French born Jean-Georges Vongerichten is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed chefs with over twenty restaurants on his resume. His first venture, the eponymous Jean-Georges in New York City, has been awarded three Michelin stars. In 2004, he opened a sister property in Shanghai, his first signature restaurant outside New York. Jean Georges Shanghai is housed in a fittingly refined heritage building on the Bund, Shanghai’s posh riverfront esplanade.
Inspired by travel through Asia, Jean-Georges’ dishes are known for using exotic herbs and seasonings to build unique and unexpected flavors. We became well acquainted with his innovative take on French cuisine during a recent lunch.
Jean Georges’ prix fixe lunch menu is stocked with so many scrumptious-sounding options I found it difficult to choose. Of the nine appetizers, I ultimately decided on the decadent fois gras and it ended up one of the better renditions I’ve tasted. The velvety smooth fois gras comes topped with crunchy granola, glazed strawberries and fresh herbs, whose subtle sweetness perfectly complement the fatty richness of the liver.
Hubby ordered the crispy crab cake, although I may have eaten half. The thick, moist crab cake was covered in panko crumbs, giving it a light, almost airy texture. I most enjoyed the play between crunchy cake and creamy avocado, while hubby was taken with the dish’s tart vibrancy from pink grapefruit wedges and ginger emulsion.
With eleven entrees from which to choose, the day’s decisions just didn’t get any easier. I went with the Parmesan-crusted chicken atop buttery white asparagus spears, fried basil and a passion fruit-lemon sauce. On its own, the sauce was quite sour, but really worked with the “umaminess” of the other ingredients. The organic chicken breast’s crisp Parmesan coating sealed in the succulent juices and the dish stayed warm much longer than hubby’s steak.
The caramelized beef tenderloin, meanwhile, came beautifully presented with roasted carrots, paper-thin slices of jalapeno and a sprinkling of dill. The miso-mustard sauce was unusual but pulled the whole dish together.
Dessert for me was a no brainer, but hubby surprised with his choice of the cheese plate. The generous portions of artisan blue, brie, Camembert and goat cheese were accompanied by sweet honey and tart cherry compote. All this was was served with a handful of saltine crackers, which highlighted the chef’s confidence. The cheese is the star and needs little improvement.
I naturally ordered the Jean-Georges signature chocolate cake which oozed invitingly when cut. The rich dark chocolate was mellowed by sweet vanilla bean ice cream perched in a pleasing cookie crumb nest. Paired with Taylor’s 20 Year Tawny port, it was the perfect end to a truly memorable meal.