Jean-Georges Review (from March 28, 2007)
I'm consolidating my favorite posts from my previous blogs and other online services. This was originally posted on March 28, 2007 on Yelp, and currently ranks as my second funniest Yelp review.
Quite possibly one of the best restaurant experiences I have enjoyed. Ever.
First, what happened before lunch at Jean Georges: I was flying to New York on a business trip from a Thursday to Sunday (expensing time!). For some reason, I waited till Tuesday night to get reservations, and on Wednesday, I find out that jeans aren't allowed at Jean Georges. Something I should have known, but seeing as how we have that casual, jeans-at-work-and-play thing down in the Bay, I wasn't thinking about it. Unfortunately, I was already packed (with jeans) and flying out of San Jose after work (in Mountain View), and I live in SF. My only answer was to go to the defacto men's luxury clothing store of the Peninsula: Target. That's right, I needed black pants fast, and I wasn't about to spend $50+ on ones I would rarely wear. $20 later, I had myself a fancy pair of Cherokee black khakis that not only resists wrinkles, but also repels liquids. "I am so gonna be shinin' at Jean Georges!", I think. My girlfriend was not so optimistic: "They're too tight! Why didn't you try them on?"
So I should also add that the only time where i had really heard about Jean Georges aside from recommendations was from David Cross on his comedy CD It's Not Funny where he says about his dining there: "But I've always had this problem, this self-consciousness when I'm in this fancy place....and I assume that everybody is looking at me like I won some kind of contest...'Oh look honey, the Make-A-Wish foundation is flying a boy out.'"
Sigh...so obviously I knew I was going to feel exactly like that normally, and especially in my uncomfortable pants. I dress nice normally, honest :(
On Thursday we arrived at the Trump building in Columbus Circle for our lunch reservations and were seated in the bigger room with all the windows. The hosts were all really nice, taking our coats as they got ready to seat us. We got seated at a table that was against one window, in the middle of the wall, at the far end of the room. We were sitting next to each other with our back to the window, facing the entire dining room. I really felt like we were on display...and since I don't normally feel like I belong in a place like this, it was kinda funny.
So anyways, we sit down and order our courses and wine. They set down two empty wine glasses, one a bit fatter than the other. My gf comments that her wine glass is bigger than mine, therefore it must be better (he he), and we recall another part of the David Cross routine about going from the bar to the table: "He takes my wine glass and puts it on the tablet. And the wine glass was doing fine in my hand. I'm perfectly capable transporting my own wine, but that's how classy it was! He took my glass and put it on a silver tray, and then walked 10 feet to our table to give my wine a little...silver ride. How bout that wine? That was a classy little ride, wasn't it? A lot better than being in that hand." So we snicker to ourselves like the dorks we are, and then literally like 1 minute later the waiter walks by, looks at the placement of our wine glasses, picks each up and puts them on a silver tray, and then switches them as he puts them back on the table. So now I have the bigger wine glass. But why did he have to put them on the tray first, instead of just picking them up and switching them? That's how classy this place is!!!!
So lunch (or is it brunch?) consists of 2 courses, but you can order more if you wish. I ordered 3. I won't go through what I ordered and how it all tasted, since honestly I don't really remember. Just know that it all tastes good, and they give you an extra course in there to start out with, and you'll leave feeling very satisfied.
The waiter was amazing: he explained everything very clearly and answered all of our questions. At one point he brought out an extra course for us that consisted of 3 parts, and he told us exactly how to eat it properly. The cool thing was that he totally had a narrator's voice, so whenever he talked to us I felt like he was narrating our meal:
In a world, where one man comes to Jean Georges hungry and wearing $20 Target pants, the appropriate wine to order with the frogs legs is the syrah.
There's a lot of nice and mid-priced restaurants that you go to where the waiters have an attitude and are condescending, and that's kinda what I was afraid before coming here. But there wasn't an ounce of pretension or condescension.
By the time we finished desserts and coffee, we were stuffed and very satisfied by the whole experience. The food quality, the atmosphere, the taste, the service...all classy and fantastic. Plus we got free marshmallows! That's how classy this place is!!!
I'll definitely be coming back for the full 7-course dinner next time I'm in New York. And hopefully I won't be in Target pants.