181_4392_14831.jpg

We weren't as crazy over the charred corn ravioli as Frege apparently was, but it was certainly nice. The skate was outstanding and had a particularly wonderful batch of Chalon sauce, and the sweetbreads were other-worldly.

The photos, which are larger than ImageGullet will allow, can be seen here:

my Jean-Georges lunch photos

(edited to add smaller versions of the photos after all)

Edited by markk (log)

Overheard at the Zabar’s prepared food counter in the 1970’s:

Woman (noticing a large bowl of cut fruit): “How much is the fruit salad?”

Counterman: “Three-ninety-eight a pound.”

Woman (incredulous, and loud): “THREE-NINETY EIGHT A POUND ????”

Counterman: “Who’s going to sit and cut fruit all day, lady… YOU?”

Newly updated: my online food photo extravaganza; cook-in/eat-out and photos from the 70's

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I had lunch today at JG. The makeover is fine (banquettes are quite comfortable), but I prefer the overall effect of the old style -- a bit warmer and the room didn't look quite as small.

We had several of the same dishes as markk. The Foie Gras Brulee with Slowly Roasted Strawberries and Aged Balsamic has to be my favorite rendition of the JG foie gras dish yet. The strawberries were perfect with the foie, which I wasn't expecting. Sea Trout Sashimi Draped in Trout Eggs, Lemon, Dill and Horseradish was great, as always, but I much preferred my foie this time. The Green Asparagus with Morels and Asparagus Juice was fantastic -- the hollandaise and asparagus juice were a delightful combo. I was told that today was the last day for morels, though, so this won't be available again for a while. I highly recommend it. After the foie gras and the asparagus, the Charred Corn Ravioli, Cherry Tomato Salad and Basil Fondue wasn't quite as amazing as I had hoped, though the ravioli corn filling -- sweet and silky -- was very tasty.

I know a lot of people complain about the macarons, but I enjoy them everytime.

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I also was unfamiliar with the particularly brand of steam oven that he seems to be in love with.

Winston Industries' C-Vap has been quite the rage in many top professional kitchens over the past year or so in addition to Jean-George's. Wylie Dufresne, for example, uses this in lieu of sous vide cooking with a water bath. Temperature control is apparently extremely precise and proteins can be cooked to temperature as with a water bath. In lieu of the plastic bag they can simply be wrapped in plastic theoretically avoiding a completely anaerobic environment that might be conducive to botulism. The device and techniques associated with it probably deserves its own topic if it doesn't already have one.

John Sconzo, M.D. aka "docsconz"

"Remember that a very good sardine is always preferable to a not that good lobster."

- Ferran Adria on eGullet 12/16/2004.

Docsconz - Musings on Food and Life

Slow Food Saratoga Region - Co-Founder

Twitter - @docsconz

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