Nougatine, New York

Nougatine is the frontroom at Jean-Georges, a critically acclaimed restaurant at the luxurious Trump International Hotel in Central Park. The restaurant is separately reservable and has its own unique menu but the food is far from cheap: expect a scrumptious $19 cheeseburger, many entrées priced somewhere in the $24 to $38 range, which is usually slated for the city’s “upper middle” classes, and the appetizers in the $12 to $23 range.

The space where Nougatine is based now was originally a lounge for the adjoining Trump International Hotel for a long time. The place has seldom been professionally reviewed despite being established in 1997. The chef, Jean-Georges Vongerichten, remodelled Nougatine last year and the place continues to be busy and difficult to get a seat in, eponymous to the very famously “busy” American classes it seeks to cater to.

The bar often tends to be overcrowded and loud and if you’re not of the typical New Yorker-mindset, it could prove to be quite difficult for you to place an order because getting the attention of someone to take your order is known to be quite difficult. The coveted seats at the restaurant are the ones nearest to the windows, with gorgeous views of Central Park.

The lunch menu through weekdays from noon to 3 pm is table d’hôte, and there’s a table d’hôte menu available for pre-theatre and past-theater dinners also, from 5:30 pm to 6 pm, and from 10 pm to 11 pm.

The cuisine at Nougatine is certainly interesting. The breakfast menu serves up Continental Breakfast ($28), American Breakfast ($34), smoked meats and fish, breads and pastries.

The table d’hôte lunch menu ($32) has choices in appetisers of Fried Calamari, Basil Salt Citrus, Chilli Dip, Entrée of Cheeseburger, Crispy Onions, Russian Dressing, and Desserts of Jean-George’s special Warm Chocolate Cake, Vanilla Bean Ice Cream and a selection of hot and cold drinks.

The table d’hôte dinner tasting menu ($88) comprises culinary offerings such as Caramelised Beef Tenderloin in Consommé with Spinach-Gruyere Crepe and includes Desert Tasting with choices of Jean-George’s Chocolate Cake dish and a selection of ice cream and sorbets.

From the individually priced lunch menu, I particularly liked the (sound of the) appetizer dish of Scallop Sashimi, Chiptole, Mayo, Crispy Rice ($19), the Entrée dish of Roasted Red Snapper, Broccoli Rabe, Leeks and Sweet-Garlic-Lemon Broth ($34). And from the dinner menu, I liked the (sound of the) appetizer of Kale Salad, Parmesan and Lemon ($15) and the Entrée of Cod with Miso-Yuzu Glaze and Braised Market Greens ($30), and of course a generous helping of Jean-George’s special dessert.

The cocktails and beer menu boasts Raspberry Lychee Bellini ($18) which is a drink of Cremant de Bourgogne, Raspberry, Lychee and also the ever popular European favourite, Kronenbourg 1664, France ($9). There is also an interesting range of Fresh Fruit and Herbal sodas from Ginger-Lemon to Passion Fruit-lime.

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