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#1 ulterior epicure

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 09:29 PM

Unless I'm horrible at operating the search engine on this forum, there is not a dedicated thread to JoJo, Jean Georges Vongerichten's first restaurant at 160 East 64th Street (at Lexington Avenue).

Has anyone been to JoJo recently and would be kind enough to report? Specifically, I'm curious about their lunch, which is currently $24.07. I can't believe how much of a steal lunch prices are in this city!
“Watermelon - it’s a good fruit. You eat, you drink, you wash your face.” – Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (1873-1921)

the ulterior epicure

#2 oakapple

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Posted 20 May 2008 - 09:34 PM

My most recent visit was in December 2005. I think it's a shade below the other three-stars, but certainly worth a try at $24.07.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#3 Wilfrid1

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:30 PM

Thanks for the link, oakapple.

The extent to which this restaurant fell off the communal radar - and I refer here to people who post on the various food boards - right after its refurbishment a few years back is remarkable.

In the late '90s, I rated it alongside Cafe Boulud as about the best restaurant in the city below the very top tier. I used to go there a lot. After the refurb, it seemed somehow dispirited. I don't know if there was a change of chef. I just remember my last meal there. It seemed to represent everything I disliked about the way dining in the city was going. Instead of being able to serve a good roast duck with an appropriate accompaniment, the kitchen tried something like a duck rubbed with seven mediaeval spices with three root vegetable purees. Awful duck, and three blobs of baby food distinguishable only by their color.

I never went back. After all this time, one can't assume anything from that last experience. But I haven't been able to find anyone else who has gone back either.

ETA: To my surprise, I easily found my report, on a very sparsely populated eG thread. It was 2001!

link

QUOTE
...incredibly cramped ...Arrival is a nightmare. In the tiny space between the bar and restaurant, you have customers waiting for tables, customers who are leaving and struggling with their coats, two or three greeters, and waitstaff trying to manoeuvre with full trays of drinks. Totally nerve-wracking...

Appetizer: salad of pig's cheeks with lentils. The cheeks were served as small medallions with a light crust (fine breadcrumbs? flour?). Steaming hot, but quite dry, and it's not easy to dry out pig's cheeks. The lentil salad was (intentionally) cold. The temperature contrast was odd.

Entree: duck with mediaeval spices and root vegetables. Having puzzled over the appetizer, I actually asked the captain if the duck dish was supposed to be cold. "No," he said "it's suppose to be hot" and whisked it away. It came back a while later (with appropriate apologies). It was not a new dish, as I recognised my tooth marks. The duck had upgraded from cool to lukewarm. The vegetables remained cold. I considered sending it back again, but the night was wearing on, and I thought two chances to serve the dish properly was plenty. The duck was nicely cooked, and very mildly spiced. Three root vegetables had been carved into uniform shapes, and two more had been turned into intense purees. All these items were spaced around a big square plate. Root vegetables are not at their best eaten cold. The dish became sort of annoying, because what I really wanted by that stage was plain roast duck, any one vegetable you like in its natural shape, served on a round plate and served HOT.


Interesting to see how my memory falsified some details, but not the overall impression.

Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#4 Sneakeater

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:40 PM

Nevertheless, when this place first opened (after JGV left the Lafayette), it was my very favorite place in the City. I just loved it.

Haven't been back since right after the renovation either.
Bar Loser

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#5 oakapple

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:51 PM

QUOTE(Sneakeater @ May 21 2008, 10:40 AM) View Post
Nevertheless, when this place first opened (after JGV left the Lafayette), it was my very favorite place in the City. I just loved it.

Haven't been back since right after the renovation either.

Both of my visits post-date the renovation. One would have to assume that JGV spends minimal time here. It has always struck me as one step better than an East-Side neighborhood place, but a step below the destination spot it was intended to be.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#6 Wilfrid1

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Posted 21 May 2008 - 02:52 PM

I started going just after Jean-Georges opened, so someone else was running the kitchen. But it was wonderful for a time.

I used to like counting the twenty seven vegetables cooked in their own juices, just to make sure I wasn't being short-changed.
Elect-a-lujah

***Every Monday***At the Sign of the Pink Pig.

If the author could go around the place hitting random readers with a rubber hammer, the Pink Pig would still be worth a visit.

#7 oakapple

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 01:23 PM

JoJo gets its first professional review in years, from Robert Sietsema of the Village Voice. He finds the food much better than he expected, but he doesn't like the crowd.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#8 Wilfrid

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:03 PM

The silence is broken at last. Interesting that it's drawing an older crowd. Last time I ate there, Sean Coombs was holding court.

I'd be surprised if most of the action on the list is really in the $45 through $60 range. That would make it a cheap list.

#9 oakapple

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:11 PM

The two times I dined there, the clientele did not seem anywhere near as uniformly old as he describes.
Marc Shepherd
Editor, New York Journal

#10 Wilfrid

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Posted 05 March 2012 - 07:23 PM

I don't know about you, but it's quite a few years since I ate there.