[EN] Experience Tastes of Spring at Jean Georges
Location: 1 Central Park West New York, New York, 10023
Website : Jean Georges
Story : Mnemosyne
Photo : Mnemosyne+Jock
|Quality of Food|
With three stars Michelin and numerous accolades, Jean Georges raises a high expectation. Once arrived, we were cordially welcomed by the receptionist, who immediately helps store our luggage and coats then got us seated. Just from the very start, we are already impressed with their service.
The decor is simple yet elegant. Since it is Iunch time, we got to bask ourselves in the sunlight, shining through the floor-to-ceiling windows surrounded us. The menu awes us with a wide variety of spring dishes. We decided that, coming all this way, we would go all out. We thus ordered the tasting menu (128$++) , aptly titled “Tastes of Spring” . It includes 6 courses, highlighting the eclectic arrays of spring produce such as artichoke, asparagus, avocado and fiddlehead ferns as their ingredients.
Fortunately, we got tips from our friend who had visited before. He enthusiastically recommended the egg caviar which was not on today’s testing menu. After inquiring the service staff, we were able to swap the Caviar, Meyer lemon and crème fraiche with the highly-raved Egg Caviar with 30 $ supplement. Once the order was taken, the bread was served. Their sour dough deserves praise for tempting all of us into having a second even though we planned to reserve space for the ensuing courses. They provided butter and sea salt which goes particularly well with their soft sourdough.
Then comes the Amuse bouche, aimed to wake your palette. Today's complementary Amuse bouche is avocado soup with sashimi and cute tiny puff pastry on the side. The soup is rich and creamy and the sashimi is very fresh. The rhubarb sauce on the sashimi did a great job of enhancing the flavor of the otherwise quite bland sashimi. Having our palettes ready, we delved into our first course. The caviar Meyer lemon is quite a treat. The citrusy lemon and crème fraiche add a touch of spring to the salty caviar and make the dish truly refreshing.
The egg caviar though, takes the caviar dish to another level. I don’t know how they manage to turn an egg into a 30$ worth of blissful sensation but they did just that. The egg is smooth and silky. Coupled that melt-in-your-mouth texture with high quality caviar and crème fraiche and you have an incomparable dish that you would dream of coming back for more. For the first few minutes, we were lost for words. It is THAT good!
The following course gives us a smooth landing from cloud nine. Fresh and a little fatty hamachi with shredded radish and avocado gel is a small plate of joy. The third course is goat cheese gnocchi . The cheese is not too pungent and the crispy fried onion complements the cheese’s soft and creamy texture. Expecting gnocchi to be more chewy, this comes as a delightful surprise. Next comes the skate which could be difficult to cook right. I have sent some skate dishes back at other places before where it was so rubbery to the point of barely edible. I am pleased to report that Jean Georges didn’t let us down. The skate dish was perfectly executed. We fell in love with the garnish as well, especially artichoke and fiddlehead ferns. Definitely this dish is bursting with tastes of spring on plate.
At this point a few of us were feeling quite stuffed but the lamb dish, with its taunting aroma, refuses to be ignored. Once we got the first bite, everyone forgot they were whining about getting full just a second earlier. The lamb was perfectly seasoned. There is no other way to describe such a bold yet balanced flavor we experienced. It was exactly medium for mine (and medium rare for others), incredibly juicy and savory. The crouton crumbles on the top add a crunch to the tender meat and the lightly seasoned spring vegetables on the side. This has surely risen to the top list of my favorite lamb dishes.
Full and satisfied, we turned to the dessert. We were presented with beautifully plated rhubarb tasting. First up is rhubarb crumble. Rhubarb here has almost a jam-like texture, embedded in breadcrumbs. A nice play on texture albeit slightly too sweet for my taste. Next up is a refreshing rhubarb drink along with crispy banana fritters. You can hardly go wrong with fried fritters, that much I can tell. Second to last is rhubarb pie. The dish is well balanced and not overly sweet with delightfully rich cream inside. Last but not least is vanilla ice-cream wrapped in a thin layer of rhubarb jelly . It seems like quite a craft. I still couldn’t figure out how they wrap a melty ice-cream with soft jelly and still keep its form. On top are pieces of thinly sliced rhubarb, which were crisp and utterly thin. With pieces of fresh fruits drenched in not-overly-sweet rhubarb sauce on the side, this plate sends you back on the cloud yet again.
I thought we were quite done at this point but I was wrong. Out of the kitchen comes a cart with a gigantic marshmallow-filled jar. The marshmallow is carefully cut and served table side. And yes, it’s light and fluffy as it looks. We asked for a check and, with the check, come yet more delights. Yuzu-flavored macarons here can easily challenge Laduree’s in both flavor and texture.The check then arrives back at the table with a full tray of chocolate truffles.The truffles are decadent but most of us are out of our wits and ended up leaving a few behind.
But what we did take with us was a wonderful memory of one of the best tasting experiences that will stay with us for a long time to come. I wish I could have written a more balanced review but I was thoroughly blown away that it is hard to find criticisms. I highly recommend fellow foodies to check it out if you haven’t done so already. I hope you enjoy our review and thank you for your support :)