A Jean-Georges Masterpiece Under the Radar
Over the years, I’ve had the fortune of dining at Jean-Georges’ Upper East Side mainstay, Jojo. I firmly believe that this gastronomic gem is one of the most under-rated Jean-Georges’ establishments. Set in an elegant pink stucco townhouse off Lexington, the restaurant is spread across several floors. The chandeliers, draperies, and small cozy rooms feel as though you’re dining in someone’s personal home. The entire scene oozes romance, from the plush velvet chairs to the beautiful textured wall-paper to the intimate tables.
The high prices and luxe setting definitely keep out the ‘riff-raff’, and the average age definitely skews towards 40 to 50. However, don’t let this fool you. Jojo, in its own modest elegance oozes class, something that is perenially hip.
The food in 100% classic and traditional French-American cuisine. The preparation and presentation of the dishes is formal and impeccable. You get the sense that the chef in the kitchen has been rigorously trained in French culinary techniques. The menu offers items such as sweet pea soup, goat cheese and potato terrine, peekytoe crabmeat with mango and cumin crackers, foie gras, pan-roasted striped bass, poached lobster, roasted chicken, rack of lamb with mint jelly and a sirloin. The menu items are all typical for a traditional restaurant of Jojo’s ilk; however, the impressive precision with which each dish is executed leaves one in a world of wonder.
In accordance with the elegant atmosphere and the even more elegant cuisine, the service is noteworthy. Groomed in the ‘rules’ of formal dining and dining service, the servers are all incredibly polite and knowledgeable. I have not yet encountered a single misstep in service. And, despite the formality of it all, they are warm and accommodating to all requests.
While Jojo may not be on the forefront of innovation or on the forefront of Jean-George’s mind, it has aged gracefully and continues to impress picky New Yorkers with its untouched classic cuisine. Such devotion to traditional French techniques and flavors is a rare-find in today’s dining scene and is something to be treasured.
Jojo is a special occasions type of place, fit for an anniversary meal, a birthday, a celebration, a graduation, or meeting a loved one’s family for the first time. Of course, you can come here for lunch or just on a whim, but Jojo is special and deserves to hold a special place in your memory.