Thursday, September 3, 2009

Lunch at Nougatine by Jean-Georges

As amazing as WD-50 was, we couldn't let it be our only awesome meal in NYC. Conveniently, a few of the Jean-Georges restaurants offer a $26 3-course lunch (any two plates, plus dessert), thus giving us an opportunity to try high-end food without the high-end price tag on the terrace at Nougatine,
in the shadow of the Time Warner building. (Oh, and did I mention it was a gorgeous day?)
We each ordered three different items and shared a bite or two, and I only dish-envy once... I started with "Salt and pepper calamari with citrus-chili dip":
This may look like your average (perfectly-cooked, high-quality) calamari with a gigantic bowl of dip, but the dip turned out to be a light and airy whipped concoction which was amazing on the (perfectly-cooked, high-quality) calamari.
Unlike a typical aioli, which can be heavy and overpowering, the citrus-chili dip complimented the squid without overpowering it. I was quite pleased with my selection... until I tried Steph's "Tuna tartare, avocado, spicy radish, ginger marinade":
That dish was good, my friends. Damn good. Insanely good. The bright ginger cut through the fatty avocado and accented the beautiful tuna perfectly. We both felt it would be difficult to come to Nougatine without ordering this dish every time... On to main courses. I chose the "Slowly cooked salmon, cherry tomatoes, crispy rice, and miso-yuzu broth"
The salmon was cooked to perfection and I loved the crispy rice and gorgeous tomatoes, especially when a piece of bright, fresh ginger slipped into a bite. It was fun assembling various components into different bites and exploring the many possible favorite combinations... Not mind-blowing (I'm feeling a bit spoiled at this point with regards to amazing food), but perfectly executed and extremely delicious. Steph went with the "Grilled beef tenderloin, garlic, parsley, and chili":
This was really quite good as well, although I would have been disappointed if I were in Steph's shoes since the beef was cooked beyond what any steakhouse would call medium-rare, (closer to the slightly-rare side of medium...) but I'm picky about such things. On to dessert. Mmmm... Dessert. I felt compelled to go with the "Jean Georges warm chocolate cake, vanilla bean ice cream" since the first-ever Jean-Georges recipe I cooked was this cake. (Shockingly, his was better.)
So. Good. Wow. Not sure what else to say... but look at the yummy oozing chocolate buried within:
Steph ordered the "Vanilla cake, fresh strawberry salad, red wine sorbet":
and was extremely happy as well. The strawberries were ridiculously fresh and delicious, and the cake was perfect. In summary, we were both quite pleased with everything, even if I suffered from a brief moment of jealousy when I tasted Steph's tuna tartare... As my father's daughter, I don't think I had it in me to not order the calamari, so I can't complain...

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