Saturday, July 9, 2011

Jean Georges

Taking a yellow taxi to Trump towers, near central park, we stepped through two entrances, all glass, with gold handles.  Two female hosts,  a darker girl shaved head, the other I couldn't remember because I was shocked by women having shorter hair than me and realizing its cool now.  They led us to our seat in Jean Georges restaurant.  
Wow, this was fine dining.  Everything I expected.  The silverware was turned upside down to show off the fancy brand name.  The plates had a gold rim, elegantly displaying the Chef's initials.  The woman sommelier with long eyelashes dressed business casual, smiling, displaying the red in between her teeth, indicating that she was tasting the wine, making sure the guest was getting everything the wine had to offer.  

An ecclectic group filled the room.  People in suits.  Old white men and young wives.  a group of four asians that sat on our right, and another white man with a soft afro (artistic look) making out in public with his hipster girlfriend. The chandeliers were elegant, we sat on a grey couch/booth that was curved.  Sparkling or still water was offered.  It was a foreign language to me.  I said still, while trying to act cool, as if I knew what I was talking about.  When in all reality...=)

There was the option of a chef's tasting which offered the signature dishes of the Chef.  Then there was a summer tasting, courses themed by the local produce of the season.  Then there was an a la carte menu on the left.  We each went for the summer tasting.  I took pictures of each course.  I'll show you. 

Like a good blade movie, the introduction sets the tone of the overall movie, the first trick has to be a good one, the music has to be just right.  Chef's have a voluntary choice to introduce whats coming to the meal by starting off with an Amuse Bouche, a few small bites, that is free of charge.  Most Chef's don't do this, its the one's that are there for the food and for the guest, that truly care.  

Chef Jean did an amazing job with this amuse bouche.  The small bite to awaken the palette.  Salmon with ginger that opened the senses with an umami kick.  In the middle an herbed goat cheese phyllo pastry, that crumbled with a poke from the fork.  Yet, the pastry stayed together thanks to the cheese that acted like a glue.  This was all washed down with sweet beet flavored foam and a refreshing cucumber shooter.  Everything was extraordinary and enlivened our palettes.  Thank you Chef.  This was the first three bites and I was ready to jump out of my seat and scream to the whole room a "FUCK YEAH!"

The first course began with a poached egg that brought a savory component to the salty caviar and creamy yogurt that was served with a nicely toasted brioche.

Here are macerated strawberries, feta, and a wasabi sorbet that packed a nose clearing punch.  The strawberries were tart but sweet, the wasabi overwhelmingly spicy, although it opened up the taste buds and the salty feta brought the dish altogether.  This meal happened about a week ago as I am writing this and I am still dreaming about this dish.  Who would have thought of putting wasabi with strawberries?  Thanks again Jean Georges.   I am beginning to wonder if this dude trained as a chef on Mt. Olympus.  This is food fit for God's.  

Now Asparagus is a very common vegetable used in any kitchen establishment.  How this was plated was truly a work of art.  Shaving the bottoms, the choice of the plate, and the chive sauce.  

The restaurant was the Porsche of dining, as the captain (the server's boss) poured a creamy Morel sauce over the asparagus.  

Now I am very familiar with the taste of a salted water blanched asparagus.  These asparagus was far from it.  The asparagus had a citrus, and savory component to the grassy flavor.  The flavor of each component wasn't masked and instead every component that was added was a great pairing to enhance the overall flavor.  The plate acted like a team, each having a unique strength that, when brought together, was unstoppable.  It must have been cooked in a flavored broth.  It was mellow yet, enlivening.  The creamed morels had a bit of mustard in it and gave it the eyes rolling behind my head kick.  

Jean Georges came out into the dining room a little timid and shy, in fresh whites, just to show his face at our dinner table.  What an honor.  No pictures, quick to run off, he wasn't there to be a celebrity, he was there to be a cook. 

Then came the meat courses.  Sesame crusted sea bass, with radishes, lavendar, and sea weed, that felt like I ate a fish right from the sea.  From the tip of my tongue to the back, the savory sesame flavor with a visit from the lavendar with the soft and tender fish that could be flaked with the push of your tongue and having the seaweed freshen up the dish, allowing the fish to feel "at home" in its rightful place... in my mouth.  =p

The courses may have been small in portions, yet, there were so many of them, I was getting stuffed at this point.  The lobster was slow cooked as it melted in your mouth, no tough shells to crack through, or chewy over-cooked texture.  The fava beans were a great addition and had nicely crisp buttery browned gnocchi (my favorite way to cook a potato).  

If you didn't feel like loosening your belt, the medium rare lamb, was the heaviest dish that made sure your belly was filled.  It tore easily with the gentle push from a fork.  The girls at the table couldn't even get to the end of this dish, and were already plotting out their next gym session.  Salty pecorino cheese freshly grated over the sweet flavored lamb was completed with a slightly bitter broccoli rabe that gave balance to the dish. 

The desserts included a rhubarb shooter, some dish that tasted like a gourmet hi-c fruit punch.  I was overloaded at this point and couldn't completely remember the desserts.  

They did serve green tea macaroons which, was enough to complete my night. 

The chef even wanted you to have more chocolate on your way out, if you hadn't already received enough food.

We taxi'd through times square and called it a night.  Tomorrow night we had reservations for Le Bernardin, Chef Eric Ripert's, fish themed restaurant.  After a meal like this, this was going to be hard to compete with.