Category Archives: C&C Take NYC

Unexpected Moroccan Flair: Claudette

Recently Faye and I decided to leave our glittering city to explore Morocco. I must say, from a cultural perspective, I haven’t been so taken aback by the sheer vibrancy of a people and place in quite some time. From the unique intersection of Arabic and French influences to the array of colors of zellij mosaics and endless courtyards with old-world intrigue to the simply breathtaking effect of the Saharan desert, Morocco is surely a place you MUST visit before you die.

As for the food, I have always I have loved the rich flavors of Moroccan cooking. Fragrant cumin, rich saffron, warming cinnamon, and so many more treasures fill the Moroccan spice souks. Yet, after 13 days of Moroccan cuisine I was sick of tagines, the traditional Moroccan stew similar to the Western method of braising. After having 3 course Moroccan feasts, nearly every day for BOTH lunch and dinner, Faye and I resolutely agreed no more Moroccan food for a while.

However, my first brunch back in NYC brought me to newly-opened Claudette with Naisha. Although I had anticipated mainly French fare, ironically we found Moroccan-inspired dishes on the menu. I suppose I shouldn’t have been too shocked since there is strong influence from the Mahgreb these days in France, so much so that couscous is commonplace in Paris. Nevertheless, the coincidence made me smile.

Claudette is located in Greenwich village, at the heart of it all on 5th Ave a few blocks from Washington Square Park. It’s that part of NYC that everyone would love to live in and the perfect place to brunch on a lazy Sunday. The interior is bright and airy, furnished tastefully, filled with all the laid-back charm that I seek in a restaurant. I had thought that we would have to wait on an endless line for this newly-opened hotspot but thankfully they accept reservations via OpenTable, because who really likes waiting an hour+ for brunch (I’m looking at you Good Enough to Eat).

For food, Naisha ended up getting the Harissa Baked Eggs (baked eggs, chickpea ragoût, tomato & flatbread). Harissa, being one of Morocco’s best known novelties, elevated this standard brunch dish by adding some spice. Definitely the healthier option, as I had Claudette’s Honey Pot (baked phyllo, almonds, rose water, golden raisins & spiced honey). All the sweeter flavors of Morocco baked into one dish. Both mains evoked flavors of Morocco with a nuanced, oh-so-New-York-City twist.

OK so clearly I have not sworn off Moroccan food because the image above clearly shows some traditional French options on the menu.  What can I say? I always like adventurous options. Sorry Croque Monsieur but I indulged on you during my Paris days, I’m good for now. Though these days, I am all about incorporating Moroccan flavors into mainstay dishes. The only souvenirs that I bought for myself were edible: Argan oil, rose water, Harissa, Mint Tea, and Ras el Hanout  – frankly all are wonderful to experiment with in the kitchen, wowing guests, or taste-tester cougars, with their aroma and depth of flavor.

Claudette is definitely a place that I’ll go back to as the menu is seasonal and I’m intrigued to see what the ambiance is like during dinner. For a discerning critic who dislikes trying a restaurant twice, I’ll say that’s a compliment.

Claudette – 24 Fifth Avenue – 212 868 2424

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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Pushing the Culinary Envelope: Taste Talks BK

As an amateur chef and someone who simply gets bored easily, I’m an adventurous eater. You’ll always find me ordering the most avant-garde option on the menu. Why would I order something that I can whip up myself, with ingredients readily available at the local Food Emporium? I say you only live once, try it all.

So when I was invited to the OpenTable-sponsored, Taste Talks in Williamsburg, I was delighted that everything on the menu of the Sunday barbecue proved to be out of the box. OpenTable really is too good to me and armed with my pass as a Food Enthusiast for the entire weekend. Rightly so, I fully indulged in a weekend of food in my self-proclaimed BK getaway.

Open Table New York Restaurant Reviews

Set against the East River right off of Wythe Ave, home of the wildly popular Smorgasbord, Taste Talks ended in the  All Star BBQ event. With high-profile chefs, from some of the hippest spots in NYC, the ALL Star BBQ proved to be the highlight of my weekend with innovative food brimming with foodies and chefs all around. In perfect BK style, the vibe was not stuffy by any means despite the high profile food. Rather the atmosphere evoked more of a trendy block party. Intrigued by the menu? Look no further:

  • Mission Chinese Special – Danny Bowien, Jamie Bissonnette, and Inaki Aizpitarte
  • Pighead Salad – David Santos and Jonathan Wu
  • Grilled Blue Whale Oyster – Matt Rudofker
  • Grilled Duck Hearts – Ivan Orkin
  • Smoked Char Sui Long Island Eel – Will Horowitz
  • Charged Lamb Tongue and Deep-fried Anchovy – Nate Smith and Lee Tiernan
  • Veggie Burgers – Brooks Headley
  • Grilled Chicken Kebab – Max Sussman and Eli Sussman
  • Porchetta “Kra Prow” Tigelle – Action Bronson and Michael White
  • Boar Collar Meat – Andy Ricker
  • Barbecue Duck – Rob Newton and Oliver Strand
  • Texas Hot Gut Sausage – Daniel Delaney
  • Grilled Cinnamon Babka – Josh Russ Tupper and Niki Russ Federman

Calm down betches. Hearts, tongues and whatever the hell gut sausage is… may sound unappetizing. But I can assure you everything I tried (and I tried it all) was flavorable and on point. As I’ve mentioned, relating to all aspects of my life, I get bored extremely easily so food that can excite goes far in my book.

So the winners in my opinion? I have to give it up to the Grilled Duck Hearts. They were juicy and well seasoned, so reminiscent of anticuchos from Peru; cuter  though since they were smaller and trop mignonne. Next I’d have to say the Grilled Blue Whale Oysters scored top marks. While there was the option for traditional oysters, shucked right in front you, the grilled blue whale oysters by Matt Rudofker took the oyster throw-down.  The idea of grilling oysters was new to me, only accentuated with an innovative garnish that included rehydrated golden raisins and fresh breadcrumbs.

Lastly I think the Pighead Salad took it to another level. As foodies may know, Pighead is actually becoming quite the commodity on menus across the country. And let’s be real, everything slow cooked on a pig is bound to be good. This offering also showcased the international flare present at the event with many of the dishes evoking the preparations of other cultures (i.e. Eel, Arepas, etc.). Everything else on the menu was equally as interesting and I left completely over-satiated.

I must say that BK seems to be a bastion for out-of-the-box food, giving me added munition to run away to BK and find my hipster boyfriend. Though we’ve already gone through this and this Manhattanite is not meant to be in BK; le sigh. But I digress. On account of food, life is too short, order the steak Tartare, try the pickled beef tongue, pick the boudin noire. You may never want to order it again, but at least you can say you tried it.

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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Have time for a Weekday Lunch? : The Little Owl

Weekday lunches. For most New Yorkers the idea of taking a long lunch at a great restaurant is the thing of dreams. For us career-driven power betches, who has time to languidly spend time dining in the middle of week… let alone have time to leave the office for lunch (Seamless please)? I admit that may be construed as depressing.

However, in honor of my last summer Friday I decided to say F-it and told my boss I would be leaving promptly at 1:45 (albeit for “an appointment”). You see there is something invariably different between a NYC weekday lunch and an NYC weekend lunch. Brunch rules all on the weekends, which means I’m usually going to go for that French toast or Eggs Benedict. However weekday lunches offer completely different menus with a markedly unique ambiance from dinner.

As I am a West Village-junkie I met Faye for lunch at the Little Owl. I’ve also been feeling slightly nostalgic with it being the FRIENDS 20 year anniversary (AM I that old?) that I wanted to dine at the purported spot of Central Perk. Often extremely hard to snag a reservation here on any night of the week, I easily booked a late afternoon lunch a week in advance. The resto screams West Village charm, with an intimate ambiance. The middle tables are somewhat cramped and it’s surely not the place for a large group, but sit by a window for a tête-a-tête and you’re set.

The food at the Little Owl was simple and nothing extravagant. But the clean flavors and lite fare fit perfectly for an afternoon lunch. I had the Seasonal Melon Carpaccio with prosciutto, figs, arugula and robiola fettunta. Perfectly seasonal, not complicated, but unique and well-executed. Faye had the Fried Chicken with Watermelon Salad. Surprisingly not oily or two heavy for being fried. To finish we split the Beignets with Raspberry-Nutella Dipping Sauce. I do not need to say more.

Although I was not blown away by the food in any capacity, the Little Owl is a perfect place for a lunch. The large windows look out onto the picturesque tree-lined street as the intoxicating vibe of the WV spills into the restaurant, making you feel like you’ve escaped NYC. The menu is seasonal and I can simply describe the fare, ambiance, and overall feel as cute. It’s really a perfect date spot. Although the summer is now gone, and the hope for leaving the office for a long lunch have passed, be bold and take an hour to soak in the nuances of that forgotten NYC weekday meal.

The Little Owl – 90 Bedford Street – 212.741.4695

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Nouveau Korean: Hanjan

 

Do you need another reason to love NYC? Any cuisine you’re craving, you can find it in this cosmopolitan metropolis. For me, I get bored of most things in life and subscribe to a logic of why revisit a restaurant in NYC when there are so many others to try. Also having zeal to experience new cuisines and cultures, I love that something exotic is often just a block-a-way… in every direction.

On that note, I’m all about the Nouveau Korean trend, brought to life by Chef Hooni Kim. Now I’ve had Korean food in Koreatown before, but Kim’s take on Korean is truly inspired. I first tried Danji with Korean socialite herself, Faye, and the excellent dining experience brought me to its sister restaurant, Hanjan. To send-off the always-illustrious Eva before she flew to Ecuador (before coming back shortly after… this betch), we decided to frequent flat-iron for a out of character, low-key night for Eva, Naisha and I.

Hanjan was named one of the best new restaurants of 2013, and I must say I agree with the praise. Both Danji and Hanjan serve Korean food transformed in a modern way, offered tapas style. I’ve asserted I’m a fan of small plates and the Korean twist just adds to the flair. I enjoyed the ambiance of Hanjan more than the smaller Danji. Although both are rather intimate restaurants, there’s slightly more breathing room in Hanjan. Plus you can make reservations, which is always a plus in my books. The setting is laid-back and perfect for a late dinner or first date.

For dinner we started with the Scallion Pancake with Local Squid served with a soy dipping sauce. Fried, unique and rather delicious. Next up was the Fluke Sashimi Salad, simple and fresh as Fluke seems to be all the rage in restaurants these days. I always like to try the most interesting thing on the menu so logically so we ordered the Braised Pig Trotters with Squid Fermented Kimchi. The theory is correct: Anything braised is delicious… even when eating Pig feet. The Kimchi & Beef Brisket Fried Rice with Egg were just as those list of ingredients suggest: decadent, rich and oh so satisfying.

But let me stop and mention the Soji. Ummmm I’ve been missing out but I am a Soji virgin no more! We had the “50” SeJu, a house special blend of strong Jinro “24” and sweeter Bek SeJu’. I can describe it as a heightened sake, more floral and rather lovely. And at a bargain price! $20 for a relatively large bottle? Ok Korea, I see you.

For the record its Michelin-star rated sister restaurant Danji edges Hanjan out. I think Danji’s menu has a bit more intrigue and variety. I must say Danji’s Poached Sablefish with Spicy Daikon was one of the best-prepared fish I’ve had in New York and you can’t go wrong with those famous Pork Belly Sliders.

Alas with either restaurant you’re really in for a unique dining experience. From the interesting ingredients to the tapas style menu, if you’ve never tried Korean and are feeling adventurous, new fare try Kim’s NYC gems.

Hanjan – 36 W 26th Street –  212-206-7226

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Old World Style: Brunch at Palma

Brunch. I’ve stated that it’s a New York obsession. Frankly, I’m catching onto the craze, not because I’m dazzled by the food options but long and lazy catch-ups on Saturdays and Sundays now trump raging until 4 AM (Growing up problems).

Alas when my friend posted a Harper’s-Bazaar-endorsed brunch list on my timeline (For the chicest restaurant garden brunch spots), I felt compelled to accept the challenge and check a few out ASAP. I was in the mood for the West Village, which brought me down to Palma for laid-back Italian fare.

Tucked away on charming Cornelia Street, the outside and even front dining area are rather unassuming. However step through to the back, canopied patio, and you arrive upon a brunch setting with distinctively old world charm. Rustic, well executed table settings, rose-lined walls, and authentically European accents create an undeniable appeal for any brunching betch.

Serving an Italian menu, the food is interesting but not over the top. I wouldn’t write home about my Shrimp Frittata but then again I’m still on this Paleo binge so what do I write home about these days? Cam’s Pancetta Eggs Benedict was an eyebrow raiser being a whimsical play on a classic. The portions are big and overall the pricing is reasonable.   (Real life: $8 cocktails are reasonable in NYC)

So you might ask, with a lackluster culinary review, why go? Well brunch should be all about the gab session with friends. The tell-all about the going-ons in our lives. During the throes of summertime, brunch culture seemingly becomes accentuated as it spills outdoors, with large open windows and pop-up sidewalk tables. Palma takes advantage of this New York summer blaze of glory. It does a great job of elevating brunch by serving up a wonderful ambiance, making you think for a second that you’ve left NYC behind. Perhaps Tuscany, perhaps Le Cote d’Azur? After all, often can’t memorable ambiance elevate food in retrospect?

http://www.palmanyc.com/ – 28 Cornelia Street – 212.691.2223

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Can I Find Good Greek Food in Manhattan?

Good Greek food is hard to find.

I for one am a lover of Greek food after having frequented Greece twice before, when I fell in love with the azure water and beautiful landscape. There’s something so fresh, simple and heartfelt about Greek cooking. It’s not technically difficult and often the signature dishes remain the same across Greek establishments, but Greek food done well is simply satisfying.

Though in Manhattan, authentic, unadulterated Greek food is difficult to find (In the burbs, forget about it). I know, I know, you’ll probably tell me to go to Astoria for Greek, and I have done so before, but frankly shouldn’t Manhattan have good Greek food?

Well yes I would say it does in part, but you have to look for it. Mediocre neighborhood Greek food, like Tellos or Symposium, falls completely flat and leaves me wanting so much more.

If you want Haute-Greek, look to Midtown. After going to the ballet awhile back I went to Molyvos with the classiest betches I know and I must say the fare was excellent. I had a Braised lamb shank with Orzo which was delightful. We had the Spanakopita and of course the Baklava to finish. But something about Midtown pretention fails to sync up with my established persona of Greek food. I haven’t tried some of the best rated Greek restaurants in the city, like Nerai, but I’m sorry I’m looking for a Taverna feel, with hairy men serving me gyros.

Well you’re in luck because then look no further than Kefi – Reopened in my hood in a larger space, we had dinner downstairs which is bustling, noisy and very evocative of Greece. I had the Swordfish with olives and cauliflower which was actually rather excellent. The dish manages to elevate the swordfish, often bland. My friend had the Pork Souvlaki – established, trusted, and well-executed. I liken eating out now as a test of will as I plough forward with my Paleo diet. I lost this round as we spilt a Baklava and a Walnut Cake served with Walnut Ice cream. I don’t regret it, they were both authentic, homey, and delicious. Another visit compelled be to try the Lamb Burger, which although somewhat salty, fit the bill of simple, bold flavors. Also I would highly recommend the YiaYia’s Meatballs which do evoke Greek simplicity at its finest. The portions are big without being overpriced, the ambiance energetic, and the feel is authentic.

So I relent, those actually are two viable Manhattan Greek options, and I’ll admit that I haven’t tried all of the best rated Greek restaurants in the city, yet I’m still left wanting more. Maybe my issue is that every time I have Greek food I’m expecting to revisit the Greek Isles, sipping Vinsanto while overlooking the Mediterranean. Yes, Greek food at its core is simple and more about the fresh ingredients and clean flavors. Cooked with heart, often served family-style, Greek food is not meant to dazzle but rather the assurance of home cooking at its finest. I guess I’m always left wanting more because lets be real, the feel of Manhattan ≠ the feel of Greece. Alas with another trip to the Mediterranean around the corner, I’ll hold out for the real deal ambiance to get me through my days.

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

Molyvoshttp://www.molyvos.com/ – 871 Seventh Avenue – 212.582.7500

Kefihttp://kefirestaurant.com/ – 505 Columbus Ave – 212.873.0200

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Nouveau Chinese Fad: Red Farm

I usually rave about my favorite eats on the blog, but every once in while I stumble upon a restaurant that’s simply over-hyped. In NYC there is always a list of the new “IT” restaurants to frequent if us New Yorkers have the opportunity to snag a reso. Often these must-try restaurants deliver on their long lines and rave reviews. However that’s not always the case.

I for one found that out myself when giving Red Farm a try last week. Famed for its sustainable dim-sum Chinese food, Red Farm first opened in the West Village with waits averaging 2 hours since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations. A new Red Farm conveniently opened in my hood, right on Broadway, so I thought I’d give it whirl.

I thought a long wait may be in store but actually we didn’t have to wait at all before being seated. I’m guessing the craze hasn’t seized the UWS, or maybe its new location is flying under the radar for now. The interior actually surprised me – casual American furnishing (checkered red table clothes) serving Dim Sum Chinese.

Frankly I thought the menu was rather overwhelming. There was a lot to choose from, but then again I guess that’s fairly true to a typical dim sum restaurant.

To start we had the Pork and Crab Soup Dumplings. I must say that these were interesting as Blake insisted we try them (Breaking my Paleo diet completely). Apparently you slurp up the liquid in these soup dumplings and then dip them in the vinegar-based sauce. They were good but would I go back for them? No. For my main I tried something off of the specials menu and got the Thai Curry with Mussels and Manila Clams. It was good, but to be honest, there was nothing extraordinary about the dishes. My friends agreed after finishing their Udon Noodles with Grilled Shortribs & Lobster Long Life Noodles ($45… yea not worth it).

Overall, yes the food is a better-composed, definitely more sustainable, version of Chinese food. But in my opinion the concept does nothing extra to dazzle. Yea I may be eating more refined Chinese food but I’m also paying much more for it. Isn’t Chinese an indulgence food? I’m not really looking to eat organic when eating Chinese, am I? I mean I can always go to Ollie’s if want a chicken dish that I know is white meat… rather than god knows what. Sorry Red Farm, I’m not an adherent of this trend. If my limited foodie insight means anything, I’m fairly certain this is one fad that will fade.

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Top Notch Summer Tasting: The Modern

Another weekend, another Michelin star rated restaurant.

A milestone anniversary for my parents found me at Danny Meyer’s stronghold at the MoMA, The Modern. My parents have always revered milestones, making sure we pay them due respect…I’m not really complaining. Old world traditions I guess, but us kids always took part in the celebration of their anniversary. After spending the afternoon at the MoMA, we walked over to The Modern to celebrate in style. The restaurant is actually a very similar concept to Jeans Georges, with the Bar Room upfront (like Nougatine) and the even fancier The Modern, tucked away, gloriously facing the sculpture garden at the MoMA. The atmosphere is just as its namesake promises, with class and design executed perfectly from the tall windows to the napkin rings.

Given the inside scoop by none-other-than native New Yorker, Nance, we got to the restaurant early and requested to have drinks on the outside patio. Apparently a best kept secret, the weather proved to be perfect for lounging about on the sofas overlooking the sculpture garden. Being the only people on the patio, the atmosphere felt special, if not downright exclusive. My mother being the extravagante that she is, soaked up every moment of the evening. (I got those same genes, so I did the same)

The drinks were expertly mixed, playfully named after modern paintings in the museum. I ordered the Blank Canvas (Framboise Apertif, Rye, Peychaud Bitters and Lambrusco) – light, fruity, yet maintaining a slight kick from the Rye. But of course my mother always unwitting gets the strongest drink on the menu, which caused us to switch. Not that I really minded. I wanted something a little stronger and the Vanishing Point (Rye Vodka, Vermouths, and Teapot-Hazelnut Bitters) was an elegant play on the martini.

But of course for dinner. We decided to go with the tasting menu, described simply by:

  • Caviar
  • Foie Gras
  • Black Truffle
  • Pink Snapper
  • Lamb
  • Chocolate or Apricot

I mean with those options how could you really go wrong. 1,2,3 then die of decadence with a lineup of Caviar, Foie Gras and Black Truffle? For me the Black Truffle stole the show – a ricotta tortellini with shaved black truffle served over top. By far the best pasta dish I have ever had.

If that wasn’t enough, the waiters roll around a chocolate and sweet cart after dinner. That pushed the engorgement factor over the edge but frankly how can you not keep eating The Modern-made chocolates, macarons, and other sweet delights? I have no self control so good thing I’ve started training for a half-marathon. The meal ended with the cutest, take-home boxes filled with even more sweets! I mean stop doting on me… just kidding The Modern can give me nom noms forever.

Now I mustn’t be all doe-eyed and gush completely over the meal. I mean, it was beautifully executed and the service, impeccable. However sometimes when you get such an extravagant tasting menu, the extravagant ingredients speak louder than the deftness of the end products. Am I crazy? Am I really docking points for truffles, caviar, and foie gras? Heresy?

I don’t think so. There is a reason those ingredients are delicacies, but I still maintain the ideology that it is when a dish transforms “normal” ingredients into something unforgettable, that that marks the height of culinary achievement. Don’t worry, The Modern still get’s the Cub’s “Inspired meal” stamp of approval.

In any event, maybe next time I’m at The Modern I’ll try the four course tasting where I have more flexibilit. Note the conviction in my voice that I’ll be back soon…The extravagance seemingly never ends. Maybe we all live above our means in this beautifully hedonistic city. I for one am not complaining. I just fear what my tastes will crave when I’m hitting 40, but then again that’s a problem for another beautiful Sunday. 🙂

The Modern – themodernnyc.com – 212-333-1220

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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Sweet AND Savory Please: Brunch at Telepan

Lately I’ve been less eager to leave the neighborhood, preferring rather to explore the best of the Upper West Side. I think it’s a combination of wanting to avoid the oppressively hot subway, the fact that a number of my friends happen to live in the vicinity, and also that sometimes I don’t feel like schlepping to brunch downtown after long workweeks.

Today I had a rather phenomenal brunch at Telepan, right in the heart of my favorite part of the UWS. Known for high-end fare, the brunch is a best-kept secret. 2 courses for $32 – not bad for the quality of food served here, in my opinion. If you’re looking for a drunk brunch, go somewhere else. Telepan is not recommended for frat stars and lushes. But if you’re in the mood for a classy catch-up session, go to Telepan. The atmosphere is quiet and refined and located right off Columbus Ave among the beautiful townhouses of the UWS.

For the food, I won’t say that I was blown away as much as somewhere like The Breslin, but overall Telepan offers great service and good food. The best thing about a prix fixe brunch is that you don’t have to answer that age-old brunch question: Sweet or Savory? At Telepan, you can have both!

I did just that. First I had the Apple Sausage with poached egg, duck prosciutto and watercress. Just enough for my salty fix. Can you really go wrong with duck prosciutto? My second course was the Fallen pancake soufflé with brown sugar bacon and blueberry sauce. I thought the “fallen pancake soufflés” were a bit dense for me, but I applaud the creativity. Brunch food often bores me and I always appreciate the innovation. Fresh pastries and bread for the table added to the atmosphere, making brunch feel more special than just a hangover recovery session.

After being stuffed, thoroughly breaking all the rules of my Paleo diet on a deserved cheat day, I meandered home, strolling through the Upper West Side. I think there really is something to be said about staying local in your neighborhood in NYC every so often. In a city bounding with so many options, it’s always somewhat exciting to discover somewhere new that you pass every day. Just another reason to love this city.

212.590.4300    Ÿ http://telepan-ny.com/

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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Michelin Star Secret: Lunch at Jeans Georges

 

There’s a reason why classic always remains in style.

 Michelin star-rated restaurants are the height of culinary achievement. A friend introduced me to the Michelin star ranking a few years ago and since then I’ve aimed to cross as many of these restaurants off of my culinary bucket list. Michelin ranks the best restaurants in the world with 1,2, and 3 stars. These restaurants serve what I like to call inspired meals; elevated from your run-of-the-mill “high-end” restaurants. New York being a culinary capital of the world, houses a long list of Michelin star restaurants, perfect for this food connoisseur in the making. They range from American new to Japanese to High-end French, but only 7 make the list for 3 stars (i.e. a veritable Oscar of the food world).

2014 Michelin Restaurants 

Clearly these 3-star restaurants accompany extensive tasting menus and rather high bills. Yes, I am young for such high taste in food and frankly my payroll does not sustain such extravagance (YOLO?). But don’t be too sad, there is a secret with one of these Michelin 3 star gems. Why not try a weekend lunch at a Jeans George? 2 plates for $38 – Practically a steal.

My parents were in the city in the afternoon a few weekends ago and we decided to visit Jeans Georges. Spurred by Nance’s recent visit for her birthday, it was the cub’s turn to give Jeans Georges a whirl. My mother, the perpetual critic, loved everything from the ambiance, the dining room, and the service. I agreed. Jeans George does a perfect job of blending of refined, innovative, and classy without coming off as pretentious.

But of course the food is the showstopper. I had a first plate of Santa-Barba Sea Urchin on Black bread with Jalepeno and Yuzu. How can you go wrong with Uni? It was cooked perfectly, served with fresh and bright flavors, delicately plated atop crostini. The perfect bite. My dad got an elegant Sashimi with Trout Roe and my mother won this round with her Foie Gras and Strawberry Torche. Or should I rather say that in this tough stand-off of decadence, Foie Gras trumps Uni. It’s a close call.

For our mains, I can only say that each dish trumped the next. My mother got the Slowly cooked Cod served with Lettuce Puree and Herba-Lime Vinaigrette – Elegant and light, interestingly spicy. My dad got my second choice of Crispy Confit of Suckling Pig with baby beets and ginger vinaigrette – Simply rich, perfectly paired with the sweet accompaniments. While I decided to go for something lighter with the Black Sea Bass crusted with nuts and seeds, sweet and sour Jus. Now I’ve cooked black sea bass before and it is a good piece of fish, BUT in all honesty I have never had a sea bass as masterfully executed as at Jeans George. I’ve always said that the key to a perfect dish is a good sauce and that sauce was perfectly balanced in every way. Jean Georges, I’m still dreaming of that that Sea Bass.

As dessert is my favorite, obviously Jeans Georges playfully serves a variety of tastings of dessert options. You can choose between Caramel, Citrus and chocolate. I made the easy choice and chose chocolate. Once again, I was wowed with the presentation, finesse, and mastery of ingredients.

Jeans Georges is the epitome of classic.  If you are not well versed in Michelin star restaurants, the dining at these top venues are on a different plane of excellence. Take my goo-goo-eyed blathering about the meal as testament to the height of culinary chops served at this Upper West Side landmark. The amount of flavor coaxed out the ingredients served, coupled with the world-class service and mother-approved ambiance, are simply masterful. Treat yourself, go have an extravagant lunch without  having to forgo your rent check. Our taste buds all deserve to be treated every so often. 

Jeans Georges 

See more reviews at NYC Restaurants.

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