A paen to Jean Georges
- Josh Mittleman
This past weekend, my parents took the baby and Riva & I spent the weekend luxuriating in the city. Friday evening: Dinner at Jean Georges.
I've seen cuisine rise to this level of artistry only a couple times before. We had their seven course tasting menu -- plus a lovely amuse bouche and a cheese course -- and every dish was more than perfect: Perfectly prepared with an extra touch or two that raised it to fine art.
This was an indulgence we won't repeat often, but it was assuredly worth the price.
re: R Washburn
They were offering two tasting menus; we both went for the Winter menu. There were too many marvelous details to remember, alas, but here are the main points.
The first dish was an amuse bouche of three parts: a "ravioli" constructed from a thin slice of watermelon radish folded over a marvelous filling the details of which slip my mind; a parmesan flan topped with truffle sauce of some kind; and a single perfect slice of sushi-quality tuna on a rice wafer with a wasabi-flavored sauce.
Truffle surprise: A sphere of fois gras mousse rolled in minced black truffle and coated with a truffle gelatin, resting in a puddle of wine gelatin. The whole thing looked like a whole truffle.
Peekytoe crab salad served with cumin-scented wafers, mango salsa, and a mayonnaise spiked with mustard seed.
Chestnut soup. A chestnut ravioli, chunks of chestnut, and other vegetables in a chestnut broth based on the most marvelously intense chicken broth I've ever tasted.
Slow-baked cod crusted with pistachio and served with a pistachio sauce.
At this point, we switched from absolutely splendid New Zealand riesling, Giesen Reserve Selection 1998, to a barolo that was lovely but apparently didn't strike me as wonderful enough to write down the name.
Langoustine with a fruit chutney. I don't recall much about this dish because I don't care for langoustine, and gave most of it to my wife. The chutney was described as "a 17th century chutney", whatever that means.
Venison loin with assorted roasted vegetables, served with a wine sauce and topped with a sort of stuffing made from panko, herbs, and other goodies.
We added a cheese plate at this point, choosing 5 cheeses from the amazing cheese cart. I chose an Alsatian muenster (powerful and yummy), my wife chose bleu d'Auvergne and camembert (both perfect), and I asked the waiter to add a firm cheese and a dry, chalky one. I didn't note the names, but they were both nice. The last was a goat cheese aged in rosemary leaves, which was very nice but overpowering.
Finally dessert, which consisted of four desserts on each plate, then coffee and a plate of tiny merinques and candies.