Friday afternoon I had the best lunch of my year, if not the best meal of the year, and definitely one of the best meals of my life. It happened at Jean-Georges, Jean-Georges Vongerichten's four star flagship restaurant at the Trump International Hotel in Columbus Circle. I had never been to Jean-Georges, and after hearing about how they had lunch for only $29 (for two courses), I knew I had to go there one day, and that day finally arrived.
My dining partner was the fabulous Director of PR/Marketing for a famous restaurant group, who knows her wine and food, so I knew she would be the perfect companion for this culinary adventure.
I don't dine at four star restaurants often, and I do love my hidden treasures, cheap eats, etc, but Jean-Georges is four stars all the way, from the room to the service and, of course, the food.
The room is absolutely perfect. It is one large rectangle with a huge window up front that during lunch gets the most amazing sunlight, making for quite the gorgeous dining experience. There is ample room between tables too, making it very comfortable. There is an amazing light fixture that comes out of the center of the ceiling, sprouting a plethora of lights. A true work of art.
And then there is the food.
I ordered the fois gras brulee and the red snapper, and my companion ordered the wild mushroom tea soup and the roasted veal. We also ordered a crab toast dish for the table.
Before the dishes arrived, we were sent out an amuse bouche of salmon sashimi with blood orange, a cheddar fritter, and a duck consomme with gruyere ravioli. This was a fabulous start to the meal. The succession of flavors and textures on this one plate was awesome. From the saltiness of the fish to the crunchiness of the fritter, to the soothing consomme, this plate of food played with my taste buds unlike anything I had ever encountered before.
Next came a course that executive chef Mark Lapico sent out to us that we didn't even order. (I had entertained Mark one night a few months ago; I'm not sure if this was why he sent us out this amazing course, or if I was recognized as the Celebrity Magician/Foodie I am, but either way, it was a spectactular course.) In front of me was the egg caviar, which was amazing, wonderful, and delicious.
My companion was served the egg toast with caviar and dill. This, my friends, will forever linger in my head. It is what I like to call "The Perfect Bite." It tasted almost like a grilled cheese sandwich, yet there was no cheese on it. After one bite of this, though, my jaw was on the ground. It was simply unbelievable. You really need to try it for yourself to taste what I am talking about. Pure perfection!
The wild mushroom dish came with parmesan, chili and thyme. The mushrooms were extremely fresh and it was as if I were eating a garden! I had never tasted anything like this in my life and it was wonderful!
My foie gras brulee came with dried sour cherries, candied pistachios and a white port gelee. This was another unique dish that was great. I loved the play on sweetness this dish had, as well as the texture given by the crunch of the pistachios.
Our sesame crab toast with miso-mustard and Asian pear and shiso was a pleasant dish. The miso-mustard gave the toast a nice kick, and the Asian pear and shiso salad was pure genius.
The roasted veal sat atop braised artichokes and had parmesan and lavender. The veal was perfectly cooked and juicy, and the hint of lavender was a beautiful accent to the meat.
My red snapper was crusted with nuts and seeds, and came in a sweet and sour jus. This was the best fish dish I had ever eaten in my entire life. The flavor was so unique, yet so perfect; I was truly blown away. The fish was perfectly cooked, and practically melted in my mouth with each spoonful I took as it mixed with the amazing jus. Yes, I was advised to eat this dish with a spoon, which worked out well. There were some great fresh vegetables (onions and tomatoes) in the dish too. I still cannot get this dish out of my head; it was orgasmic and mind-blowing!
Of course I needed to end such a fantastic meal with one of Johnny Iuzzini's signature desserts. I went with the Jean-Georges chocolate cake, vanilla bean ice ream, peppermint broth, cocoa noodles, and white chocolate sorbet. This was an amazing, satisfying, and unbelievable dessert. I loved it!
Some nice petits fours were also sent out at the end of the meal. The most unique and original being the hand-cut vanilla bean marshmallows. Wow!
This was absolutely one of the best meals of my life. For $29 for two dishes this also makes this meal one of the best bangs for your buck in NYC, and probably in the entire world! I loved everything about this meal, from the flawless service to the beautiful room, and of course the mind-blowing cuisine. This will be a lunch and experience I will never forget. So, one day, go to lunch at Jean-Georges, and get your mind blown.
1 Central Park West (at the Trump International Hotel)
New York, NY 10023