Thursday, January 29, 2009


Restaurant week in New York. Its a pretty cool thing, being able to go out to tres chic places and pay not chic prices, so this year we are taking advantage of it, something I have not done in the past. So, after having a wonderful experience at Butter two weeks ago with our friends Dan and Karla, last night Aviva and I went out to Vong, an Asian themed Jean-Georges restaurant in mid-town.

(picture on the left from Evan Sung at the NYT) I will put a disclaimer here ... last night dinner for 2 cost us 99$, and that was the discounted restaurant week rate. When I lived in San Diego I don't think I ever paid 99$ for dinner (although I was in grad school and never went out then, but that is beside the point) ... only in New York could a 99$ meal be a "bargain".

So we arrived around 8:15, and after hunting around for the entrance, which is kind of concealed to the side of a large office building, we got in and were greeted by an extraordinarily tall, thin woman. She was very pretty, and I mention her height only because it was so striking, maybe 6'2" with no heels, as she walked around the restaurant during the meal she always drew our attention. The place, like all trendy New York restaurants, was low-light and tastefully yet fully packed full of tables, booths and screened off areas for sitting on tatami mats. The decor was simple pan-south east asian, with lots of bamboo and wood, some elephant motifs, grey slate tables, red chairs and bizarrely plaid booths.

As we sat down, my first impression was how loud it was, but I guess it being restaurant week the place was bound to be full. Dinner was three courses, I had fresh ahi and vegetable spring rolls, green curry lamb with vegtables and vanilla crepes with blood orange sorbet. Aviva had chicken and coconut milk soup, prawns with bok choy and a chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream. Unfortunately, the food was shockingly mediocre, only Avivas soup was particularly good. My lamb was a good piece of meat and well cooked, but they did nothing special with it. Ditto for Avivas desert. My spring rolls and the crepes were just bizarre, solid on paper but really overly complicated with no good flavor combination. One positive about the place was that the portion sizes, normally rather small at a place like this, were actually rather large and the meal was filling, if not particularly good.

The service was prompt and the meal went by quickly but was very enjoyable, despite that bizarre food. Maybe it was the excellent company. Overall we had a really nice time, but were disappointed with the food, if only because this is a Jean-Georges restaurant and that is a quality brand so I had been a bit excited. Wouldn't go back, but this is what restaurant week is for ....

1 comment:

*Carlo said...

Interesting - Julia and I went to China Grill (also Asian fusion) for lunch yesterday to take advantage of their Restuarant Week menu (which is being extended to March 31 along with all their other properties).