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Jean Georges Mostly Hype? (Long post)


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Jean Georges Mostly Hype? (Long post)

Mao | Jul 6, 2001 11:36 PM

Having eaten a couple of times at Vong and JoJos and found the latter quite good (best Foie Gras I have ever had) and the former pretentious and very erratic, I thought I would try the original. I went twice in the last week, and came away feeling that the food was merely OK. Credit goes for culinary adventurousness, but ambition without execution is still a leap left short. And I left wondering how much of modern cuisine is Food Channel hype. It was actually pretty depressing.

I did 2 different tasting menus in the 2 trips and also did a wine course the 2nd time. I did the 2nd one tonight, so my food memory is much fresher. JGV himself was blatently present at the joint flitting between on display kitchen, a few familiars at the bar and an 80s ex-celebrity who drew more of his doting than the food.
On to the food. I chose the "Jean-Georges" signature dishes this time, having had the Summer Tasting Menu last Friday.

Egg Caviar was all butter to the drowning death of the caviar with the result that I felt that I was eating salty butter.

Young Garlic soup with frogs legs and thyme was supple and nice, but ultimately only nice and the frogs legs tasted just unfrozen.

Turbot in a Chateau Chalon sauce, tomato and zuchini was again nice but neither interesting nor fresh. Shrug.

Lobster Tartine with Lemongrass Fenugreek broth and pea shoots, on the other hand, was a culinary mind f$%&. The pea shoots and the lobster were very fresh and flavor combinations were brilliant.

Broiled Squab, Onion Compote, Corn Pancake and Foie Gras. Flat all around. Tough squab, stringy FG, decent sauce and soggy pancake disappointed.

Deserts were first rate and focused on fresh fruit. Wine course was like the meal - randomly bad and brilliant at turns. One French chard which tasted like the worst Cali variety (oak me to death) and one Pinot Noir which was a revelation.

Service was very good if not quite up to GT or Le Bernardin pampering, but hell I go for food, which was
so-so and very, very inconsistent. Perhaps I am asking too much but at $225 including tip per head, I kind of expect excellence in every bite, not in 1 in 6 dishes.

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