I was ridiculously excited for our lunch date in Jean Georges given that I’ve had a bit of a revelation in the food department lately. I’ve always been an eat to live kind of girl but I’m slowly coming over to the foodie side. Slowly! Our first three Michelin Star dining experience in Per Se was hugely successful and we were hoping for an equally amazing experience at the three Michelin Star Jean Georges. Taste buds at the ready!
Lunch at Jean Georges
During the lunch serving Jean Georges offers a 6 course seasonal tasting menu ($148) and a two plate lunch for $38 with additional courses at $19. We decided to choose our own 3 dish lunch menu as we were a little too fragile from the previous night’s escapades to indulge in a full tasting menu and there were some dishes not on the tasting menu that we just had to have!
The lunch menu included a selection of reasonably priced wines by the glass ($15 and up) and the husband opted for a 2011 Pinot Grigio while I indulged in some still water. He likes a good Pinot Grigio and the wine got his seal of approval. The water was most satisfactory too!
We were expecting great things from the complementary amuse bouche given that Jean Georges himself once declared ‘the amuse bouche is the best way for a great chef to express his or her big ideas in small bites’. The parsnip soup with its chipotle kick was the highlight of the trio though the salmon was a close second.
The trio of amuse bouche were most definitely big ideas in small bites and we were excited to see what the main dishes would deliver.
We ordered the butternut squash soup with black trumpted mushrooms and the sea scallops with caramelized cauliflower and caper-raisin emulsion.
The soup was full bodied and smooth. And despite having had soup served at the table approximately 100 times now I still thought I was getting a few cubes of butternut squash and some mushrooms. One day I be on top of my game and notice the serving jug before I feel hard done by!
The sea scallops were delicious and the flavour of the emulsion complemented the scallops perfectly.
For our second course we both opted for fish dishes and ordered the yellowfin tuna ribbons with avocado and spicy radish in a ginger marinade and the hamachi sashimi with avocado, yuzu and radish.
The yellowfin tuna was absolutely exquisite and a definite contender for the best dish I’ve ever eaten. The fish was tender and the flavours perfectly balanced. It was so good we tried to secure another booking for later in the week just to taste it again but we were out of luck!
The hamachi sashimi was melt in the mouth and the accompanying avocado, yuzu and radish were excellent. It was also the most beautifully presented dish of the meal.
A close up of the stunning presentation:
Yes we had third courses! We were struggling to decide between two entrées and our server suggested we order both! Although we were quite full, given the quality of the food to this point we were delighted we had the opportunity to sample more of the Jean Georges flavours.
We chose the mushroom risotto with a citrus foam and the hake with spiced jade emulsion and tender celeriac.
The risotto was cooked perfectly. There was a nice amount of mushrooms and the sauce was creamy. I didn’t find the foam aesthetically pleasing but it did add a nice kick to the dish when it was blended in.
The hake was beautifully cooked and the asian flavours were a new take on the fish dish for us.
Where to stay in New York, the hotels we love:
We’ve stayed all over the city during our trips to NYC. Here’s some of our faves:
- the Courtyard Soho for its downtown location and price
- SIXTY Lower East Side when we want explore downtown with a bonus rooftop pool!
- Pod 51 is an awesome and funky option close to the Rockefeller Center
- Hi NYC on the Upper West Side is a great hostel option.
- the Knickerbocker and the Greenwich for unrivalled luxury
- the Renaissance Times Square for its Times Square location
- We use booking.com as it usually has awesome prices and flash sales on NYC hotels!
I know I said we were full after the third course but the dessert menu was too good to resist! What’s a girl to do?!
The desserts are organised by theme (fig, chocolate, caramel and a seasonal choice) and were served as a trio. A chocolate girl at heart, I didn’t have to think about what to order and the husband opted for the caramel selection.
The chocolate tasting consisted of a white chocolate ice cream, a custard and mango chocolate log and a warm chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream. The warm chocolate cake and ice cream was beyond any chocolate dessert I’ve ever tasted. I actually oohed out loud when I took the first bite. And I don’t ooh lightly! It was the perfect balance of immense chocolateness without being too heavy. I was so taken by the cake I can’t remember much about the other two offerings on the chocolate tasting. They look nice in the pictures though!
The caramel tasting consisted of a sorbet, a crème caramel with maple and bacon and a peanut torte with caramel. The sorbet was an explosion of flavours and was by far the best of the three. The crème caramel with the bacon was different, I’m not sure if I would describe myself as a fan but it was a nice deviation from the standard flavours. The peanut torte was delicious, it’s hard to go wrong with some gold leaves!
The star of the dessert show:
Fresh Marshmallow and Mignardises
The marshmallow cart is a signature of Jean Georges. Yep, I was surprised too when the server rocked up to our table with a marshmallow cart and cut off some marshmallow pieces for us. Unfortunately I blinked and missed it because somehow the husband ate my marshmallow before I’d even registered what was happening! Apparently they were fresh and delicious and he could have eaten many more. I’ll take his word for it then!
The mignardises tray, with 10 pieces, looked delicious and we asked to take it away so we could enjoy it properly after some of our lunch had digested! On leaving we received a box consisting of 2 of each of macaroons, nougats and gelées and 4 chocolates.
Everything I tried was very good with the nougats and chocolates as my favourite from the selection.
Jean Georges is a beautiful space, light and airy with high windows offering views of the trees surrounding the restaurant and a peek at Central Park and Columbus Cirlce. Entry is through the more casual Nougatine, the lively sister restaurant of Jean Georges.
Jean Georges is laid out beautifully with comfortable chairs and a mix of groups and 2 seaters. The atmosphere was upbeat, especially for a lunch sitting and there is a nice buzz of conversation in the background. I was quite taken with the secluded alcove table which would be perfect for a romantic rendezous enjoying the tasting menu.
The service was as close to perfect as I’ve ever experienced. I enjoyed the traditional feel to the service and the staff were friendly and conversational but never intrusive.
Jean Georges was a massive hit with both of us.
The tuna ribbon dish was one of the best dishes I’ve ever eaten and this is even more impressive given that I’m not really a fan of tuna. The desserts were sensational and were more akin to a tasting menu standard. Both the service and the presentation of the dishes were excellent.
At $19 a dish the lunch menu was exceptional value for an establishment with 3 Michelin Stars and the service, plating and decor were all representative of a 3 Michelin Star experience. It was the best value fine dining lunch we could find in the city.
We fully intend to return for a tasting menu with wine pairings. Hopefully in the gorgeous alcove table!
Jean Georges opened in 1997 in the Trump Hotel Central Park and the dishes blend French, American and Asian influences. Jean Georges holds three Michelin stars and is one of only five restaurants to be awarded the prestigious 4 star rating by the New York Times.
Address: 1 Central Park West New York, NY 10023
Phone: 00 1 212 299 3900
Dress Code: Gentleman are required to wear a jacket. No jeans, sweatshirts or sneakers allowed. Tie is not required.