Jean-Georges’ affordable high-end lunch service remains on hiatus

Another of the city’s most expensive and famous fine dining establishments gets even more expensive as it hits the pause button on an unusually affordable menu option for a venue of this caliber. Jean-Georges at the Trump International Hotel and Tower – renowned for its ribbons of ruby ​​tuna with chili oil, stunning natural light and a photo of a puzzled Mitt Romney having dinner with then-President-elect Donald Trump – no longer serves its fixed price lunch market. In fact, the two-Michelin-starred venue hasn’t restarted lunch service since reopening for indoor dining more than a year ago.

“We just want to be safe and smart in our decisions – lunch is not currently open at Jean-Georges’ at the moment but it is a possibility in the near future,” Jean-Georges Vongerichten said in a statement sent by email. The chef boasts an upscale empire of more than 40 chic establishments around the world, including the veggie-forward ABC Kitchen and the seafood-centric Fulton in New York City. .

The daily menu, which commanded an almost improbable $28 for two courses in the mid-1990s (dinners could add additional plates for a fee), eventually rose to $68 in fall 2019 for a four-course deal. dishes. It was an incredibly accessible counterpoint to dinner, which started at $230 the same year for the regular menu; vegetarian options were cheaper. For curious foodies like me, lunch at Jean-Georges was, for a time, an opportunity to indulge in the pleasures of modern fine dining without spending a significant portion of one’s salary on a single meal. It was a place to enjoy a unique breed of haute cuisine mixing French with Japanese and sometimes Southeast Asian or other global influences. You could taste the lobster toast with lemongrass, caviar with Meyer lemon jelly and homemade marshmallows that the waiters cut into cubes next to the table.

The starting price at Jean-Georges for an omnivorous dinner meal is now $258, with a longer tasting of $318 before taxes and tip; those prices are roughly in line with similar offerings from fellow French stalwarts Daniel on the Upper East Side and Le Bernardin in the Theater District. Jean-Georges has long offered a shorter fixed price during dinner, but abandoned this option before the pandemic. A vegetable menu costs $188.

Thomas Keller’s Per Se, a stone’s throw from Columbus Circle, and Daniel Humm’s Eleven Madison Park are also not offering their lunch service at this time, but the daily menus at these places were generally much more expensive than at Jean’s. -George. If anything, the current lack of lunch there reflects how certain strains of fine dining are increasingly out of reach for everyday diners looking to splurge. Indeed, many of the city’s most expensive restaurants have recently hiked prices — or ditched their cheaper entry-level menus — amid soaring food prices, labor costs and demand from well-heeled customers wanting to return to their favorite restaurant. rooms.

Yet even though a larger percentage of everyday diners are opting for more casual forms of ambitious fine dining these days, this corner of Central Park seems a little less fun, magical, and welcoming without the whimsical extravagance of Jean- Georges at lunchtime – and much more. Dear. Lunch at Jean-Georges was a fun throwback to heady pre-recession events.

Nougatine next door, which serves a more casual menu from Chef Vongerichten, remains open for breakfast and lunch. And Le Bernardin and Sushi Ginza Onodera both offer lunch menus around $100.

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