Take a trip to Southeast Asia by eating at Jean-George Vongerichten’s Spice Market. The cuisine here is inspired by regional street food combined with Vongerichten’s distinctive touch. The interiors are resplendent and definitely make you feel like you are in some exotic locale of Asia. There are decorative pagodas and arches that adorn the enormous space and a grand staircase that leads to the hopping bar area downstairs. All of this makes for a really great spot to hang out at where one is stylishly served by waiters and scantily clad waitresses, dressed in bright orange hues.
The food is interesting. It’s quite a treat to be able to order up an appetizer from Thailand, a main course from Vietnam and dessert from India, all with a Vongerichten twist on it.
Here is some of what we ate:
SPICED CHICKEN SAMOSA WITH CILANTRO YOGURT
The chicken samosa was good, a little too peppery but nothing really innovative about it. I thought the mint chutney was a little too sweet.
GREEN PAPAYA SALAD, MARKET APPLES AND CANDIED GINGER
The papaya salad was made of nice crunchy vegetables and had a nice bite to it. I thought the dressing was a little lacking.
SHAVED TUNA, CHILI TAPIOCA, ASIAN PEAR AND LIME
This dish was brilliant. It was so delicately created and the combination of the crisp pear, with the shavings of tuna with tapioca pearls that came in a chilled bowl sitting on ice was just outstanding. It was such a refreshing appetizer that got so many different parts of my palate dancing!
VIETNAMESE CHICKEN CURRY
I was disappointed in the yellow curry. I can’t put my finger on it but the dish just lacked depth. Perhaps the base curry mix just didn’t have enough spices in it – but it was no comparison to the Vietnamese chicken curry that I had atPho-Bang.
The coconut rice was presented beautifully and went very well with the chicken curry.
VEGETABLES IN GREEN CURRY
I thought this dish was very good. It was different from the regular green curries that I have eaten at Thai restaurants. This curry had a fresh and raw edge to it, which made it interesting. It had a great assortment of vegetables in it, which were perfectly tender.
HALIBUT WITH MALAYSIAN CHILI SAUCE THAI BASIL
This was my favorite dish of the meal. It was really extraordinary – a true mark of that Jean-George brilliance. They had roasted a very fresh piece of fish till it was perfectly crisp on the outside but tender on the inside. They then placed the fish on a delicious bed of tangy tamarind paste, which had a zillion flavors going on in it. It was topped with tiny, crunchy celery and some kind of aioli. This dish was a pure delight.
I thought the flavors of this Mango sorbet was very good. It had the sweetness and tang of good mango but I thought the portion was just too big. It’s kind of monotonous to sit there and get through so much sorbet.
OVALTINE KULFI, CARAMELIZED BANANA, SPICED MILK CHOCOLATE SAUCE
Though there wasn’t much kulfi overtones to this dessert, it still proved to be a chocoholics delight. It was beautifully put together and presented and had so many interesting parts to it that it made for a great ending.
MY RATINGS FOR THIS MEAL
Overall experience: ☆☆☆1/2
I recommend: Shaved Tuna with Chili Tapioca Asian Pear and Lime, Halibut/ Cod with Malaysian Chili Sauce Thai Basil, Ovaltine Kulfi, Caramelized Banana Spiced Milk Chocolate Sauce