Flagship restaurant of one of the world's foremost chefs.

2-star restaurants shouldn't be good. They should be great. Even moreso for expensive 2-star restaurants.

Jean Georges is expensive. And Jean Georges is good. And truthfully, barely that. This visit was quite a disappointment.

20230523_170056.jpgOur experience started out with a number of strange hurdles. The woman who greeted us when we walked in never smiled. She looked like she was angry we were there. We were led through the gorgeous dining room and sat in a cubicle cut into one of the walls. Dark and cramped, with the table allowing barely one person in and out at a time. The wine menu I was handed was quite dirty. The first paper page was bent. Upon moving to a table in the dining room (at our request), the chair I sat in was ripped. 

An inauspicious start.

The restaurant was overrun by servers. We had a 5pm table, so it makes sense that the dining room was not yet full. But servers were standing around. In the way of each other, and me as I left the dining room to go to the restroom.

Oh - the restroom. 

20230523_170704.jpgThe toilet in the restroom is what you would see in a middle school. Industrial, exposed plumbing, no toilet seat cover. Really? I almost took a photo to prove it to you. I mean, a 2-star shouldn't really be judged by its bathroom facilities. But...kinda it should...

Whether resting on their laurels or just not paying attention, none of these things should exist in a high end restaurant. It's not the experience you are paying for.

OK. The food. I've heard such wonderful things about the food here. Surely that will shine, right?


There were a two very solid dishes (the dumplings and sea bass). But even they were just good. As expected, but not more than that. Nothing we ate caused a groan. Or made me think "Wow!" Though not on our menu, we asked for his signature caviar on egg toast. It was the best bite of the night by far, with a strong and distinct flavor of cheese produced simply by the technique of cooking the eggs. There's a reason it's a known dish.

Most dishes were insanely strong in flavor - but not in a good way.  This was most notable in the lobster dish. That tail was beautifully butter poached and perfectly cooked. Set on...passionfruit? OK. Why would anyone want to drown that gorgeous fish with the pungent flavor of passionfruit? But wait...there's more! They then add a passionfruit emulsion, and then a very strong whiskey emulsion on top of that. 

Isn't this a dish...about lobster?

I could say the same for the soy/ginger emulsion on the tuna. Same for the sweet coconut semifredo in the caviar dish. Same for the yuzu in uni bite. Stronger flavors overpowering the focus of the dish. It's as if the restaurant is teasing you with luxury seafood products and then yanking the rug out by drowning them with powerful accompanying flavors.

Why would you do this?

In contrast, the duck had a terrific spice rub and gorgeous espresso brown butter sauce. But the accompanying beets were so vinegary as to be inedible for me and my friend. And we both really like beets!

Our (a bit over-) eager server pressed us for our thoughts on the duck. She had asked if medium rare was OK for us (which it was). I told her it was delicious but mine was definitely past medium rare. I did not expect her reply to be "Are you sure it's not just the lighting in the room?"

Um, no. Look at it. (Photo is included below.) Though she did genuinely insist that she would replace it if I preferred, how was that not the initial (and only) reply?

The final note of the night was when I ordered tea, which came in a beautiful and traditional pot with an insert for the tea leaves. What was in that insert? A tea bag. (Seriously??)

This was the final restaurant on my NYC must-do list. I'm not happy I came. This money could have been much better spent at so many other places.


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