>> Thursday, August 12, 2010
I first visited Market by Jean Georges on a lazy snowy day between Christmas and New Years this past winter. We had previously been blown away by the 3-course $29 prix fixe lunch at Jean Georges in New York City (a fantastic deal, by the way), and we were intrigued to see what the Boston version would be like.
Well, the $28 Market lunch was decent, but really nothing compared to Jean-Georges in New York. Disappointed, we told ourselves we should at least give it one more chance. If nothing else, we would at least try the 5-course Market Menu dinner ($58, with wine pairing an additional $35 or $45).
Well, half a year later, we finally made our way back out to the W Hotel to see what this 5-course tasting menu was all about.
Market by Jean Georges
First, a little bit of background about the restaurant. Situated in the new W Hotel, Market is Jean Georges' first Boston venture in 24 years. (!) The concept behind this restaurant is that everything is locally sourced. The restaurant relies "entirely on the bounty of area farms and fisherman," only the fourth of its kind in the Jean-Georges Empire (the others are in Paris, Vancouver, and Atlanta). The restaurant also aims to serve seasonal ingredients, and Jean-Georges insists that all of his shellfish is fresh and wild. Many of the dishes are local interpretations of "greatest hits" from other Jean-Georges restaurants around the world.
Of course, we decided to try the Market menu ($58 for 5 courses). Bryan also opted for the cheaper wine pairing ($35), because, surprisingly, it actually had more reds than the more expensive pairing.
Raw Maine Diver Scallops, Green Market Chilies, Anise Hyssop and Lime
The scallop was very fresh and sweet, and I really liked the presentation in a scallop shell. Flavors were clean, floral, and light. Very nice.
Frisèe and Goat Cheese Salad, Pickled Peaches, Toasted Pistachios
This was pretty good, though not one of my personal favorites (I don't like goat cheese that much). The crushed pistachios on top really made this salad, adding the savory crunch to balance the soft, sweet peaches and the creamy cheese.
Atlantic Halibut, Roasted Tomatoes, summer vegetables
The fish was cooked properly, with a nice, crispy edge.
Prime Rib-Eye, Parmesan Crusted Goldbar Squash, Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce
The meat was perfectly cooked. Bryan thought that meat at a dedicated steak house still tasted better, but the sides here were much more creative and the meat was still very good. (Did you know Scotch Bonnet is one of the spiciest peppers in the world?)
Sautéed Market Corn Lime and Jalapeño
This side dish is actually not part of the Market menu, but we were so drawn to the description of the dish we just had to get it. It did not disappoint. The fresh corn tasted fantastic, and worked beautifully with the butter, lime, and jalapeños.
Market Berries, Vanilla Meringue, Poppy Seed Ice Cream
The dessert was OK, but in my opinion, not up to par with this level of dining. The berries were sitting it a sauce which I thought was too sweet, and the meringue (which is basically pure sugar), just made the whole thing unbearably sweet. I felt that the dessert was less refined than the other courses, and overall I actually thought the portion size was too big.
Overall we had a very enjoyable experience here. The ambiance is bright and modern, and the service is good. I like Jean Georges' concept of trying to use seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. I definitely thought the local seafood tasted fantastic, and everything else was solid as well. It's no three-star Michelin (and it's not priced like one), but everything was well executed.
Having said all that, nothing really stood out to us as amazing. Think of it as another fine choice for a nice meal in Boston. Living in Cambridge, I wouldn't go out of my way to dine there (there are several nearby options that are just as good, if not better). However, if I'm in the area, I would happily stop by for the prix fixe lunch or the Market menu dinner.
Market by Jean Georges
100 Stuart St.
Boston, MA 02116