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Sep 21, 2010 04:41 PM

Perry St. = JG downhill cycle

It's a pattern. The Jean George establishments open strong and then linger long after they've gone downhill from neglect. Just wanted to share a warning.

Went for lunch, and it immediately appeared run down in the daylight. The white leather seating had not been cleaned. There were visible grease and food stains all over, including the waiters clothes....I hate to dwell on the decor over the food, but I had a bad feeling something was off just from the lack of upkeep alone.

I ordered the Fried Chicken, which was a tiny thigh (size of a cornish hen's) butterflied and somewhat fried, but soggy. It was cooked in bitter old grease. The pea puree smear tasted overly sweet like babyfood. The pickled onion should have been garnish, rather than a featured part of the dish. MInd you, this was the waiters suggestion to order, and when I couldn't eat it, they didn't even come to the table to ask if everything was okay.

What's interesting is, when the dishes are made up to spec, it becomes quickly apparent that JG's food can be reduced down to stunts. An inverted brownie with hot fudge, tempura batter dipped calamari with a foamy mayo for dipping, etc. Cheaper ingredients and familiar flavors make up what normally appears to be creative fine dining.

I'm going to have a difficult time bothering with Jean George/Nougatine again. At least the lated crop like ABC Kitchen and Mark, look to have a more unique menu identity.

ABC Kitchen
35 E 18th St, New York, NY 10003

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  1. Oh my god. I could not agree with you more re: Perry Street. We had one of the worst meals of my life (category: fine dining, reasonably high expectations) there in August. The fried chicken featured prominently in our complaints -- also recommended, also left largely uneaten (by two of us). Way too much of that insane pickled onion.

    Nothing else was very good -- and the service was a combination of remarkably inattentive (literally had to flag someone down like a taxi to get more wine) and foolishly fussy (carefully timed 3 waiter strong simultaneous presentations of dishes in a style that is really only called for in much finer restaurants). The servers were constantly clatching off in a corner, getting what looked like some sort of lecture (maybe on how to sell more fried chicken), which seemed like a weird thing to do at 7:30 (As opposed to pre-service).

    I wish it was closer to the time so I could remember more of the horrid details, but we were literally laughing about how bad it was.

    Perry Street
    176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

    1. Went there for brunch today and I totally agree. We had made a reservation for 12 weeks ago to celebrate my mother's 80th. We were absolutely jammed into a too-small table. Service was awful. Burgers came out cold. When the waiter came over and asked how things were, I said, "OK." He said, "Just OK?" I told him the burgers and fries were cold and my husband's burger was well done rather than medium rare as he'd ordered. The waiter just shrugged and said, "Anything else I can do for you?" Well, um, no... I guess he knew with a party of 12 he'd be guaranteed the automatic 20% tip.

      The meal wasn't bad, but it wasn't nearly as good as past brunches/lunches I've had there. I'm not planning on rushing back.

      1. Wow! Been a while since I've been to Perry St, so based on your post and the responses so far, sounds like some things are going wrong there. Thanks for posting.

        However, I get to Jean-Georges about once a month, and I have to say it is as wonderful and consistent as it's always been. So I hope you won't let your experience at Perry St. keep you away from Jean-Georges. It really is still my favorite restaurant in NYC, so go if you haven't been in a while and let us know what you think.

        5 Replies
        1. re: edwardspk

          Since you are a regular at JG, you might want to mention to them that they're not getting good reviews at Perry Street. Since it's one organization, I'm sure that JG management can look into the problems at Perry Street, and will probably appreciate the "heads-up" before they receive more negative reviews. It was a shame that Vong had declined in quality too without anyone from the JG organization looking to rectify them. I have many fond memories of Vong when it was a great restaurant.

          1. re: ellenost

            I have a feeling they know, and it's being used as Siberia, for punished JG employees. Only a half serious theory, mind you.

            The place is suffering from neglect, and looks like they could shut down shop, and clean the place out in half a day tops. That would be preferable to repeating the slow death Vong went through.

            1. re: sugartoof

              I also eat frequently at J-G, and i see Mr. Von Gerichten there frequently. So at least this restaurant is not suffering from neglect.

              Mr. V. G. may not have enough talent chefs in his stable to keep that many balls in the air. And he can be only in one place at a time. I ate at Perry Street about 3 years ago and had a very good meal there.

              Perry Street
              176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

              1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                FYI from a pedant, his name is Jean-Georges Vongerichten. The last name is one word.

                1. re: cambridgedoctpr

                  Still, Jean George must be aware of the absurd portion of hardly edible onion going out on the fried chicken plate at Perry. That's entirely profit driven, and an executive chefs choice.

                  Unlike Vong, many of the dishes at Perry are the same/similar as the flagship, so it does diminish from some of the JG magic, for me.

                  Jean Georges
                  1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

          2. Perry Street was always my favorite place for restaurant week lunch partly because the place looks great in the natural light. When we went for a full dinner though, I felt that the value just wasn't there. Nothing overcooked or anything like that but nothing amazing either and I remember the wine list being very marked up and not that interesting to me. It is a nice place to sit and have cocktails though.

            Perry Street
            176 Perry Street, New York, NY 10014

            1. i have to strongly disagree with all of you. I have been several times within a few weeks, and that place is fantastic, I think it went UPHILL.
              Service was much better than 2 years ago, food is creative, fresh, and so tasty.
              This restaurant is a gem.

              3 Replies
              1. re: aknarper

                What did you have that was a creative success?

                Menu looks about the same, with the addition of the cheeseburger, which I don't recall being there before. I haven't bothered with any of the JG joints since my bad experience at Perry. It was that bad.

                1. re: sugartoof


                  Note that this is aknarper's first (and only) post on CH. We've not been to Perry St., but at this point, I'm hardly rushing to try it since I take seriously the cautions of regulars like you over a rave without particulars by a poster whose opinion I have no basis for trusting.

                  I would suggest that you not paint Jean Georges or Nougatine with the same bad Perry St. brush. Though it's been about a year since we've been to either, all our experiences at both have been excellent. We're planning to go to J.G. for lunch very soon because a close friend had lunch there last week and said it was the best of the many meals he's had there.


                  1. re: RGR

                    My reply was out of genuine curiosity, while admitting I'm burnt out on the Jean George empire.

                    It's also possible they revamped the place.

                    I've had great meals at Nougatine, and Jean George (with a preference for Nougatine) but unfortunately, my experience at Perry was a revelation in the worst way. It was like watching a magician botch his tricks. I'm sure lunch at JG is still a class act, but I'm now of the opinion half of the JG experience is illusion rather than execution or quality. You could probably say that of many top restaurants though.

                    Jean Georges
                    1 Central Park W, New York, NY 10023

                    1 Central Park West, New York, NY 10023