1 Central Park West
New York, NY 10023
On Saturday, I had a lunch date with Jean-Jeorges – ok not really, but close. Located inside the Trump Tower, Nougatine is the less-stuffy salon just outside Jean-Jeorges. Bathed in naturally filtered light and sleek, modern wood, the restaurant shares the JJ kitchen and staff, and produces dishes that while are significantly less complicated, still demonstrate precise execution. Rather than choose from the prix fixe menu (which honestly just seemed a bit safe), David and I ordered à la carte.
We began with a beautiful tuna tartare, stacked over a layer of creamy avocado and drenched in ginger-soy sauce sauce, topped off with sesame oil and thinly sliced radishes. The fish was fresh, and the marinade packed the right amount of tang to balance the richness of the fish and avocado. Add in the kick of the ginger, and it was a party. And look how pretty it all is!
My main course included a roasted cod fillet over cauliflower and splashed with a buttery vinaigrette. Thin slices of pepper added an unexpected, though not unpleasant, sting – it helped add another flavor dimension. Again, there was beautiful balance in flavors and textures, as well as aesthetically pleasing presentation. Again, there was precision in the execution and the dish was technically flawless.
David ordered the sirloin steak with miso butter and roasted brussels sprouts. No surprise – precision. Beautiful and complementary flavors. The only thing it lacked, as David pointed out, was the ‘meat’ flavor. He found the sirloin tender and perfectly cooked, but lacking in beefy flavor. Not sure why – lack of age perhaps?
The dessert menu didn’t look spectacular so we headed to north to Boulud instead for ice cream and pastries. Overall, the Nougatine experience was nice. I’m not positive the food justified the price tag, despite the perfect execution and meticulous attention to detail. If anything, I felt like I was paying most for the experience of being as close as I’ll ever get (at present anyway) to Jean-Georges. I might come back, but only if I’m in the mood for something safe.