I was very lucky to be in New York City during their Restaurant Week of Summer 2014. Tiffany and I had several options in mind but eventually, we narrowed it down to Nougatine at Jean Georges. It has been a year and more since I last tasted Michelin quality foods so it was time to get my treat in New York City. I’ve already dined at Michelin starred restaurants in Hong Kong and New York City was definitely one of the next places to go, would you have to agree?
After a lovely walk around Central Park, we finally got to Nougatine for our lunch. The restaurant was contemporary, clean and very comfortable. I also loved the large window with the view of Central Park, but we didn’t get to sit near there. No doubt, the restaurant was packed with people during lunch hour and the last week of Restaurant Week so we got a small table near the private room.
Before we dig in, it was a very good choice to come to Nougatine because I saw Gordon Ramsay here. That’s right, he was dining in the private room next to my table. I love watching Junior Masterchef, Hell’s Kitchen, Masterchef and Kitchen Nightmares so to see one of my culinary heroes in front of me made my legs turn to jello. Sadly, I did not get to speak to him or take a picture with him since he seemed quite busy taking calls walking in and out of the restaurant, but what an experience! He’s really tall!
The amount of sunlight shining in that part area of the restaurant would probably make the dining experience even more comfortable than sitting inside.
What’s in it: Arugula, squash salad with shaved sheep’s milk cheese.
The sheep’s milk cheese had a strong and sharp punch to the salad. As you can see, the cheese was a large portion of the salad scattered everywhere.
Eating a piece of thinly sliced squash, cheese and a bit arugula at one go accentuated the different flavours in each component. The slight bitterness in the argula, the sharpness in the cheese and the slightly lemon juice drizzled on top of sweet squash stood out at various times in a bite. The best thing is that they still all complimented each other regardless of their taste differences.
Heirloom Tomato Salad
What’s in it: Heirloom tomatoes with basil and crispy sourdough.
Other than tomatoes in my pasta, I don’t eat tomatoes served in any other way, especially if they are added in raw into my salads.
Tiffany said that the tomatoes were extremely juicy and fresh with the cucumbers. The look and the taste of the dish was definitely summer on a plate.
The downside was that Tiffany thought it was too much in one salad. The sourdough didn’t go well with the tomatoes and to her, there was only so much tomato you can eat at one time.
Lemon Crusted Flounder
What’s in it: Sweet corn pudding, swiss chard and chili sauce.
This was like a party in my mouth, everything from the flavours in the flounder to the sweetness of the chili sauce was perfectly done. I have to admit that the winning component of this dish was the fragrant flavours in the chili sauce that gave this dish an overal “oomph” to it.
The fish had a lemon crusted crispy smear on top with a warm and moist foundation where the all meat was.
What’s in it: Free range chicken, summer radish salad and cucumber emulsion.
The highlight of this dish was the crisp in the chicken and the cucumber emulsion. It was like a ying yang of textures and flavour from the simplicity in the cucumber emulsion to the heavily flavoured chicken. The radish gave an earthy tone to the dish but overall, I tip my hat to the cucumber emulsion.
Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
I gently broke into the chocolate cake and once it was punctured, a gush of warm chocolate oozed out. The chocolate was absolutely divine, thick and extremely rich.
The vanilla ice cream with small bits from the vanilla bean instantly started melting once the dessert was presented to us. I wish I could slowly enjoy the ice cream with the chocolate cake but it was practically a race to finish the ice cream before it became ice cream soup.
Surrounding the vanilla ice cream were crushed cookie bits that were amazingly good. I think there’s a different between cookies and cream and vanilla ice cream with cookie crisp on the side.