Jean Georges (NY) – Unbalanced Lunch
“I found it absolutely dreadful. Unbalanced flavours, dreadful conception in some dishes, good conception but dreadful execution in others. Some average ingredients.” – Moby
These words, from a comment in a previous post, echoed in my head the day leading up to my Jean Georges lunch. JG was my first “high end” meal five years ago and it stood head and shoulders above everything else for some time (French Laundry, Ron Siegel’s Masa’s, La Folie, and others.) I remembered a nuanced and subtle cuisine permeated by ginger, lemon, and lemongrass essences. The memory of that meal was so positive I found myself reluctant to return on subsequent visits to New York. Well, it was time to brave those waters again.
I met Alex and Aki from Ideas in Food, two of my favorite chefs in this country (see my previous Keyah Grande reports.) The kitchen offered to cook for us and we were off. Actualy, that’s not entirely true – Alex & Aki brought some pre-food – their whipped yogurt crisps and pop rocks. After that, we got started.
The meal was good but there was no subtlety; the flavors were very powerful and not as balanced as I expected/remembered/wanted. You could equate it to a California Zin. In fact, if you read the dish descriptions below, you can probably immediately identify the flavor in question. There were some small technical errors like imperfect fish (not bad, just not perfect) and instances of less than 3*** ingredients (the tuna ribbons, that disgusting L’Astrance-quality pineapple); but it was the overly-forward flavor profile that prevented me from loving it. And, yes, Mr JG was there. Moby’s words rang true on this particular lunch; the meal was high Michelin 1 star quality.
I wasn’t taking notes (foolish me, I thought I could remember everything) so I just leave you w/ pretty pictures. I will return for lunch – it’s a good deal – and pay more attention next time.
2. Caviar, Soft-cooked Egg, & Brioche
3. Bluefin Tuna Ribbons, Avocado, Spicy Radish, & Ginger Marinade
4. Cubes of Kanachi, Spiced Japanese Cucumber, & Soy Basil Infusion
5. Crab and Mango Salad, “Chili-Champagne” Sabayon
6. Sea Trout Sashimi Draped in Trout Eggs, Lemon, Dill, & Horseradish
7. Foie Gras Brulee, Rhubard Juice, Pineapple “Raisins”, & Sichuan Peppercorn
8. Green Asparagus w/ Morels & Asparagus Juice
9. Poached Black Cod w/ Honshimeji Mushrooms & Lemongrass Consomme
10. Black Bass Crusted w/ Nuts & Seeds, Sweet & Sour Jus
11. Smoked Squab A L’Orange, Asian Pear, & Candied Tamarind
12. Short Rib Vinaigrette, Favas, Jalapeno, & Mint
13. Carved Pineapple
14. Rhubard Granite, Buttermilk Froth, Cape Gooseberries
15. Pine Nut / Rhubard Cake, Crispy Pine Nuts, Creme Fraiche Ice Cream
17. Mystery Shooter