Reviewed by Justine Murphy, CEO of mymuybueno – March 2017
Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten was born in Alsace, France, and now resides in New York City. The restaurant Jean-Georges opened in 1997 and is the jewel in the crown of this French man’s empire. Jean-George is responsible for the operation and success of a constellation of three and four star restaurants worldwide. According to the Michelin Guide, it is one of the top five best French restaurants in the Americas. It also remains one of the few restaurants in the city awarded four stars by The New York Times. The current executive chef is Mark LaPico and the executive pastry chef is Sean Considine.
There had been a table mix-up upon my arrival, so I was left to wait for ten minutes. I was then seated on a wonderful table with a view across the whole restaurant, and my favourite champagne, Rose Billecart-Salmon, was poured. This also had Jean-George’s name on it.
I was left waiting yet again for twenty minutes this time, until the bread and amuse bouche were brought. My menu was then removed, and re-printed twice due to product changes, and then twice more again later in the meal, swapping a venison dish that I had been looking forward to for lamb, and also changing wine. Not the best of starts.
Sourdough Bread and Butter. Very nice but nothing special.
A trio of amuse bouches finally arrived. Oven-Roasted Cremini Mushroom stuffed with Toasted Hazelnuts and Red Thai Chili, Sweet Potato Croquette with Parmesan Regianno and Crushed Red Pepper (this was lovely) and finally Broccoli Soup with Greek Yoghurt, which was light but lacked flavour.
Yellowfin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado, Spicy Radish and Ginger Marinade. The tuna was from Hawaii and utterly delicious. It was served in long strips, which enabled the presentation to be plated as it was. Crisp sliced radish cut through the natural richness of the tuna and the soy and ginger marinade balanced the dish perfectly.
Warm Jumbo Provençal White Asparagus, Mustard Sabayon. This was a very attractive dish, with perfect micro herbs of mint, parsley, tarragon, basil and dill lining the asparagus, making each mouthful fresh and full of flavour. The sharpness from the vinegar in the mustard sabayon was just right, making this dish an absolute delight. This asparagus dish surpassed my recent one at Hedone.
Niman Ranch Lamb Chops, Sweet Pea – Jalapeno Puree, Mint Crumbs. This was a lamb chop with a panko, shallot and mint crust. It was delicious and the lamb was cooked pink. It was very good lamb, very tasty and the combination worked well. Although initially I wasn’t sure, the pea and jalapeno purée really did work very nicely. My favourite addition to this dish was the green almonds, which added a wonderful flavour and texture and brought everything together.
A surprise extra dish was presented, Foie Gras with a Crème Brûlée top, Brioche Toast, Pineapple Raisins and a Rhubarb Purée. This was very nice but very rich, so I could only manage a few bites. It did have the lovely addition of a micro shiso leaf, which worked well.
Orchard Fruit Dessert Tasting. Lots of components here – a poached pear filled with a cranberry sorbet, a cinnamon sponge cake – which was delightful, red and green apple sorbet – this was clean and crisp, a quince upside-down cake, caramel apple panna cotta, Parisian apple balls. These were rosettes of apple with sugar, resembling a toffee apple and apple confit. This was quite rustic on the eye but utterly delicious on the palate, tasting like all the comforting flavours of a warm apple pie.
- Champagne, Rose, Billecart-Salmon, Brut, Cuvee Jean Georges, France MV
- Champagne, Bereche & Fils, Brut, Reserve, France MV
- Saumur, Domaine des Roches Neuves Clos Romans, Loire, France 2014
- Meursault, Louis Jadot, Burgundy, France 2014
- Riesling, Bassermann-Jordon Jesuitgarten, Pfalz, Germany 2013
- Syrah, Peay La Bruma, Sonoma Coast, California 2013
- Dr Looser, Riesling, Austria, 2012
- Sauternes, Suduiraut, Bordeaux, France 1998
Favourite Dish: Slowly-Cooked Black Sea Bass, Crunchy Oats, Herbal Lime Dressing.
Napkin Fold: Yes
Menu to take home: Yes
Meal for two, including with drinks and service: £510.
Final Thought: Despite the slow start, Jean-Georges really nailed it and was worth each one of its stars. Compared it to my experience at per se, it excelled tenfold. The ingredients were delicious, with great combinations and the product knowledge was excellent. I would certainly return here again, and I am very much looking forward to visiting in London later this year when they launch at The Connaught.
Address: 1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023
Telephone: (212) 299-3900
Hours: Lunch Monday – Sunday: 11.45pm – 2.30pm Dinner Monday – Thursday: 5.30pm – 11pm, Friday – Saturday 5pm – 11.00pm Sunday 5pm – 10.30pm