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Jean Georges or Aureole?

Which do you prefer? We're looking for something wonderful for a birthday dinner and one of the party is a vegetarian (I believe both do vegetarian tasting menus). We've heard great things about the food at both places, but somewhat mixed reviews on service.

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  1. It has been several years since I have dined at either restaurant, but I would suggest that the service at Aureole was better when my wife and I were there. The food was excellent at both, but as someone who enjoys the whole experience, the waitstaff at Jean George was a bit removed, or even above us...as lowly diners.

    1 Reply
    1. re: nyfoodjoe

      for my money the jean geoerges cafe, although a smaller menu, has the same food as the more formal dining room, in a comfortable environment. as a matter fact i had a wonderful experience there with an exceptionally accomodating waiter. the food is wonderful.

    2. of the two, Aureole wins for cozier, more personal service.And I love the food. I love the food at JG as well but the service, ambience and even the room can be a bit chilling. I would choose JG for a client or business celebration. Do check with either whether the whole table needs to do the same tasting menu or not. Re Nougatine (the casual JG spot): yes, the food is very good too but much more casual.

      1. My wife and I just ate at JG last weekend. I thought the service was incredibly friendly and made a delicious dinner that much more enjoyable. The servers took the time to answer our questions about both the food and the wine. We also laughed that she was chewing gum when she walked in, forgot about it when sitting down, realized she had it and was immediately met by a server with a silver box who said she could put the gum in there. That was classic and indicative of the level of attentiveness!

        We did different tasting menus so I would imagine that you would have no problem doing 1 veg and 1 regular. I think that, of the 2 tasting menus, I enjoyed the classic JG menu that my wife had slightly more than the special winter menu that I had, though both were excellent.

        1. I would definitely recommend Aureole over Jean Georges. While the food at both restaurants is wonderful, the warmth and attentiveness of the service at Aureole cannot be surpassed. I've dined several times at JG, and while the service is always "fine", it can be a bit standoffish at times. The wine director at Aureole is wondeful; he always has the best recommendations.

          1. Just as a note that Aureole's thehef just left after Valentine's day. I haven't been there since there so I can't comment if there is any slip in quality. However, even before the chef left, I still prefer Jean Georges to Aureole. I think Jean Georges does a better job in accommodating special requests. For instance, one of my friends couldn't have seafood because of allergy, and we called ahead to ask them if they could accommodate this (the catch was that even the cooking equipments that they use cannot have touched seafood when they prepared my friend's dishes). They gladly fulfilled our request, and even gave a special amuse bouche for my friend.

            2 Replies
            1. re: kobetobiko

              I'm scheduled to take a cooking demonstration class at Aureole with the new chef this Saturday (sponsored by The New School), so I'm really looking forward to meeting him. I've heard great things about the new chef, and I am certain that Charlie Palmer would never let anyone less than wonderful be the chef at Aureole.

              1. re: ellenost

                Hi ellennost,

                That's so great to hear! You are so lucky! Can you report back after your class? Would love to hear your feedback.

                Hope you have a wonderful cooking session with the chef!

            2. I love Jean Georges, always had great meals and service there. I have not been to Aureole in NY but I went to the one in Las Vegas and the food was mediocore and the services was terrible! Maybe it is unfair to judge the NY restaurant from the Vegas one, but I would never choose it for a special night.

                1. Been to Aureole several times and never liked the food. Service was very good but food was just so so each time. Too creative for it's own good and did not work for me. Went to Jean Georges(formal room) for the first time 2 weeks ago. Everything was top notch. Jean Georges is now one of my faves in the city. I need to go back very soon.

                  1. JG, no question. The food at Aureole seems dated. The restaurant seems dated. I realize JG has been around just as long, but the frequency with which the menu changes shows me they're keenly aware of gastronomic developments. My last meal there was ALMOST as tasty as per se. Almost, but not quite.

                    1. A group of four of us ate at Jean-Georges a few weeks ago. It was truly a fabulous meal! I was actually quite impressed with service for the most part. I found the staff very professional but also friendly. The sommelier recommended a lovely bottle of wine that was pretty reasonably priced IIRC. The thing I remember most fondly was the foie gras sandwich on brioche that started my meal. It had to be one of the richest and most delicous things I have ever eaten.

                      1. I think there's some truth in the comments above. The staff isn't *quite* as friendly at Jean-George as Aureole, and the food isn't *quite* as cutting-edge at Aureole as Jean-George, but it's all relative. I have always felt warmly welcomed at Jean-George, and I have always had a delicious meal at Aureole. They're probably my two favorite "high-end" restaurants in New York. You'll have a great time at either.

                        1. No contest--Jean Georges. The food is among the best in town, and the service is very, very good. When my wife and I went on our anniversary, they presented, as a complete surprise, an extra dessert at the end of the meal, with "Happy Anniversary" written in chocolate on it. Neither of us had told the reservaitonist or the waiter it was our anniversary. How'd they know? At the beginning of the meal, we exchanged cards. This lasted all of two minutes and we did it when we thought no staff were around. They were that attentive.