"I'm going to Jean-Georges for lunch," I told my neighbor, indulging in a bit of name-dropping. "I hope my expensive clothes don't get ruined by the rain." "You must be richer than I thought," she said. What she didn't know is that Jean-Georges has a $20 lunch. It's year round, in its more casual Nougatine room, and it's twelve whole cents cheaper than all those other places that offer $20.12 lunches.
Some of those other places put a lot more care into their $20.12 lunches than Jean-Georges does, but it's still a good deal. I've been eating there since the month it opened. Usually the soup is stellar, with three or four blended flavors, each startling and sublime, and the rest of the meal is dull. Today the soup was a pedestrian potato, with a few cubes of purple potatoes from Peru to enliven the Yukon gold puree. But the entree was better than average. Poached chicken breast so soft you could eat it with a spoon perched atop a bed of purple covered salty cabbage and apple cubes, with purple and white bubbly foam stripes (purple was cabbage foam, white was apple foam.) Dessert was a terrine of different chocolate creams with an intensely flavored orange sorbet on the side.
Definitely worth the twenty... if only to savor the ambiance for an hour or so (there are potted orchids in the men's room) and to watch, through the floor to ceiling windows, pedestrians stumble and tumble into the puddle-strewn street below.