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Jean Georges and Nougatine


pcloguda
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Pan, thank you very much. You are too kind indeed.

Felonius, my personal impression was that even the concept Nougatine offers is quite different from Jean-Georges‘ and simply cannot be compared. I found little in common between the two. Therefore, my question is whether Jean-George is the one behind the dishes at Nougatine and what is his philosophy with respect to the restaurant. Is “clever” really the only link between the two cuisines? I heard very positive comments about Nougatine some time ago, and some praised it over Jean-Georges. I wonder whether the restaurant’s approach/concept has changed recently or that it is simply not to my taste. I have to admit, however, that the dishes that worked for me were certainly worth my return.

More often then not, I am willing to take a chance with inconsistent restaurants that I know can perform excellently as well. Craft, when Marco Canora was in the kitchen (I have not visited it since Bill Knapp took over) is one of those places. I had excellent meals there, and I also had quite mediocre experiences related to both the whole meal and individual dishes. Unfortunately, my husband’s first visit was not very favorable, and since his mother-in-law and her cooking (he kept noting that she “cooks almost the same dishes, but better”) were on his lips most of the evening, I knew that my subsequent visits to Craft would never be a family event again. However, I would not waste my resources if I know that I may not enjoy the cuisine at a restaurant due to my personal preferences. With Nougatine, I simply couldn’t make up my mind.

Soba, thank you. I am glad you enjoy my impressions.

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Felonius, my personal impression was that even the concept Nougatine offers is quite different from Jean-Georges‘ and simply cannot be compared. I found little in common between the two. Therefore, my question is whether Jean-George is the one behind the dishes at Nougatine and what is his philosophy with respect to the restaurant. Is “clever” really the only link between the two cuisines? I heard very positive comments about Nougatine some time ago, and some praised it over Jean-Georges. I wonder whether the restaurant’s approach/concept has changed recently or that it is simply not to my taste.

If there is a common thread between the two, it's probably the use of exotic spices and novel flavor combinations - often with an Asian or Eastern influence. I just think that the concept is executed with much greater success on the Jean-Georges side of the house.

I've been eating at Nougatine fairly regularly for three years now, and I haven't detected any change in their approach or overall quality/consistency level. It's always been hit or miss as to whether the current dishes work well, in my opinion.

I too wonder how much time Jean-Georges spends on orchestrating the Nougatine menu. One would think he's the force behind it, given the fact he's on the premises quite a bit. As you probably know, there are two separate kitchens for the two menus (Nougatine is served by a completely separate kitchen in the basement), so in many ways JG and Nougatine are really more disparate than the adjacent dining rooms might suggest.

From what I can tell, Johnny Iuzinni overseas the dessert and pastry menu for both. I've found the desserts at Nougatine to be truly outstanding, if a bit simpler in execution than those at JG. I think he's a strong contender for #1 in NYC given the level of desserts I've had at JG lately.

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Interestingly, I recall Fat Guy’s opinion on the degree of the chef/owner’s involvement with the menu at each of the restaurants. Though I wouldn’t feel comfortable arguing for all establishments, I had a small chat with Akhtar Nawab of CraftBar yesterday and one question I asked was whether Bill Knapp or even Colicchio oversees the operation/menu at CraftBar. As it appears, Akhtar has enough freedom to compose the menu on his own, provided that his imagination does not carry him too far beyond the restaurant's general concept of more approachable (price-wise) dishes, though the specials can certainly increase your bill. I wonder whether Nougatine operates completely independently as well.

I neglected to mention the desserts at Nougatine, and I am grateful you did. I didn’t seem to be happy with the desserts at Jean-Georges in the past, though the fruit-based desserts (“exotic” in particular) were much more successful, in my opinion, than the chocolate ones. It reminds me of a recent dinner at Atelier where the desserts by Eric Hubert (a former Jean-Georges pastry chef) were awfully similar to those at Jean-Georges. I always appreciated the “undersugared,” light touch in desserts, but aside from being delicate, I found them generally bland.

This was not the case at the Nougatine room, and if Chef Johnny Iuzzini does oversee two rooms (which comes as a surprise to me), perhaps I need to make another visit to Jean-George. Here's the dessert section I omitted from my original Nougatine review.

We had an excellent rustic apple streusel tart with cinnamon, blood orange reduction and burnt orange ice cream with buttery and delicately crunchy mille feuille pastry hosting caramelized apples. Two exotic touches of thin, pink orange sauce, bringing acidity, and the dark-beige orange ice cream with a very distinctive burnt taste, as a counterpart, truly gave this rustic dessert a new twist. An exotic fruit vacherin with guava sorbet, cream cheese ice cream and mango-mint compote was creative and quite good as well: A three-layer cylinder consisting of meringue as a base, pink guava sorbet in the middle and a very thin layer of vanilla and fromage blanc ice cream on top were surrounded by a thick mango/passion fruit sauce with pleasantly acidic passion fruit seeds. This dessert brought refreshment, and the combination of all elements eaten together worked well. We also had their signature dessert, Warm Chocolate Cake with vanilla ice cream, which I enjoyed the least.

Does Jean-Georges still offer a prix-fixe lunch, I wonder?

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lxt, what's vacherin?

I think it's a French cheese. Some versions are sweet, so you see it in desserts once in a while.

lxt, did you taste this at all in the dessert?

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Pan, vacherin (not to be mistaken with cheese) is usually a dessert with a crisp meringue base and several ring layers positioned on top of each other. The middle layers are usually filled with ice cream, sorbet or even whipped cream, and the composition generally includes fruit.

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Does Jean-Georges still offer a prix-fixe lunch, I wonder?

Although I haven't yet been, JG's lunch menu has been tempting me ever since I found out you order $12 plates, two plates minimum.

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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Pan, vacherin (not to be mistaken with  cheese) is usually a dessert with a crisp meringue base and several ring layers positioned on top of each other.  The middle layers are usually filled with ice cream, sorbet or even whipped cream, and the composition generally includes fruit.

:laugh:

Shows what I know!

JJ Goode

Co-author of Serious Barbecue, which is in stores now!

www.jjgoode.com

"For those of you following along, JJ is one of these hummingbird-metabolism types. He weighs something like eleven pounds but he can eat more than me and Jason put together..." -Fat Guy

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lxt, what's vacherin?

I think it's a French cheese. Some versions are sweet, so you see it in desserts once in a while.

lxt, did you taste this at all in the dessert?

jogoode, I think the inclusion of the cream cheese ice cream in the vacherin dessert was pretty much a humorous touch or rather a pun, as I don’t believe that vacherin cheese is related to vacherin dessert at all, though I may be mistaken.

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  • 1 month later...

Hi guys,

I know its been a while since I ve posted, and firstly, I want to say how great it was to meet everyone at the Pie Potluck a few weeks ago. The food was great as was the conversation and I was stuffed for, at least a few hours....

I am finally going to Jean Georges! I had desserts on the terrace there about 3 years ago and I ate at Nougatine 5 years ago, but never went to J-G!

SO my fellow egulleters, what do I order? What are the special dishes? special wines? I am going with a friend who is kindly paying, so...... not too much is off limits!! :biggrin:

feel free to PM me or post!

Thanks and have a great weekend

love

lauren

"Is there anything here that wasn't brutally slaughtered" Lisa Simpson at a BBQ

"I think that the veal might have died from lonliness"

Homer

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Hi guys,

I know its been a while since I ve posted, and firstly, I want to say how great it was to meet everyone at the Pie Potluck a few weeks ago. The food was great as was the conversation and I was stuffed for, at least a few hours....

I am finally going to Jean Georges! I had desserts on the terrace there about 3 years ago and I ate at Nougatine 5 years ago, but never went to J-G!

SO my fellow egulleters, what do I order? What are the special dishes? special wines? I am going with a friend who is kindly paying, so...... not too much is off limits!! :biggrin:

feel free to PM me or post!

Thanks and have a great weekend

love

lauren

I haven't been since early December, so I'm not sure how similar the current menu will be. There are always house standards such as "scallops with caper raisin emulsion and cauliflower", but the rest of the items change regularly.

Favorites I remember from my last visit were a celery soup with butterscotch foam and some sort of ravioli (I seem to remember black truffle and chestnut). This was one of the best soups I've ever had. I also liked the squab dish, which had an interesting spice combination (cumin and maybe some tandoori type spices?). These two were standouts, but everything was excellent.

As for the desserts, it's hard to go wrong. I usually prefer the category called "exotic". There are several options for tastings including "chocolate", "exotic" and a seasonal themed one. If they're still doing the passionfruit souffle in the exotic tasting, I'd highly recommend that as a choice. Better yet, if your dinner partner doesn't mind, just go ahead and order several tastings to share. I think Iuzinni's desserts are the most interesting and creative in NYC.

I found the waitstaff at Jean Georges to be helpful and knowledgeable about the menu. I wouldn't hesitate to take some of their suggestions for what's best on the current menu.

Please report back. I'd be interesting to hear your thoughts on your first JG experience. You're in for a treat!

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Yes: go with a tasting menu. And the accompanying wine flight. Whatever you end up with, you will enjoy it immensely. (If not all of it, a high enough percentage to warrent the expense :raz:) And as for desserts: close your eyes and stab the menu with your finger; you won't go wrong with anything!

(As for specific dishes: if the Foie Gras Brulee is on a tasting, GET IT!!!!!! I still dream of that dish)

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I hear the frog's legs soup (can't remember description) is one of the more amazing things on the menu.

I believe it's a "young garlic" soup, with delicately fried frog legs on the side. Whatever it is, it's one of the best things I've ever eaten. Don't think sopa de ajo. This is a more opaque, velvety-textrued soup. You can dip the frog legs in it.

I also had a beef dish with bone marrow and black truffle custard on the side. I don't remember all the details, but it was great, too. Usually, at top-flight restaurants, I am more impressed by fish preparations than beef. This was a definite exception.

For dessert, my fiance and I each had a different "sampler." You pick a theme (chocolate, citrus, etc) , and they give you four mini desserts in that theme. Together, we tasted 8 different desserts. I wasn't crazy about this approach. I think I would have preferred one or two desserts in larger portions. If you don't count dessert, this may have been the best dinner I ever had.

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Get the Jean George Tasting Menu (contains his signature dishes).

Had it this past Dec.

The eggs w. osetra caviar, the frog legs that came w. the leek soup were both outstanding. I typically hate frog legs, but this one changed my mind :shock: .

The squab w. Foie , scallops were great. The Turbot was overcooked, but the chateau chalon sauce that came with it was amazing. I found the broth in the lobster "tartine" abit unusual, but the lobster was cooked to perfection.

the "chocolate" desert tasting was very good.

On the whole, the best meal of my life. :smile:

ChowAlf

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  • 1 month later...

We joined friends for their birthday celebration at Jean

George. Althoug the room was as pretty as always and

our service was quite good, we felt that the cuisine was

in serious decline and no longer worthy of its stars.

We all ordered tasting menus [spring and signature] at $118 per.

The portions were, as usual, small....but not tasty. The amuse was

a trio fo a warm cinnamon soup, a shrimp and a tiny square of

jellied coconut--nothing exciting.

I will comment on the 'sgnature menu' as this is what I ordered.

'The Egg' which always has small curd french scrambled eggs was

liquidy/ not to our palate. A few curds please!

The scallop [a horizontal slice of a larger scallop] was VERY firm

and overwhelmed by a salty caper ridden sauce.

The turbot also was quite FIRM and over whelemed by its wine sauce.

The quail on corn pancake w. [sliver] of foie gras----a dish I used to love--

could not be cut. They prepared a 2nd dish which suffered the same fate.

Here again, the seasoning overwhelmed the quail.

The desserts were of poor quality and totally uninteresting.

Perhaps the chef is too busy opening other restaurants...but this

formerly impressive restaurant is now depressing.

(Admin: threads merged)

Edited by slkinsey (log)
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We joined friends for their birthday celebration at Jean

George. Althoug the room was as pretty as always and

our service was quite good, we felt that the cuisine was

in serious decline and no longer worthy of its stars.....

The desserts were of poor quality and totally uninteresting.

Perhaps the chef is too busy opening other restaurants...but this

formerly impressive restaurant is now depressing.

Wow, this review comes as quite a surprise to me. I dine at JG fairly regularly (though admittedly haven't been yet this year), and have never had a less than excellent meal in the main dining room. Flavor combination misses or dishes that didn't suit my tastes, yes, but poorly executed food, never in four years. I'm especially surprised by your comment, "desserts were of poor quality and totally uninteresting." I have always thought Iuzzinis' desserts to be consistently on the cutting edge in terms of creativity, and can't imagine he's offering a boring dessert tasting. What desserts did you have and what didn't you like about them?

If I visit JG again some time soon, I'll be sure to post back with updated impressions.

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I've never been to JG but I've seen Izunni's stuff and it looks anything but uninteresting.

Is he still the pastry chef there?

I'm very interested in hearing about what you had too.

Please post more about this.

2317/5000

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  • 1 month later...

Just had lunch at J-G and both the Foie Gras Brûlée and Young Garlic with Frog's legs are on the menu (at $12). Also a superb Morels in Vin Jaune (with asparagus - but that's a throw in).

The rhubarb dessert selection is also superb. Cheese good, but expensive ($15 for 3 slivers - the only thing more expensive is the caviar dish).

Food superb, wine very expensive and service unexceptional. But the food - a bargain!

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  • 1 month later...

Hello everyone first time poster here....

I have a reservation for lunch @ J-G tomorrow. I'm very excited because it will be my first time @ J-G.

I have a few questions. Is it true that lunch is $24 for 2 courses and $12 for each additional course?

I know this is a stupid question, but does J-G serve wine by the glass? My friend and I are not big drinkers, so there will be no way for us to finish an entire bottle.

And what dishes do you guys recommend?

Edited by smgarsh (log)
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Yes $12 per course - except dessert is $8 (and cheese $15 - but avoid the cheese).

And they have a good selection by the glass - although they are a little expensive.

Just about everything is good, but on the wine side you might try a sake called Sato No Homare (not cheap - I think around $12 for a taste) but IMO it's the greatest sake around.

We ordered dishes to arrive in pairs so that we could pace the meal and ended up with 5 pairs (i.e 10 dishes). But we were VERY full by the end! Great mignardises as well.

If they have the foie gras brulee order two!!!!

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