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Jean Georges for the non-seafood-eater

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  • cmm3 Jul 5, 2008 11:30 AM
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So, I'm allergic to all seafood. I called Jean Georges and asked if they had substitutions, and they promised they could prepare me a fresh meal with no seafood at all. I am still a bit hesitant. Worst comes to worst, I leave and call AmEx to find me a table somewhere else, but considering I'd like to have a nice time, I'd like to avoid that.

Anybody who's been here, please tell me, do they offer other menus up front that don't have seafood on them. On the website, they list only seafood for their dinner menus. My other option is Daniel NYC.

I wasn't impressed with Per Se last time, and their lack of wines from Provence off set me (from their 41 page wine list, 3 wines from Provence!).

So, what's the verdict. Somebody give me some help?

Thanks.

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  1. One possibility is to go for lunch. The lunch menu is a la carte (and a big bargain by the way) and there are lots of courses which don't have seafood. Obviously if you do this you should tell your waiter that you are allergic to seafood (and also allergic to fish?) in case they use, say, fish paste in the sauce of a meat dish.

    My guess would be that if they say they will prepare a meal with no seafood then they will do it, especially if you have the sort of AmEx card that comes with a concierge. As I said above, if you are allergic to fish as well as seafood, you have to tell them.

    Bon appetit!

    1. Restaurant these days are very conscious of allergies, and even if diners don't call in advance, wait staff in many restaurants now specifically ask if diners have any allergies because there can be ingredients "hidden" in preparations that could cause problems.

      I'm not sure why you say the Jean Georges website shows only seafood. I just looked, and there are a few starters that are not fish or seafood, and under the main course listing, I see squab, duck, lamb and beef.

      However, If you are still concerned about dining at Jean Georges despite their assurances that they will cater to your needs, it might be better for you to pick another first-rate restaurant, such as Daniel, where you will feel more comfortable.

      1. You might be setting yourself up for further disappointment at Jean Georges, only because I don't think that JG's wine list will be as deep as that of a very robust one at Per Se, notwithstanding having "only" 3 pages of available wines from a small and a very minor wine-producing region such as Provence.

        Jean Georges is a major player in high-end dining here in NYC and if you can't trust their promise of available fresh meal without seafood then you should pick another restaurant.

        2 Replies
        1. re: RCC

          I said 3 "wines" - not "pages".

          And I beg to differ re to Provence not being a big wine reason. It may pale in comparison to other places in France, but there is a lot of wonderful whites coming out of Provence. And that wasn't my only disappointment with Per Se - they are also very weighted towards seafood and you have *no* idea what you're getting that night, even if you ask for certain things - I like to have an idea what I'll get, and know that I'm not getting a dish thrown together at the last second because I can't eat what Per Se is mainly known for, their seafood.

          I just want to be satisfied with my meal. It seems all the major players are heavily seafood-weighted and I don't want to get a second class meal because I can't eat seafood.

          1. re: cmm3

            There's not a lot of whites that come from Provence. There are very few appellations in this small wine-producing region and the largest one, Cotes de Provence, produces 90% roses wines. Bandol, one of the the appellation are almost all reds; while the wines Bellet, the another appellation are hardly available outside of the Nice area. Perhaps, Cassis would have some whites that are appealing, but which are more geared for seafood dishes and which you're not into.

            Just a suggestion, and since you like to have and idea of what you're gonna get, then I think that you should call JG in advance to find out if they'd have Provence whites available when you dine.

        2. They are many wonderful non seafood items at jean georges including two wonderful preparations of foie, the goat cheese ravioli, garlic soup etc as well as duck, two different preparations of beef, lamb, chicken, and squab for the main course. As for your interest in wines from Provence, there is probably no restaurant in the US that has an extensive selection of those wines. I have only noted great selections of Provencal wines in Provence.
          Jean Georges will definitely take into consideration your allergies when preparing your meal. I am a regular dinner there, with certain food allergies myself, and they are quite aware of my allergies and will alter dishes to keep me safe.

          1 Reply
          1. re: sethd

            JG's is definitely accommodating when it comes to special requests. You should have no doubts about that point. They have the friendliest, approachable wait staff of all the 4 star places - IMHO.

          2. Jean Georges is a great restaurant. You can get many things besides seafood. The foie gras is the best I've had anywhere.

            1. As RGR mentioned, most of the restaurants in nyc are very conscious of allergies and very accommodating as well. Having quite a few friends with seafood and other allergies, the chefs and maitre'ds had recommended to call ahead and let them know of any allergies. That way they can plan menu for you in advance.

              That said, JG has a lot of non seafood options, however you should clear with them to make sure no condiments is used in these dishes. They could be using shrimp paste, fish sauce (not sure if you're allergic to this too) and etc.

              Re: Daniel, you should definitely call ahead so they have good dishes for you. A vegetarian once dined without letting them know in advance and he ended up having salad and mushroom tart for the evening. It was very good he said, but the maitre'd did mention to him that if he called in advance they would be able to prepare something better for him.

              5 Replies
              1. re: omnomnom

                How long ago did that situation with your vegetarian acquaintance take place at Daniel? There is no need to call ahead now because, in addition to their regular menu, they offer two vegetarian menus: 3-course prix-fixe and 6-course tasting.

                http://www.danielnyc.com/daniel/menus...

                1. re: RGR

                  I don't touch anything out of the ocean (except canned tuna lol !) and have eaten at and enjoyed Jean Georges on many occasions - never felt any lack of choice or need to make a big deal out of it.

                  1. re: RGR

                    Actually, you may run into some trouble at Daniel with the 6-course tasting. We were there a couple of months ago, and I called the restaurant a couple of weeks in advance to let them know that we'd like to do the 6-course tasting, but that one of our party didn't eat fish. The reservationist was completely accomodating, stated that it would be no problem and that they'd make a note of it in our reservation.

                    When we actually got there and ordered, however, our head waiter was EXTREMELY rude about the substitution, stating "oh, that will be a PROBLEM, I will have to check with the chef" and then proceeding to make us wait 10-15 minutes while he "checked." When he came back and announced that it would be fine, he then proceeded to give my mother (the non-fish eater) all the attitude he could muster and rolled his eyes as she tried to choose substitute courses (without any help from him). I finally had to take over and point out a section of the menu she had missed. TOTALLY unacceptable for a restaurant of this caliber. I have dined at Per Se, Charlie Trotter and several other tasting-menu type places with non-fish eaters, and I've NEVER encountered attitude like that regarding substitutions.

                    Anyway, I would hope that my experience was just an anomaly, but if you choose Daniel I would definitely alert the reservationist and request that he/she alert your waiter ahead of time, to avoid this kind of drama!

                    PS - we also ate at Jean Georges a couple of months ago and LOVED it - the food was spectacular (worlds better than Daniel, IMHO), and my mother had plenty of non-fish options to choose from. We didn't do the tasting menu there, though, so I'm not sure what the fish content is like or how good they are with substitutions.

                    1. re: RGR

                      RGR, this was about two/three months ago. He is a vegan vegetarian and that is probably why those menus aren't suitable for him.

                      1. re: omnomnom

                        You did say "vegetarian" The additional info that he is a vegan does make a substantial difference. I would agree the vegetarian menus would probably not be suitable and special advance arrangements would have to be made.

                  2. Short ribs are very good. I also heard that the sweetbreads were great--haven't tried them. Last summer I had a corn ravioli that was the highlight of my meal (I wasn't as impressed w/the famous scallops w/cauliflower).