13 August 2008

The Best Deal in Manhattan

What do you picture when you hear "unlimited refills"?

I think of giant plastic cups that contain enough artificially colored and flavored liquids to put a dialysis machine to shame, playing perfectly into the American culinary concept of more is more, and making you forget the food you're about to put in your mouth is barely edible.

I don't think of three-Michelin-starred French restaurants, with food and service so extraordinary that sometimes all you can do is close your eyes and revel in the gustatory heaven.

But I do now, after an elegant lunch at Jean-Georges (1 Central Park West). As if $28 for two courses wasn't enough of a deal, guess what I discovered: unlimited, house-brewed iced tea can be had here for $5.

Served with lemon, a mint leaf and an accompanying carafe of simple syrup (the proper way to sweeten cold tea), this classic black iced tea put all the cups I've tasted recently in Brooklyn to shame.

So it's twice the price of a regular iced tea in the city. But if you have just two glasses, you're ahead of the game. And I'd like to point out that it's poured attentively from a silver pitcher, not out of a hissing plastic spigot: Presentation really does matter.

I sucked down glass after glass, from the amuse bouche (pictured above) through my two courses- heirloom watermelon gazpacho, then steamed halibut in a delicate lemongrass sauce, topped with honshimeji mushrooms (no, I'd never heard of them before either)- and throughout the post-dessert tray of mini macaroons, homemade marshmallows and truffles (the peanut butter and jelly-filled is not to be missed).

Four icy glasses to the wind, I stumbled in the sunshine in Central Park on shaky legs, caffeine coursing through my veins. But it was well worth it.


Mrs.French said...

I am not sure I needed one...but it is nice to have another reason to go to Manhattan...sounds positively lovely.

Anonymous said...

the lemongrass sauce and halibut sound divine, as well as the rest of your eating fest! I wanna be in New York and eat like this too!

Anonymous said...

Jean George oh let me tell you the ways....(love)
watermelon gazbacho, and when the drink you love is served just right and unlimited well that is extra special!

{this is glamorous} said...

Sounds perfectly heavenly -- will definitely try to stop by as soon as possible. {Great photographs as well.}