Dining at Jean-Georges in NYC has got to be one of the most unforgettable meals we’ve had together. Nestled in the golden lair of evil that is the gawdy Trump Tower, this wonderfully elegant restaurant boasts ceiling-to-floor glass windows with spectacular views of Central Park.
Overall: ★★★★1/2 Perfectly-executed dishes with complexity of flavour.
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship restaurant boasts a constellation of three Michelin Stars and a solid 4-star New York Times review.
His mantra of opting for the intense flavours and textures from vegetable juices, fruit essences, light broths and herbal vinaigrettes instead of the traditional meat stocks and creams has revolutionised the industry and created his own brand of New French cuisine.
Speaking of broth, we start of with an amuse bouche trio of chicken soup with chives, fried mushroom spring roll, and sashimi with clementine sauce. Of the three, the chicken soup really stood out. It was a potent shot of the full flavours of what tasted like hours of boiling all the best parts of chicken in a rich vegetable broth. Amazing.
For starters, we began with the Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado, Spicy Radish and Ginger Marinade.
Beautiful colours, with a centrepiece of very fresh yellowfin tuna, which is a leaner cousin of the more widely used bluefin variety. The creamy avocado lending weight to the refreshing raw tuna, and cut with the delicate spiciness of a surprising ginger and sweet radish. The complex flavours in a seemingly simple dish was very impressive.
Then, the Diver Scallops, Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper-Raisin Emulsion.
The scallops were cooked to soft, firm perfection, golden brown along the edges. The caramelised cauliflower had a beautiful natural sweetness coaxed out only by heat. And the raisin emulsion brought a little richness and fat to an otherwise clean, light starter.
It being urchin season, I couldn’t resist ordering the Sea Urchin, Black Bread, Jalapeño and Yuzu. My, oh my.
The uni on its own was already amazing. Succulent, sweet and creamy. Not much had to be done to it. But adding a yuzu zest, topped with a sweet spicy disk of fresh baby jalapeño, and then serving it atop a thin, crispy slice of black bread left the sea urchin enough room to shine on its own, while bringing in the most subtle textures to whet the appetite.
Now on to the mains. This was the Truffle Crusted Wild King Salmon, Silky and Crispy Parsnip.
The salmon was exceptional. Juicy, pink tender flakes and melt-in-your-mouth white fat in just the right proportion. The truffle diced into tiny pieces allowed the fine aroma to dissolve into an explosion of gorgeous of flavour. And the parsnips added a bit of crunch to the dish overall.
But what really stole the show was this Sautéed Veal Scallopine, Flying Pig Ham, Mushrooms and Lavender.
The veal was seared a juicy medium rare had the perfect bite. The flavour was full and exceptional. Topped with beautifully-charred crispy slices of bacon, it was balanced off perfectly with some of the best sautéed wild mushrooms I’ve ever had. There was only a hint of lavender but the flavours came together in a brilliant symphony. We were silent as we polished this off one glorious bite at a time.
For desserts, we went with the Dark Chocolate Mousse with Milk Chocolate Ganache and Passionfruit Gelée. This plate felt like a porcelain playground.
Served with a warm chocolate lava cake, candied citrus peel, frosted rose petals, olive oil crumbs, apple slices, and even a berry sorbet. All of which brought out different dimensions of some truly excellent chocolate.
And that wasn’t all. Our friendly server brought out a glass of Macademia Nut Milk, some Homemade Marshmallow and Blood Orange Jelly.
Overall, it was a truly unforgettable meal. Le Bernardin may be the more decorated of the two, but somehow, both of us preferred the food here better. Service was also wonderful here but not as slick.
If you’re a fan of heavier, richer flavours, definitely go with Jean-Georges. This meal will surely tantalise and tease your palate to appreciate a whole new dimension of intricate, complex flavours. It was also the more satisfying of the two. Big thank you to my sweetheart for this spectacular meal.