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Casual Jean George?

We have a reservation this week at the Casual part of JG, Nougatine, or something like that. Any impressions that people can share on this place? Is it as good at the formal room next door, or will it be like being a second class citizen? Should we wait and just make it into the big dining room (rather than catching peeks when the door opens?)

If not there, any other recommendations, for really well prepared new american food. Most of the places I have been trying to get into are booked for next Sat night. Looked into Annise, EMP, Blue Hill, La Bernadin, L'Atelier, and a bunch of others and most are full until 10:00. Location irrelevant, we'll go anywhere on the island. That's an idea of what we are looking for. Went to Veritas about 3 months ago and that was fabulous.

Thanks in advance for any help the NY chows can provide.

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  1. Try David Burke & Donatella, Picholine or Gotham Bar & Grill (but I fear they'll be booked too)

    2 Replies
    1. re: idia

      yes booked. Forgot how hard reservations come by after leaving NYC to become a country hick in Boston, where the food truly is sub-par. Thanks.

      1. re: idia

        Did you try calling them? Not all reservations are available on opentable, if that's what you used. They pocket prime timeslots at all of those places.

        I love love Picholine.

        But no - you will not feel second class at Nougatine. Not at all.

      2. I don't think of eating at Nougatine as being second-class, although JG is certainly more formal (some might say fussier) in its approach. Both have highly professional staff and a wide array of interesting menu choices. Nougatine is probably the least "casual" of the NYC restaurants that come to mind that have a more and less formal side.

        1. How about Tocqueville? For some reason, I think it tends to fly a but under the usual radar. We had a superb dinner there during the summer. Acc. to OpenTable, res. for two available for 9:30 p.m. -- a bit late but, in my view, not as bad as 10 p.m.


          Btw, EMP and Blue Hill, as well as Tocqueville, have availability at 5:30 p.m.

          1. You should keep your reservation at Nougatine. It is excellent and the service is always pleasant.

            1. I haven't been to the formal part of JG, but you'll definitely NOT feel like a second-class citizen at Nougatine. I've been there several times, and it's a great space with great food. If the formal JG dining room didn't exist, Nougatine would stand excellently on its own.

              1. I've been to Jean Georges thrice, twice in the formal dining room for dinner and once in the casual dining room for lunch. I actually much preferred the food (the short ribs---oh myyy) and overall experience during lunch! So no, by no means will you be treated as second-class citizens just because it's the casual dining room...besides, why strangle yourself in a tie when you can wear a comfortable pair of jeans (with a nice shirt, and blazer of course)?

                If you're looking for other options, consider Perry St...while the location is rather bizarre (along the west side highway, below Richard Meier's glass apartment building), I found the food (and drink---must try their Mojito) to be surprisingly tasty!

                I like to eats.

                1. Ditto on Perry St. Been there several times and each time the meal has been fantastic. The waitstaff is especially knowledgable about the menu, ingredients, etc and can answer almost any question you throw at them. I like the clean, simple decor too.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: claireness

                    I third Perry St. I use it almost everytime I need to take a client out for dinner. The food is always great the decor is simple and modern. It never gets loud and hard to speak. I haven't yet been to Nougatine, but I recently went to the formal dining room and if you get the chance the food is absolutely wonderful.

                    1. re: rathbone

                      I used to go to Nougatine for brunch every Sunday, the menu is small but the quality of food is definitely the same as JG. If you never dine there, I recommend you to try, it's less formal but it's very comfortable

                      1. re: foodie37

                        Kept our reservation to Nougatine, and glad we did. Here are some of the highlights. Very reasonably priced tasting menu IMO, $68 for four courses (including desert). The amuse was a salmon tartare, served with a side of some kind of spicy tomatoe consumme. It was absolutely excellent, my favorite of the night, I wish there was more of it.

                        The 1st was a peppered goat cheese dish on top of ripe pears, topped with a bit of lightly tossed frisse. Very good, although not necessarily cutting edge. 2nd was a tuna tartare served on top of avocado. Presentation was beautiful, executed perfectly, although again not necessarily inventive. 3rd was a slow cooked cod that was spiced with a good mix of middle eastern (maybe medeterranean) spices. Fish was poached and the liquid it was served with was very flavorful. I enjoyed it, but was not particularly thrilled with the spices. In all fairness, it was the favorite of many at the table, and was very inventive. The texture of the cod was exceptional. Seasoning was intense, and people afraid of salt would have been put off, although I thought it was perfect. Desert was excellent, I can't remember all the components, but there was a small molton chocolate cake (again not too inventive) and some other sweet mousses to nosh on.

                        Service was interesting, but not necessarily what I expected. I didn't get the sense that the servers were experts on the food (and I tend to ask a lot of questions about the prep and ingredients). They were always on top of things, just not as expert as I would have expected. Overall, a very well prepared and serviced meal. And if you avoid getting to banged up with the wine list, it can be a very reasonably (by NYC standards at least) priced evening. Thanks for all the help. Will try Perry Street soon.