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85 Very Good

The flagship of the great Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s elevated brand of fusion cooking sails serenely on.

1 Central Park West, New York, NY, 10023


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The lowdown

Enter the very gold, very Trumpian lobby; walk past the casual bar area known as Nougatine; and you will arrive in the famously tranquil dining room, decorated in whites and beiges, the only real color coming from each table’s fresh floral arrangement and the oversized windows surrounding you. Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s flagship is starting to show its age a bit, but more than two decades after its debut, the restaurant remains one of Manhattan’s preeminent dining destinations, a reminder of why high-cost, high-ambition dining remains integral to the fabric of the city. This really isn’t the place to go for a special occasion or marriage proposal — it all feels too professional for that, and tables are filled with obvious regulars — but it is a place to go, hopefully with an expense account, to enjoy attentive service (c/o a front-of-house staff expertly led by Philippe Vongerichten, Jean-Georges’s brother) and still-excellent cooking. Old favorites — Santa Barbara uni with yuzu and jalapeño, fresh scallops with caramelized florets of cauliflower and a rich caper-raisin sauce — don’t feel as groundbreaking as they once did (mostly because other chefs have … let’s say been “inspired” by Jean-Georges’s cooking for so long), but they are still executed with great precision, and the combinations are still, frankly, delicious. Unlike other high-end French establishments around town, this restaurant doesn’t lock diners into a mandatory multicourse tasting menu (though, two are available) and instead offers plenty of flexibility, including a $58 prix fixe at lunch that practically feels like a bargain.

Alan Sytsma

What you need to know

DrinksFull Bar

Noise LevelCivilized