We love good food. It can be something as simple as a hot dog or a fabulous piece of fresh baked bread. We love dives and we love five star restaurants. There are a few dining experiences, however, that will forever be engraved in my memory. One of them is the first real “fine dining” experience I had when Bob took me to Jean-Georges for a birthday about ten years ago. I think my mouth hung open with awe whenever I wasn’t putting delicious food into it. Everything was just amazingly spectacular from the ambiance to the white-glove service to the food – oh the glorious food! When we moved to Shanghai we were thrilled to discover a Jean-Georges there! We dined there so often, the maitre de recognized us and always seated us at “our table” by the window, and served us complimentary champagne. It was there that we met Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten himself!
While walking in mid-town on Friday, searching for a place to have lunch, we stopped at a restaurant I saw when meeting up with my friend the previous day. I hadn’t looked closely at the menu but liked the look of it and the name of the restaurant, JoJo. We discovered with glee and surprise that it was a Jean-Georges restaurant. Not only that, but the maitre de informed us that it was the chef’s first location, 20 years ago! Of course we had lunch there!
We started with the most amazing pea soup ever! As was reminiscent of my first soup experience at Jean-Georges, the bowl came only with a pool of Parmesan foam with Parmesan croutons. The waiter then poured the soup from a silver pitcher into the bowl, causing the foam and the soup to meld. The soup was fresh and delicious, with the Parmesan foam adding a salty accompaniment. Truly the best pea soup I’ve ever had! (Although Bob was kind enough to say that mine was just as good.)
Our mains were just as delicious – I had oven roasted chicken and Bob had grilled shrimp with ramps and artichoke hearts. We cleaned our plates. And because we wanted to walk down memory lane, we ordered the molten chocolate cake. While many restaurants serve this, Jean-Georges version is incomparable. He “reinvented” this cake in 1987 by accident when he pulled out a chocolate sponge cake too early (according to an article in the outstanding food magazine Lucky Peach – and yes, of course we subscribe). I’d forgotten just how good his molten chocolate cake was – you think they all taste the same? They don’t. It’s the best and it’s a sensual experience. (You chocolate lovers know what I mean!) I didn’t take a picture – sorry. I was too busy eating!
Stay tuned for part 2 because it was not only the best meal we had in NYC, it will be forever in our minds as one of our favorites (including my first Jean-Georges experience)!