It's a pattern. The Jean George establishments open strong and then linger long after they've gone downhill from neglect. Just wanted to share a warning.
Went for lunch, and it immediately appeared run down in the daylight. The white leather seating had not been cleaned. There were visible grease and food stains all over, including the waiters clothes....I hate to dwell on the decor over the food, but I had a bad feeling something was off just from the lack of upkeep alone.
I ordered the Fried Chicken, which was a tiny thigh (size of a cornish hen's) butterflied and somewhat fried, but soggy. It was cooked in bitter old grease. The pea puree smear tasted overly sweet like babyfood. The pickled onion should have been garnish, rather than a featured part of the dish. MInd you, this was the waiters suggestion to order, and when I couldn't eat it, they didn't even come to the table to ask if everything was okay.
What's interesting is, when the dishes are made up to spec, it becomes quickly apparent that JG's food can be reduced down to stunts. An inverted brownie with hot fudge, tempura batter dipped calamari with a foamy mayo for dipping, etc. Cheaper ingredients and familiar flavors make up what normally appears to be creative fine dining.
I'm going to have a difficult time bothering with Jean George/Nougatine again. At least the lated crop like ABC Kitchen and Mark, look to have a more unique menu identity.
35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003