Well, it’s that time of year again, CT’s birthday! The only problem with that is trying to figure out where to go for dinner to celebrate. After some intense investigating, I decided Jean Georges would be the best bet. I had never been to a three Michelin starred restaurant before, so this was a great opportunity to celebrate all fancy-like. We ate at Nougatine aka the bar room outside JG last winter for restaurant week and had a great lunch. I figured now would be the time to enter “the inner sanctum.”
CT says: Am I the luckiest girl, or what?!
After perusing the menu, we both decided that the Prix Fixe was the way to go. They offer two different tasting menus for either $148 or $168, but we decided it would be way too much food to make the evening enjoyable. The Prix Fixe is $98 for 3 courses and dessert. Considering the large selection of dishes and the high quality ingredients, not to mention the impeccable service, it was well worth it.
After our impeccably dressed waiter took our order(wearing a suit that is probably more expensive than all of my suits combined), we were presented with an amuse-bouche trio. We were having camera issues, so this picture does not do the food justice at all(also we didn’t think it was right to try to “light” the foods with our flashlight app in such a high end establishment). The shot glass had a light and flavorful broccoli soup. Right next to that, going clockwise, was what I believe was a goat cheese fritter. Next was a piece of fluke sashimi with a clementine “sphere” on top. The sphere was one of the molecular gastronomy things that causes the liquid inside to burst in your mouth. It was excellent.
CT says: Apologies for the picture- my mind was overwhelmed with excitement and I forgot my basic photography skills. The food was delicious – each one-bites of heaven. The fluke was fresh, the fritter was crunchy! The broccoli soup, though it didn’t sound super appealing, had a great light taste.
It wasn’t too hard to figure out what CT would get for her first course- Santa Barbara Sea Urchin on Black Bread with Jalapeno and Yuzu. This dish was pretty amazing- four individual portions with a ton of uni on each. CT was kind enough to share with me and I really enjoyed this a lot. The jalapeno gave just a bit of heat, while the yuzu gave great acid to elevate the flavor of the uni.
CT says: This was the best uni I’ve ever had – soft, creamy and fresh! The jalapeno and yuzu gave a touch of acid and heat – barely recognizable that the individual components were there but just melded all together in your mouth. The black bread had a nice crunchy texture, a perfect vehicle to balance the uni.
I had a little more trouble picking out my first dish. While all the dishes were unique, a bunch had proteins that were very familar to me i.e. scallops or yellowfin tun. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and try something truly different. I chose the Sea Trout Sashimi draped in Trout Eggs, Lemon, Dill and Horseradish. At first, it didn’t look like there was much fish in the bowl, but there were actually a bunch more pieces under the “lemon sauce.” I forget what the brown crispies were, but they added a great consistency to the dish. The lemon was similar flavor that we got in the amuse, which was amazing. There was a party going on in my mouth :). The roe contrasted with saltiness of the ocean. As for the fish itself, it was very similar to salmon in appearance and flavor.
Once again, it was impossible not to know exactly what CT would get for her second course- carmelized foie gras with green apple cracklings and soy yuzu froth. Yes, CT loves uni and foie gras a lot. This picture does not do the dish justice, apologies again. The best way to describe the presentation is foie gras taking a bubble bath. It was a nice touch when the server topped the dish with cracklings out of a little silver saucepan tableside. Although I am not a foie gras fan, I couldn’t not have a taste. It was pretty spectacular. The foie melted immediately upon entering my mouth. It was really good, but one bite was enough for me since it was super rich.
CT says: Another winner. As TT said, the foie gras truly melted in your mouth. It was a huge piece and very rich. Anyone who knows me knows I can eat foie gras in bulk and often, but even I had trouble finishing this one. The yuzu froth seemed overwhelming at first, but it helped balance the foie gras richness. The apple cracklings were a nice touch to the dish, adding a different texture. I also liked that they added it at the table, so it didn’t soften in the froth. The apple taste was stronger than I would’ve expected, but very fresh tasting.
My second course was Crispy Crab with Pink Peppercorn, Mustard, and Exotic Fruits. The presentation was very pretty with the crab sitting on a bed of micro greens. Upon first bite, I knew exactly how I would write up this dish: THE BEST CRABCAKE IN THE WORLD! There was no filler inside, just some of the sweetest and freshest crab I ever had. The pink peppercorns were the spiciest I have ever come across. The fruit definitely included mango, which was surprisingly fresh and juicy for the middle of January. JG is definitely not a locavore restaurant.
Uh oh, starting to get full. So glad we didn’t do the tasting menu.
For CT’s third course, she went with the Rack of Lamb Dusted with Black Trumpet Mushrooms, baby leeks. This dish got an A++ on presentation. The meat was cut tableside and plated after the waiter poured both sauces on the plate. At first the meat looked super burned since it was black, but that was the mushroom coating. The meat was perfectly cooked to a medium-rare. My taste of it was great. Super tender meat with just the right amount of chew.
CT says: I couldn’t have picked a better meal! It was strange to see a slab of black lamb set down in front of me, but when the waiter took it back to slice it, it was a beautiful reddish pink color inside – a perfect medium rare yumminess. The mushroom coating flavor was subtle enough to let the meat shine through, yet gave it a very earthy undertone. Very interesting.
I went with the venison. Unfortunately it is not listed on the menu anymore, but I will do my best to remember what was in it. It had poached pears with orange zest leaned against each piece served with a row of horseradish spaetzle. I love venison since it is nice and meaty and a lot healthier than beef. Like the lamb, the venison was also cooked to a perfect medium-rare. It was one of the best presentations of this notoriously difficult to cook protein. The pears had the just the right amount of sweetness mixed with the tartness of the orange zest that complemented the other items on the plate well. I could eat a whole bowl of the spaetzle on its own; salty fried goodness. I didn’t get much horseradish flavor, but I didn’t miss it.
After we were finished with this fantastic meal, it was dessert time. At JG, there is a choice of 4 flavors with each flavor coming in four mini desserts. No skimping on dessert here.
CT chose “Chocolate.” As listed from the menu:
Jean-Georges Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (right)
Bitter Chocolate Curd with Sesame, Brownie, Cacao Nibs(top)
Bittersweet Chocolate Sorbet, Olive Oil and Sea Salt(left)
Carmelized Honey Ganache, Amaranth Seeds, Hibiscus Streusel. The waiter served some nitrogen frozen ice cream on top.(bottom)
CT says: 4 desserts in 1? AWESOME!! I had gotten the chocolate cake at Nougatine, and I remember TT saying that it’s usually more liquidy inside, so I was excited to try it again and it sure was! The chocolate just flowed out! I have to be honest, the chocolate curd itself didn’t look very appetizing but fortunately its presentation with all the accompaniments mostly hid it; even more importantly though, it tasted great! My surprising favorite was the chocolate sorbet – it was very rich in its chocolatiness, which I didn’t expect from a sorbet. But it also wasn’t too sweet given the olive oil and sea salt component. My least favorite was the streusal. It wasn’t bad, but just didn’t have the same amazing wow-factor as the others, so I only had one bite and don’t really remember it. I guess that’s the benefit of having 4 to choose from!
I went with “Caramel.” Unfortunately, I think the menu has changed slightly so I won’t be able to describe everything. The bottom left was a caramel curd filled doughnut that was still warm, yum. Top left was a Sticky Toffee Pudding Pop with a Crispy Caramel Veil. This was my favorite since it was the least sweet of everything. I believe the ice cream was a variation of salted caramel. The tart was a combination of chocolate and caramel. I thought the gold leaf was a nice touch.
Check out the blurry gooeyness of the JG signature cake and the caramel doughnut innards.
Here are the macarons served after we tried our best on the first dessert. I didn’t try it, so no idea what flavor they were.
JG is famous for its homemade marshmallows. The waiter rolls a cart with a big jar of long strips of marshmallow over to the table and snips a couple pieces off. Tonight’s flavor was the simple vanilla bean.
CT says: These were awesome! I’m not as huge a marshmallow fan as my sister is, but I enjoy them in s’mores or in my hot chocolate. But these were really perfect on their own. Airy, chewy, even a bit creamy, with just enough sweetness to satisfy.
A couple varieties of mignardises; two flavors of jellies(one was cranberry) and some chocolates.
As if this was not enough, we were also give a small bag with MORE chocolates to take home.
CT says: The desserts didn’t stop! But I certainly wasn’t complaining. The chocolates were yummy and I think my roommate especially enjoyed the goodie bag! Thanks TT for a perfect birthday meal!!
All in all, this was an amazing meal. Everything was top notch from ingredients to service. While $98 is not cheap for one person’s meal, considering the amount and quality it definitely was reasonable. The wine list has some outrageously priced wines, but also a few hidden gems. I found a fantastic Spanish Rioja for $39, which at least one other table also found. We were even fortunate enough to have Jean-Georges himself working when we were there. He popped his head in the dining room a couple times to check on things, but never came over to sing Happy Birthday to CT. I let it slide this time, but next time we go he better send over some extra dessert! Happy Birthday CT!