160 East 64th Street
In Jean Georges’s mini gourmet empire, Jojo is perhaps the coziest spot, nestled in a narrow brownstone in the east sixties. While a nice meal out above 14th street can occasionally be quite treacherous for a long-haired couple that, through rich people glasses, look like a pair of dangerous hipster hillbillies hell-bent on taking the family jewels, if fellow diners made side comments and gave us horrified looks, we were so engrossed in great company and good food, we certainly didn’t notice.
If you recall my raving about at the namesake restaurant, you’ll understand that it was simply impossible for us to pass up the heavenly foie gras brulee, which, served with a spiced fig compote, was every bit as amazing as I remembered. For entrees Jim and I split a venison special with pomegranate seeds and pears topped with a flavorful reduction sauce and the truffle-tastic salmon featuring brussel sprouts so good even Jim finished his, truffle mashed potatoes (with real, honest to goodness chunks of black truffle) and an incredible truffle vinaigrette… both were the kind of dishes that induce people to roll their eyes in incredulity. A lovely spritzer passion fruit and chili bourbon drink was the perfect accompaniment. For dessert, there’s nothing better than high class pavlova, one of my favorite and one of the most hard to find desserts.
Jojo was the famous Vongerichten’s first venture on his own and when it opened 18 years ago it stunned restaurant goers and critics. It’s been gussied up with a makeover since then (including velvet and candle sconces) but it’s still a go-to bistro for reliably awe inspiring dishes without too much fussiness.