We survived Hurricane Irene here in NYC. Thankfully it didn’t do much damage in the city, though many other places were not as lucky. I hope everyone is doing okay out there! Anyway, last week was our monthly dinner out. We decided on Jean-Georges Spice Market, which had been on our list for sometime. It’s in the ever trendy Meatpacking District and the restaurant itself is definitely well done. It’s two levels of asian fusion decor and reminded me quite a bit of Buddakan, which is not far from there.
To start off, let me say that we had 7 people, a large group to be sure but the day before we called to see if we could add 1 more. They said no, which is understandable, except that when we got there we easily could have fit another person at our table. It’s absolutely the restaurant’s decision on whether they will allow an additional person on the reservation but if they’re not willing to go the extra distance for their customers then that’s something I will remember. You’ve been warned.
The menu is family style and they really mean that. The portions, especially for the entrees, are large so order accordingly. We ignored this and had way too much food, not that I’m complaining. For starters we ordered the crunchy squid salad, the spicy Thai fried chicken wings, the chicken samosas, the salmon tartare, and the peekytoe crab dumplings. Here are my thoughts:
- The squid was nice and crunchy and the cashew, ginger, and papaya salad was very refreshing. Definitely yummy, large portion, but not necessarily that memorable
- The waitress told us the wings were the spiciest thing on the menu and she meant it. They are HOT. Do not get them unless you can reallllly handle hot food. Seriously.
- The samosas were good but the chicken was a bit dry. They came with an amazing cilantro yogurt dipping sauce, which I probably could have put in a glass and drank.
- The salmon tartare was pretty much what you expect, good quality salmon but kind of boring
- The peekytoecrab dumplings were bite sized morsels of deliciousness but I couldn’t really tell it was crab inside. Very tasty though
It’s great that there’s enough food on each plate for everyone at the table to try and it gives you a great opportunity to try as many dishes as you can. For the entrees we ordered the spicy Thai slaw, the shrimp dumplings in lemongrass broth, the spicy Shanghai soup noodles, the chili-garlic egg noodles, the ginger fried rice, the onion and chili crusted short ribs, and the crispy pork belly.
- The Thai slaw, which is a salad, was really delicious. It had great flavor and there was a heaping portion that could serve 10 people.
- I didn’t get to try any of the shrimp dumplings but the broth it came in was good, very lemongrassy.
- The Shanghai soup noodles had a very subtle flavor. It didn’t do much for me but the silken tofu it came with was awesome. I had never had tofu like that before and I really liked it.
- The garlic-chili noodles came with shrimp and star anise. They were more flavorful than the tofu noodles but still nothing extraordinary. The star anise was a nice touch and gave it a little something that the noodles definitely needed but I’m not sure it was enough
- The ginger fried rice was one of my favorite dishes. It was surprisingly full of flavor and the egg that came on top made it a big richer than I would have expected. I was not disappointed with this.
- The short ribs were probably the best entrée. Fall off the bone, melt in your mouth, delicious. I could have eaten this all night and been happy.
- The crispy pork belly was way too dry. So disappointing. It’s a travesty to ruin pork belly.
We did not get dessert, seeing as how we had so much leftover food and had stuffed ourselves silly. All of the prices were very reasonable and you could potentially have a fairly cheap meal here if you order correctly. The portions are so large that you can get away with sharing everything. All in all I thought the meal was good but not memorable. Maybe my expectations were too high but it didn’t wow me. I much preferred Buddakan and would rather spend my money there for an asian fusion dinner. Also, sorry for the picture quality, it’s really dark in there.