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Jean Georges and Nougatine 2005 - 2008


mukki
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paula dean was also in the house.  she walked by my table when my boyfriend and i were up to the cheese cart ,and she said, "i don't know how y'all can eat that stinky cheese" in the most beautiful exadurated southern drawl i have ever heard.

Forget Paula. Jean Georges has a cheese cart? I've never seen cheese on the menu at Jean Georges, no less a cart.

Indeed, my friend. Just ask and ye shall receive.

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Hrm, maybe I have seen the cart, though I'm sure I've never seen the cheese menu.

I guess, maybe the reason I've never given cheese a second thought at Jean Georges is because Iuzzini's pastries are some of the only ones I actually DON'T mind eating.

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

Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

ulteriorepicure.com

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ulteriorepicure@gmail.com

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Hrm, maybe I have seen the cart, though I'm sure I've never seen the cheese menu. 

I guess, maybe the reason I've never given cheese a second thought at Jean Georges is because Iuzzini's pastries are some of the only ones I actually DON'T mind eating.

Are they mutually exclusive? :biggrin:

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

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Hrm, maybe I have seen the cart, though I'm sure I've never seen the cheese menu. 

I guess, maybe the reason I've never given cheese a second thought at Jean Georges is because Iuzzini's pastries are some of the only ones I actually DON'T mind eating.

Are they mutually exclusive? :biggrin:

Touché.

“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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Cobbled-together excerpts from the the ulterior epicure. You can see the full tasting menu items on the blog.

Given all the trials and tribulations that Jean Georges seems to have undergone according to the various online food fora in the past half year, I was hesitant to return. Recent reports from two vetted New York taste buds (bad pun intended) left me even more reluctant to consider another meal at one of my favorite restaurants.

The menu is roughshod with citrus, some said. Flavors weren't balanced. Dishes were over-seasoned, over-sauced, or sub-standard. Such reports left me distraught and confused. I didn't have the heart to chance destroying my warm fuzzies for the great JG; it's occupied a cruelly and unfathomably high ledge on my gastronomic altar.

... it turned out to be probably the most enjoyable meal I've ever had at Jean Georges.

I insisted that my friend, a Jean Georges virgin, order the "Signature Tasting... I ordered the "Spring Tasting" (I've had everything on the "Signature Tasting"). The only comment I will make regarding the Signature Tasting is that over the course of my four years of eating at Jean Georges, there really hasn't been any change, either in execution or quality; just price, which has increased by $30, making my very first meal at Jean Georges an absolute steal by today’s standards. Both the “Signature” and the “Spring” tasting menus are currently $148.

As some have noted, there is a noticeable amount of citrus in the current, vernal repertoire. By this, I'm referring to the entire a la carte menu. However, with the exception of the lemon foam on the edamame soup – one in a tryptich of amuses bouche - which was offensively acrid on the first sip, citrus showed up only once on the Spring Tasting: a smoky grilled filet of black bass topped with caramelized radishes was served with a warm grapefruit broth poured tableside. I thought that dish worked wonderfully. The bitterness from the charred skin was nicely complimented by the sweet-heat from the grapefruit broth and earthy sweetness from the caramelized radishes. I admit that where we encountered citrus elsewhere on the menu (we supplemented two dishes), I found the use was a bit more brash. But, more on that later.

The highlights of the "Spring Tasting" for me included the "Egg Toast," "Sashimi of Madai," and the "Butter-Poached Maine Lobster."

This is not to say there weren't a couple of hiccups.

The most notable error was with my last course, a rack of lamb rubbed with spicy chili and coated in panko. It was overcooked. They had not asked for my temperature preference. (Why would they?) I thought it was safe to assume that lamb would be served medium rare, unless otherwise requested/stated. I had not even THOUGHT to bring the matter up. The lamb came out a solid medium-well.

I debated for a few minutes whether to say anything. I RARELY (no pun intended) send anything back - in fact, I'm sure I've not done it in the last few years - not even at The French Laundry when the chicken was clearly over-well-done. But, I wanted to enjoy the lamb (the flavors were really great), so I sent it back. They apologized, of course, and acknowledged that the lamb was way overcooked, reassuring me that the kitchen's standard was medium rare (which is what I requested). The lamb came back a solid medium. Oh well.

We supplemented two courses into the tasting: Jean Georges' famous Foie Gras Brulee and the Roasted Sweetbreads, which were coursed in that order after each of our respective lobster dishes. I can understand how both/either might draw complaints of "over-citrusing."

Despite allegations that the Foie Gras Brulee was shrinking, I found the portion to be quite ample, especially after already having five courses, with two savory left to go. There has also been some dissatisfaction with the pineapple-Meyer lemon confit; an accomplice in the vast citrus conspiracy.

The confit was extremely tart. But, to be fair, it was served separately. It's a condiment that diners can easily moderate (or eliminate) to taste. I used very little and did not find that it clashed or overpowered the puck of creamy foie gras crusted over with a layer of burnt sugar. I am not one to obsess and lust after foie gras in a deviantly unnatural way, like SO many do. However, I would be lying if I said that this foie gras was anything but perfect.

The sweetbreads, on the other hand, were more problematic. They were slightly past-prime on the temperature and texture for me; I like my creamy and molten - just barely set. These were a little more meaty. On first bite, the sweetbreads were incredibly over-salted. Then, I discovered the cube of lime gelatin hiding beneath the pea foam between the two nuggets of meat. It was TERRIBLY tart on its own but helped cut through the (overly) salty sweetbreads. I can see how that kind of interaction/counterbalancing of sour against salty would be successful in a less intense form. If the saltiness of the sweetbreads and the sourness of the lime gelatin were toned down a few notches, it would have been much more successful and palatable combination (not unlike lime on salty tortilla chips).

Maybe it was because I entered bracing (expecting?) for the worst that I walked out of Jean Georges rather thrilled about my meal. Or, maybe the flavors fell upon me differently than for others. Or, maybe I'm more forgiving than most. Or, maybe, for good or for worst, Jean Georges is just as good as it gets. I'd like to think the latter case is true.

Jean Georges has long been a love of mine. I know it's at the top of many a food-lover's list of favorites as well. My latest meal was by no means flawless. But, despite its fumbles and misfires, it certainly gave me no reason to dismiss it the way some have been wont to do.

A word about the remodeled dining room: I don't care for it. I do like the new colour scheme (beige on milk chocolate), but I like very little else (the linen being an exception; it's *lush*). The chaises look like over-sized white Crocs and there's a distracting flying saucer convention going on above; together with the rounded banquettes and couches, the room feels like a circle is being shoved down a square's throat.

But, don't go for the interior décor (or do, you may love it; [i know many on this forum who have said that they do]). Go for the amazing combinations of flavors and presentations that land on your plate. For that, Jean Georges deserves every star in its constellation.

The dessert portion of this meal was quite enjoyable. We had the "Apple," "Chocolate," and "Rhubarb," which was new to the menu as of that day. These are discussed in a separate blog post.

As always, you can see all of the photos from this meal on my Flickr.

“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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  • 3 weeks later...

Was at lunch at JG on Tuesday later in the afternoon. It was an absolutely beautiful day and the room really benefited for it. I've always been a bit skeptical of the new decor since the first photos were released but the room really seemed warmer in the bright light.

As usual, things were excellent, though I think I will concede that reports of an excess of citrus in many of the dishes are not entirely unfounded. I don't think this is simply an instance of an information cascade, as I'm quite sure there were simply more dishes on the menu that featured citrus, particularly lime, than on my past visits. I don't think this hurt the dining experience, but I will admit some items read similarly on the menu.

Amuse of mango champagne cube, grilled shrimp on a skewer, and an edamame soup. The soup was not my favorite of JG's quintessential shooters, but it tasted amazingly healthy and had this wheatgrass-type thing going on.

Foie brulee is now being served with a citrus compote. Awesome as usual. Goat cheese gnocchi were very interesting and also quite acidic. I'm not sure how they made them, but I almost thought of the plate like an appetizer cheese course. Garnished with some very good olive oil and baby artichokes that ranged in texture from crispy to tender.

Midcourse of char with ginger-champagne sabayon was a winner. The sauce was killer and tasted distinctly Asian but not, one of the things JG is best known for. Bacon-wrapped shrimp with avocado and papaya mustard was perfectly executed and a full of huge flavors. A nice foil to the more subtle char dish.

Mains were the smoked squab--I think my favorite JG squab prep yet even if it is very smoky and remains a bit hard to eat--and the sweetbreads. The sweetbreads had both a citrus foam and a citrus gel. These, on their own, were overkill but mixed with the right amount of sweetbread it was spot on. I did feel there was too much gel on the plate, however, necessitating that some be left on the plate for the best possible experience. Still, I really like how JG goes for the untraditional accompaniments with the sweetbreads in every rendition I've had.

Shared a rhubarb dessert. It was exactly what I expected. Nice little mini rhubarb tart-thing, but I still think I like the shortcake at Ssam better.

Edited by BryanZ (log)
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BryanZ

Like yourselves, we enjoyed our lunch at JG two weeks ago.

The sunny day warmed the room, but still left me fondly remembering

older French style restaurants w. colorful banquettes & murals. Service

was very good although we found our head waiter a bit 'pontifical'.

Same amuses...and same reaction to the edame soup...pretty though,with its foam top. We began w. 'The Egg' which never disappoints. Someday [post lottery] I am simply going t order three of these gems! We also shared the same fish courses, loving the artic char. We appreciated the balanced but huge flavors of the avocado-shrimp dish but probably would not select it again.

We had both enthusiastically selected the braised short ribs..but simultaneous first bites had us looking at each other. They tasted of flour or cornstarch or something in that vein. We spoke to our waiter who announced that this could not be as they were only cooked in vinegar. Our determination did not break and we selected substitutes. I forget what my companion ordered [the choices are not many at lunch...one disappointment] and I suspect it was forgettable. I selected the smoked squab. Fortunately for me---a lover of squab but not of smoking---mine was lightly smoked and delicious...not at all too firm.

We ordered different desserts, both tasty but not stellar....finished our wine...nibbled on marshmallows and left two very satisfied ladies.

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Bryan and Paula JK, thanks for the updates.

Bryan, I thoroughly agree with your assessment of the sweetbreads composition, except, in addition to tending toward over-tart (gelee and foam), my sweetbreads were over-salted. However, the combination of the two (over-salted sweetbreads and overly-tart foam/gelee) seemed to balance each other out, somewhat. It was still a tad intense for me. I'm not one to complain about things tasting too intense, usually.

I also very much agree with both of you about the edamame amuse. As I described it in my blog post, I found the lemon foam on top offensively acrid on the first couple of sips until I got to the warm, grassy edamame soup below.

Loved that shrimp course (when I had it two years ago. Something about bacon and shrimp with a bit of sweet and tangy that just works so very well. Creamy avocado is always welcomed, too.

Is the Smoked Squab dish the "Broiled Squab" dish? It's the one with a North African treatment: preserved lemon, onion compote and a distinctly cumin "smoky" aroma? (See here.) If so, that is one stellar dish. I don't know what I love better, the seared foie gras with the onion compote, or the corn pancake that the foie sits on; maybe it's the combination of them. I love the way they contort the thigh and leg so that it's not only prettier, but also easier to cut.

I can't agree about the interior; I prefer the old one. But, to each his own.

BTW, did you get to try the Red Sumac portion of the Rhubarb? Bryan, with your technoemotional interest, I think you'd find it interesting.

Edited by ulterior epicure (log)

“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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Generally I prefer the old room too--minus the worn carpet--but this week it looked particularly nice.

According to the online menu: Gently Smoked Squab, Butter Braised Romaine, and Aleppo Pepper. So not the dish you had. It was also topped with a truffle vinaigrette.

There was a sumac portion in the rhubarb dessert, but I honestly can't recall it with particular clarity.

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Rhubarb is my favorite dessert right now, the sumac sable, rhubarb ricotta, pickled rhubarb and cherry leather are an AMAZING combo. I also love the Rhubarb noodles with the hibiscus rose soup, greek yogurt and palm nuts....the texture of the noodles and palm nuts were similar, yet different and complementary and the soup was cut well with the rhubarb and greek yogurt ....

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Rhubarb is my favorite dessert right now, the sumac sable, rhubarb ricotta, pickled rhubarb and cherry leather are an AMAZING combo. I also love the Rhubarb noodles with the hibiscus rose soup, greek yogurt and palm nuts....the texture of the noodles and palm nuts were similar, yet different and complementary and the soup was cut well with the rhubarb and greek yogurt ....

Are those the same as palm seeds? Just curious.

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  • 1 month later...

On our recent visit, my wife and I took our two daughters, 15 and 10, to Jean Georges. I had read about this being the best deal in NY, even at $28 pp for lunch. The kids had been advised that this would be the only meal calling for a little spiffing up, but I promised great food was the reward for less comfortable shoes. Secretly, I had some concern as to how D2 would do with the unfamiliar ingredients and presentations, but I had reviewed the menu and was prepared to offer her some suggestions that I thought would work.

This had been billed (by me) as the best food we would eat in New York, and I had been looking forward to it. We each started with the trio of amuse-bouche: a house-made mozzarella, warm broccoli soup with a citrus foam, and a roasted beet slice with shaved white chocolate. Three of us enjoyed the concentrated broccoli flavor of the soup, but D2, who likes broccoli, found it too intense. I am apparently in the minority by not finding mozzarella, good or otherwise, particularly compelling on a stand alone basis, but theirs neither offended nor excited. The kids ate all the chocolate that was not overly beet-stained. I tried the beet and thought maybe they had the right idea.

D1 ordered tuna ribbons and halibut with mushrooms and lemongrass consomme. She devoured the first without sharing, declaring it the best tuna ever. I was able to request a taste of her halibut before it was gone- perfectly cooked fish in a light, clear broth poured over tableside (didn’t think the sauce was fish-based, but I could be wrong).

D2 accepted some guidance and ordered the shrimp wrapped in bacon and leg of chicken. The shrimp were a hit, all the more so because the papaya mustard was to the side and didn’t touch them. The sauce accompanied the avocado slices well. It may have done the same for the shrimp, but I didn’t get any.

The chicken leg was removed from the bone, pounded to a uniform thickness, and given a parmesan crust. The dark meat retained is juiciness for such a thin piece, with a crispy exterior. The white asparagus, which D2 had never eaten, were well accompanied by the lemon butter sauce. She declared them OK- pretty high rating for a mysterious white vegetable.

Spouse ordered sweet pea soup and red snapper. The bright green color of the soup hinted at its flavor, not as concentrated as the broccoli soup from the amuse. This is something I will have to take a shot at making. The snapper was coated with nut and seed “crumbs,“ again perfectly cooked.

I opted for the char based on the Asian flavors promised by the ginger-sesame sabayon. I loved the color and texture of the fish, and while I would not have minded a more intensely flavored sauce, it was quite good. This was followed by the short rib, lean but succulent, off the bone and fork tender, served over a smear of sweet pea puree with some baby carrots. While I found no fault with this dish, I would conclude from our limited samplings that fish is the specialite de la maison.

Although I’m not big on desert, several on the menu sounded good. Fortunately, we had read about the extensive sweets that come with the lunch service, which the waiter did not mention when he inquired about a desert order. Given the extensive nature of the “free” offerings, I did not regret passing on additional dessert, although I would have liked to try the rhubarb with sumac, as I‘m always looking for new uses for this spice.

As most people here probably know, each table receives marshmallows, chocolates, and macaroons. The marshmallows are made on premises and wheeled around on a cart for the only tableside marshmallow service I’ve seen. The cart holds a large, apothecary-type jar with layered discs of the three marshmallow flavors: strawberry, apricot and vanilla. On top of the jarred discs, there are precut strips of each flavor, and it appears the discs are not ever eaten but serve as a cushion for transporting the strips to the table. Each strip is removed from the jar and ceremoniously cut by the marshmallier with scissors and served on a plate so that each diner is afforded one cube of each flavor. This is accompanied by a separate marble board containing quite a few pieces of good quality chocolate (I’m not sure how many, they were disappearing so fast, but the lemon verbena one I snagged was quite good), and another plate with a dozen small macaroons in three colors/flavors. It was a great deal of sweets that met with particular approval from the kids.

The food was quite good and expertly prepared, although not what I’d call adventurous or assertive. The server to diner ratio was astonishingly high, and one never lacked for attention. There were, however, two service incidents, one of which I would deem serious.

First, upon arrival of the first course, two of the plates were switched. This is of course no big deal, and it was easily remedied, but I found it surprising here. Again, though, no big deal.

The second, however, must result from my misunderstanding, although I‘m having a hard time getting there. Prior to each course, silver service was added to complement the approaching dish, often including a sauce spoon. My wife received such a spoon prior to her second course. As her fish was served, our server tapped the spoon twice and said something to the effect of “I’d use this to eat that one.” I’m having a hard time interpreting this as anything other than ridicule.

I’m the first to admit we’re not particularly sophisticated, but it’s not as if we showed up in beach attire and asked for some chili cheese fries. Even if our country underwear were showing, it would be incumbent upon our server to guide us through his world of white dinner jackets and calling cards rather than point out the misspelling of mother on our tattoos. I’ve tried to convince myself there is a more benign explanation for his comment, but I just can’t seem to come up with one.

In the big scheme of things, this is nothing. Still, I can’t help but thinking that if I want derision, I can meet some friends for tennis and get it for free.

Despite this misgiving, I’m glad for the experience my kids had. The comment, if they even heard it, meant nothing to them. They had a fancy meal at a fancy New York restaurant, liked the food, used the correct utensils (by my standards, anyway) and didn’t break anything. Total success.

"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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Nice review; thanks for writing it. My take on the sauce spoon comment is that they probably encounter a lot of people (having nothing to do with you) who don't know what to do with it. I find its not common in the USA to serve a sauce spoon, and lots of people are not sure what to do with it.

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I don't want to beat this into the ground, but I clearly understood he was advising my wife to eat the fish with a sauce spoon. If he merely assumed we couldn't identify a sauce spoon, then the slight was minor and, in our case, perhaps understandable. If, as I believe, he was trying to see if he could get us to eat fish with a sauce spoon, I think that's kinda mean.

"Eat at Joe's."

- Joe

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For what it's worth, I always eat fish with a sauce spoon when such a thing is available. "Always" is an exaggeration, of course, because this doesn't work well with a fish that actually needs to be cut (for which a fish knife is equally useless). Hence, I honestly believe that the waiter was merely trying to be helpful.

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This brings up an interesting point of how to actually "properly" use a sauce spoon. Like one poster above, I usually end up using it to both cut a delicate fish (that's why the nick is on one edge--for the bones) and then put the fish and sauce on it to eat. Seems easier than using a knife, then a sauce spoon. But now I wonder if I'm being uncouth.

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This brings up an interesting point of how to actually "properly" use a sauce spoon. Like one poster above, I usually end up using it to both cut a delicate fish (that's why the nick is on one edge--for the bones) and then put the fish and sauce on it to eat.  Seems easier than using a knife, then a sauce spoon.  But now I wonder if I'm being uncouth.

If so, then call me uncouth too.

“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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  • 4 weeks later...

I'm hoping to visit NY in April next year - is it really two courses for $28 for lunch ? In a 3 star establishment ? It sounds too good to be true... what are the hidden extras ?!

www.diariesofadomesticatedgoddess.blogspot.com

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