REVIEW #64

JoJo

Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant in NYC, inhabiting a romantic and sumptuously-furnished turn-of-the-century townhouse on the Upper East Side, has only acquired more richness and complexity with age, even as its success spawned a sprawling culinary empire. When Jean-Georges left Restaurant Lafayette in 1991, this quaint bistro-like space became the breeding ground for some of his now-legendary trademarks, such as the incorporation of Asian flavors, herbal essences and vegetable-based sauces into classic French cuisine. Thus, calamari is served with pickled chili pepper and his signature roast chicken is accompanied with ginger and his justly acclaimed chickpea fries.

It is a testament to the soundness of the restaurant’s formula that it has continued to age so gracefully notwithstanding the exponentially-increasing competition for Jean-Georges’ time and attention elsewhere. The restaurant has now shed some of its original bistro aesthetic and cultivated a more lavish ambiance that still manages to be both refined and cozy. Its upstairs dining room could easily be mistaken for a fine period drawing room, while other areas of the restaurant are more evocative of an exclusive private club. But despite the regal vestments, the restaurant’s chromosomal informality still manifests itself in the relaxed service and a reasonably-priced wine list. Although inexplicably off some gourmands’ radar, JoJo is still one of the best options around for enjoying a consistently satisfying upscale dinner and an atmosphere of consummate gentility.

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INFORMATION

Upper East Side
160 E. 64th St.
New York (nr. Lexington Ave.)
212-223-5656
Mon-Thu, noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10:30pm; Fri-Sat, noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-11pm; Sun, noon-2:30pm, 5:30pm-10pm
    Jean-Georges Vongerichten, Chef
    Ron Gallo, Chef de Cuisine

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