By grace.g.yang ยท June 19, 2009
Under: Desserts,Lunch,Midtown West,My Life,Prix-fixe

Last weekend, my mom and I treated ourselves to a nice lunch at Jean-Georges, the Michelin 3-starred restaurant. They have one of the best lunch deals in the city (thank you to one of my readers for pointing this out to me!) For $28, you can pick two dishes from their menu and each additional dish is $14. Not bad for a fancy restaurant, right? Here I am outside by the Jean-Georges sign:


We were escorted to our corner booth, which was very spacious (I could see how people would think the restaurant is very romantic; there are seats IN the walls that look really cozy). To get to the actual restaurant, you have to walk through Nougatine, the more casual space adjacent to Jean-Georges. We were given our menus and decided on four courses (and dessert). The first thing that came out was lots and lots of bread:


The sourdough bread is from Balthazar (one of my favorite restaurants/bakeries in the city) and the roll is from Sullivan Street Bakery. Sullivan Street Bakery is run by Jim Lahey, who also owns Co (or Company), where Jean-Georges is an investor; small world if you work in the restaurant business!

The waitresses also brought out an amuse-bouche:


The amuse-bouche was a grilled gruyere sandwich and tomato, a strawberry peppermint drink with baby cilantro, and a sliver of salmon. My favorite was the strawberry peppermint drink because of the smooth taste and the chunky texture (bits of strawberries). The young cilantro also added a delicate flavor boost. My mom liked the gruyere grilled cheese sandwich, but I thought it was a little soggy and not warm enough (mine was a tad cold when I sampled it).

We had to choose our four dishes wisely, so we were all over the menu with our choices. The first dish my mom picked was the peekytoe crab with asparagus, mustard, and lemon juice:


The presentation was beautiful, especially because they creatively shaved the asparagus lengthwise for a ribbon effect. However, I thought the mustard taste was way too Asian and completely ruined the flavor of the crab. My mom liked the dish, but I was definitely not a fan.

I started with the goat cheese gnocchi with caramelized baby artichokes and parsley:


There were five pieces of gnocchi (the same amount of gnocchi as per se’s salon menu) but they tasted too much like goat cheese and didn’t have enough give when you bit down on them. They actually tasted like they were just pieces of goat cheese that were put in a mold for the pretty presentation. The baby artichokes were crispy and had a nice lemony olive oil drizzled on top. A fun dish, but not something I’d order again.

For our main dishes, my mom ordered the roasted veal with vegetables:


My mom asked for medium rare and the waiter said that the veal was prepared medium rare anyway so we didn’t have to worry. However, I thought veal was supposed to be really tender and not really chewy? I mean, if I’m eating a baby cow, I’d assume it would be a little more tender than its mom, right? I thought the veal was a little on the tough side, but not tough enough to the point that I wouldn’t eat it all.

And finally, I ordered the skate with chateau chalon sauce:


I don’t know about you, but I had no idea what chateau chalon sauce was when I ordered the skate. I just knew that I had skate at Nougatine and I liked it so I would try it again at a Jean-Georges establishment. The skate was topped with some vegetables (tomatoes and zucchini) and the chateau chalon sauce was poured around the skate tableside. Apparently, chateau chalon is a type of wine that is difficult to acquire in the US, but it’s definitely worth it (one website claims that if you use chateau chalon while cooking, a regular cook is transformed into a “grand chef!”) The sauce was buttery, slightly tangy, and tasted so good with the acidity of the tomatoes and the skate. My mom and I both LOVED the dish.

We were both pleasantly full after the four dishes, but decided to order the rhubarb dessert:


The pastry chef, Johnny Iuzzini, is somewhat of a heartthrob (well, according to my friends, at least) so I wanted to see if his desserts measured up to his looks. My mom and I went with the rhubarb dessert; you pick the focus of the dessert (chocolate, rhubarb, strawberry, and vanilla were the choices) and then you get a tasting of the flavor. We chose rhubarb because I’m a huge rhubarb fan and were presented with a green tea cake with hibiscus poached rhubarb and a rhubarb and birch beer ice cream float. The green tea cake was really disappointing; it was very grainy, tough, and the only redeeming taste was the hibiscus rhubarb, which I chose to eat by itself. The rhubarb and Birch beer ice cream float, on the other hand, was delicious.

While we were finishing up our meal, my mom took some pictures of the lighting because she thought it looked cool:


Before we could finish our meal, a little cart rolled by with even more desserts:


The waitress cut up the freshly made marshmallows for us – vanilla, rose, and ginger. I couldn’t taste the rose flavored marshmallow, but the ginger was very strong and the vanilla marshmallow tasted like a normal marshmallow.

We were also given tiny macarons and some chocolates:


The macaron flavors were chocolate, peanut butter and jelly, and apricot (I think). The chocolate and apricot macarons were kind of flavorless (and we almost couldn’t tell what each macaron was flavored with) but the peanut butter and jelly macaron tasted like lots of peanut butter. The chocolates were flavored with ginger, mango, and other types of ganache – good, but nothing like the chocolates you get at per se or The French Laundry!

Me and my mom at lunch:


The meal was enjoyable, but I didn’t think the service flowed very well and our main course dishes came out after a long period of time (with no waiters coming by to refill our bread plates or refill our water). I enjoyed the food enough to make a reservation for dinner (near the end of June) so I will report back on that meal soon!

Reader Comments

Amazing dress, Grace! Seriously, really cute (and your mommy too)!

Written By Felicia on June 22nd, 2009 @ 2:21 pm

indeed not a bad price for lunch at all.

Grace, you look lovely in that blue dress.

Written By LondonEater/Kang on June 24th, 2009 @ 8:07 am

Lemme try that again: Gracefully beautiful in that blue dress.

Written By LondonEater/Kang on June 24th, 2009 @ 8:08 am

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