Don’t Judge a Restaurant by it’s Owner
At first, I was hesitant to get sucked into a place which carries the reputation of having a well-known Chef/Restaurateur. So you could understand why I wasn’t so pleased or let’s rephrase that, enthusiastic, to eat lunch at Mercer Kitchen.
The name Jean-Georges bears a lot of weight in the culinary world but being a cynical native New Yorker, I was skeptical about how good his places actually were. Setting the bar low and throwing aside any expectations of greatness, we traveled to SoHo to enjoy what I was thinking would be an ordinary lunch.
Owning numerous restaurants across the world, 9 in NYC and 15 in total can without a doubt reduce the level of quality being produced in the kitchen. At first I was confident the food was so exceptional since my hopes were so low. Then I had the opportunity to rifle my way through a few other restaurants in the Jean-Georges arsenal, each individually stepped up to the plate and delighted me.
Pictured above (iphone picture) – Salmon with Crispy Sushi Rice, Chiptole Mayo and Ponzu
There was so much flavor in the butternut squash soup, one thing they added that I would have never thought to do were trumpet mushrooms. (note, I actually didn’t order this, Lisa did but we have a mutual agreement on sharing, as all friends should). I honestly could never achieve this level of flavor making a butternut squash soup at home, even if I add some brandy.
Downstairs at The Mercer, it was nothing I expected and yet so much more.
The next few pictures were taken in Spice Market: (above) peekytoe crab dumplings, then chicken samosas served with a cilantro yogurt sauce.
Crispy pork belly
Black Pepper Shrimp with dried pineapple – which was surprisingly amazing.
Short Ribs that were crusted with onion and chili and served over noodles. Another dish that wasn’t really mine but I had the pleasure of tasting. They literally fell apart as you tried to grab a bite with the fork.
Ginger fried rice served with an egg on top. When researching Spice Market, this is listed as a must have and it is!!!
ABC Kitchen was the hardest to get to, every time a lunch date was set, we would try to secure a table there and it took forever to accomplish this mission. I failed at taking pictures of the inside but it was my favorite. Rustic antique-like furniture creates the perfect backdrop for the farm to table cuisine.
Tuna sashimi with ginger and mint
Short rib over broccoli rabe and mashed potatoes.
- Ginger Fried Rice – Spice Market
- Sea Bass – Mercer Kitchen
The one item I ate at all three restaurants that I was not a fan of was the pork belly, the pork was so crispy to the point where it was almost inedible, I could barely chew it. Maybe it was a bad day, I dunno but I don’t think I will try it again.
Having been to Mercer Kitchen, Spice Market and ABC Kitchen, I still have lots to indulge and I eagerly await the day. What will be next? Perry St, JoJo or maybe, just maybe, The Mark!