You might think I'm jumping on the bandwagon yapping about the ridiculously cheap weekday lunch at Jean Georges, but if I am, I'm jumping on my own bandwagon.

Last year I told you about the $14 a course midday repast available at Jean Georges. Frank Bruni told you about it recently. Now I'm telling you again.

If you want world-class food for what you would pay for a fish dinner at a Greek coffee shop, head there, as I did yesterday. I had a lunch that you would pay five times as much for in Paris or Monte Carlo or anywhere else you can find world-class haute cuisine.

This is what we had:

  • Goat Cheese Royale, Roasted Beet Marmalade, and Crushed Pistachios: Imagine the world's tastiest savory yogurt parfait
  • Peekytoe Crab Fritters, Honeycrisp Apples, Pink Peppercorn Vinaigrette: I love just about any fritter, but these were crispy, cloud-light, and particularly delicious.
    Gulf Shrimp and Smoked Bacon, Papaya Mustard and Avocado: The shrimp were succulent, the bacon was smokey and pliant, and the papaya mustard tastes like a mutant upscale love child of Chinese restaurant duck sauce and hot mustard

  • Tangy Glazed Short Ribs, Crunchy Grits and Herb Salad: The fork-tender, tangy glazed short ribs would have been reason enough to sing the praises of this dish, but the crunchy grits, which are in the form of a slightly sweet egg roll-like fried cylinder, elevated this particular plate of food to can't miss status

We also could have had any of the following:

  • Santa Barbara Sea Urchin, Black Bread, Jalapeño, and Yuzu
  • Bay Scallops, Cranberry, Fresh Wasabi
  • Sea Trout Sashimi Draped in Trout Eggs Lemon, Dill, and Horseradish
  • Santa Barbara Sea Urchin Black Bread, Jalapeño, and Yuzu
  • Bluefin Tuna Ribbons Avocado, Spicy Radish, Ginger Marinade
  • Watercress and Sugar Snap Pea Salad With Lemon-Soy Vinaigrette and Crystallized Mustard
  • Butternut Squash Soup, Black Trumpet Mushrooms
  • Foe Gras Brule, Dried Sour Cherries, Candied Pistachios and White Port Gelee
  • Young Garlic Soup with Thyme, Sautéed Frog Legs
  • Sea Scallops, Caramelized Cauliflower, Caper-Raisin Emulsion
  • Charred Corn Ravioli, Cherry Tomato Salad, and Basil Fondue
  • Skate With Chateau Chalon Sauce
  • Arctic Char, Cremini Mushrooms, Jalapeno, Garlic
  • Red Snapper Crusted with Nuts and Seeds, Sweet and Sour Jus
  • Halibut Steamed with Honshimeji Mushrooms and Lemongrass Consomme
  • Roasted Organic Chicken, Baby Leeks, Kaffir and Spiced Jus
  • Pan Roasted Sweetbreads, Licorice, Grilled Pear and lemon
  • Smoked Squab a L'Orange Asian Pear, Candied Tamarind
  • Lamb Confit, Spiced Crumbs, Fried Eggplant, and Fig Compote

Food this good and this cheap, they're practically giving it away. Go before Jean-Georges Vongerichten comes to his senses and charges more. If you live in New York, you really have no excuse. And if you're a serious eater and don't live in New York, what better excuse are you ever going to come up with to justify a trip to Gotham.

Note: In case you're wondering if the restaurant suffers when Jean-Georges Vongerichten is not there, no need to worry. He was nowhere to be seen at my lunch, so the only conclusion one can draw is that chef de cuisine Mark Lapico is more than up to the task of running the kitchen in Vongerichten's absence.

Jean Georges

Address: 1 Central Park West, New York NY 10023 (between 59th and 60th Sts.)
Phone: 212-299-3900


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