Jean Georges’ Nougatine for brunch

31 Dec

Recently, I decided that I had to get to Jean Geroges for a meal, but I was too impatient to wait to get areservation for dinner as well as running low on dough.  In order to assuage my craving, I booked a lunch reservation.  The receptionist on the phone assured me that while lunch was available on Sundays, it was only in the casual dining room.  Because many other restaurants were closed, I bit the bullet and made the reservation anyway; the woman assured me that the style of food was the same as that of in the main dining room. 

Key word: lunch.  My friend, my sister, and I spent the day in the city, shopping and walking around–anticipating our lunch. 

Upon entry to the restaurant, we were warmly received, and our coats were taken.  When we were seated, however, I noticed many younger children around and a basket of chicken tenders on a young boy’s plate.  As I tried to identify the feeling that slowly crept over me, I realized that the only way to describe it was brunch.   Annoyed by the misleading reassurance of the receptionist on the phone, I sat down, awaiting the mystery menu. 

When the waiter presented it to me, I opened it, only to find that one side offered breakfast foods such as waffles, French toast, and eggs, while the other side boasted a whopping selection of four appetizers and four entrees.  I was disappointed, for I was craving a larger scope of lunch options, but I decided to shrug it off and change my game plan. 

Still looking for something to satisfy my savory cravings, I opted for two appetizers: the bluefin tuna tartare and the foie gras brulee.  The tartare was excellent; the tuna was flavorful and decadent, while the shaved radishes on top added a sharp and interesting bite.  Also, flavors of ginger and chili oil played nicely with the smooth tuna.  The foie gras was also good, and the bruleed sugar added some fun to the dish.  The fig jam was nice, as well as the sweet wine reduction.  Tasty though it was, it was not, perhaps, the most fantastic foie course I’ve ever had. 

tuna tartare foiebrulee.jpg

My sister ordered the butternut squash soup with black trumpet mushrooms, which was a complete let-down.  Sometimes I am in awe of how chefs can take something and give it a whole new and excellent flavor, but this dish just left me puzzled.  I wanted to know:  How does one get butternut squash soup to taste so like Kraft maccaroni and cheese?  Luckily, her meal was salvaged from the pits of doom by a decent apple tart, which came with a tasty ginger and honey ice cream and date puree.  While I wouldn’t give the tart top marks on a scale of off-putting to orgasmic, A finishing of some flaky sea salt (maybe Maldon) was a welcome touch.

apple tart

My friend ordered the mesclun salad with shrimp which was allegedly good, as well as a chocolate dessert that was also tasty. 

chocolate cream dessert

Plataing was very well done, but some parts of the experience were disconcerting.  While I’m sure I will have a better dinner at Jean Georges in the future, I will only make areservation on Sunday if I am looking for brunch.  In the meantime, I would like to mentally bequeath a better squash soup recipe to the Nougatine Restaurant, in addition to a clearer receptionist. 

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One Response to “Jean Georges’ Nougatine for brunch”

  1. Josh Loew January 1, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    I’m so glad that you and your sister (and a friend) made it into the city and wrote the review. I enjoyed reliving your meal…

    Thanks again to you and your family for making the effort to see us in CT this past Saturday. It’s important to stay in touch with family. We leave for home tomorrow as school starts back up Thursday.

    Take care and I hope we connect again soon.

    All my love,

    Cousin J

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