Is Jean-Georges Dining Room worth the price?

Jean-George Dining Room DubaiLaunched in June at the Four Seasons Resort in Jumeirah to much fanfare and celebrity sightings, Jean-Georges Dubai is US-based French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first venture in the UAE. JG Dubai boasts two dining concepts; the casual, open-plan Jean-Georges Kitchen which diners first see upon entering the large restaurant, and the more upscale Jean-Georges Dining Room, a curvy, intimate space serving chef JG’s contemporary French dishes from his flagship three Michelin-starred New York City spot. At the helm of both kitchens is executive chef Colin Clague of ex-Q’bara fame.

On a Friday night, JG Kitchen is buzzing with diners, and waiters running around to the upbeat sounds of a live DJ station. The modern, mirror-clad bar connecting the two restaurants is just as lively. As we walk towards JG Dining Room, it gets considerably quieter and remains so throughout the entire evening, yet the soft lounge music and background chatter make for a classy and elegant ambience.

Our friendly hostess takes us to our table next to an open kitchen area and marble bar. Looking around, the décor is modern, with large, much-coveted round tables and elegant glass tube chandeliers. It’s a sobre yet sophisticated venue, with the furniture’s neutral colour hues made vibrant by pink rose displays on the table, and a green kitchen wall. In the back-of-house, four chefs move around under the watchful eye of chef de cuisine Daniel Everts.

As explained by our waitress, the menu concentrates on a prix fixe formula. For AED480 per person, a flexible choice of three savoury dishes from a list of fourteen appetisers and seven mains, plus dessert is offered, which is what we choose. Other options are the set AED880 seven-course tasting menu or a seven-course seasonal menu. Caviar dishes are also available, at a hefty price. To my delight (read my review of Em Sherif to see why), and in contrast with Jean Georges in NYC, our waitress informs us that an à-la-carte option is also available.

First to arrive are warm buttermilk biscuits, followed by three amuse-bouches; a cold and spicy cucumber gazpacho, a gooey cheese and jalapeño croquette, and a roasted yellow carrot with a dollop of yogurt – four little, exquisite preludes.

Foie gras bruleeDiver scallops

foie gras brûlé appetiser is served as a round of foie gras terrine mixed with strawberries atop a crunchy brioche. Brittle at the top, smooth from within, and crunchy at the bottom, the mélange of textures is perfectly complemented by the tartness of the strawberries, the subtle sweetness of the brioche and the acidity of the balsamic jus. A harmonious and delicious first course. The soft diver scallops do not disappoint either; married with three florets of caramelised cauliflower in a rich, tangy caper and raisin sauce. Simple, earthy, light and equally delectable.

Asparagus with morelsScottish salmon

Next up, my order of green asparagus with morels arrives sprinkled with black pepper, a smooth asparagus purée and a rich jus. The blanched asparagus stalks are cooked al dente – crunchy and extremely flavourful. The morels bring a chewy and earthy dimension. Despite the richness of the sauce, it is light and the execution excellent. My husband orders the Scottish salmon fillet which is served along a fresh cherry tomato juice and a crispy, deep-fried salmon skin. The fish is flaky, soft and tasty but the fried skin is too oily, leaving visible traces of oil droplets along the rim of the plate. The highlight of the dish is the side of Middle Eastern couscous cooked with cockles in a kaffir lime broth making it aromatic, zingy and oh so delicious – I crave more.

Lobster tartineMuscovy duck

My lobster tartine main course consists of four chunks of poached lobster sitting on two slices of baguette. Our waitress then pours a delightfully, aromatic lemongrass and fenugreek broth. The sugar snap peas, cooked al dente, add sweetness and crunch to the warm, citrusy sauce. The tartines are so refined, they make even the best lobster roll appear grotesque. My husband is served a large plate with generous slices of Muscovy duck breast crusted with almonds, around which our waitress pours a miso and soy-based jus. A side of foie gras, roasted potatoes, baby turnips and chanterelle mushroom salad makes the dish very hearty. The perfect example of fine AND comfort dining.

Chocolate molten cakePeach pavlova

Desserts are the creation of pâtissier Jeremiah Gichia, ex-Toko with seven options that are all original and inviting. Chef JG’s famous chocolate molten cake is of course included, so my husband, a fellow Frenchman, and stickler to good, old French traditions, opts for what is a truly moist and fluffy creation. Intrigued, I choose the peach pavlova with olive oil ice cream. A round and crunchy meringue holds a plump and juicy poached peach. The subtle hints of olive oil in the ice cream and the ginger gelée made the dessert whimsical, lively, and vibrant. Again here, the flavours are fresh and the execution brilliant.

A note on service; from beginning to end, the staff are unwaveringly attentive and intuitive, discretely refilling our water glasses, cleaning our table and answering our questions before we even speak. Our waitress is also very patient as she waits for us to narrow down our choices. Elegant, poised and friendly, everyone, from the manager to the waiters, inquire about our meal, and answer our queries on cooking techniques, spices and the restaurant as a whole. Dubai service, take note, the staff at JG Dubai are clearly well-trained.

At the end of our dinner, we are very full thanks to generous portions, but satisfied and sad that our culinary journey has finished. Oily salmon skin aside, our six dishes are brilliantly executed, delectable, and aromatic. The flavour combinations are deep and harmonious. The broths are all tasty and rich, yet not heavy. The desserts are creative and equally delicious. Our meal is truly a treat for the senses thanks to beautiful presentation, consistently delicious flavours, impeccable service, elegant interiors and an upscale, lounge vibe making JG Dining Room one of Dubai’s top restaurants. It’s expensive but worth every dirham for a special occasion. Here’s to a 4.5 out of 5 FooDiva knife rating.

Tell me, have you tried JG Dubai – the kitchen or the dining room? Or any of Jean-George’s restaurants around the world? Do you have a favourite JG dish?

A bientôt!

SJ.

Who is FooDiva’s guest reviewer SJ? By day, she is a professor of Political Science. By night, she shares her cooking, travelling and dining out adventures on Instagram here.

FooDiva Rating: Knife Rating: 4.5
  • Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Dubai
  • +971 4 3436118
  • Contemporary French
  • Yes
  • AED 480 per person
  • Open daily 7 - 12pm
  • http://www.jean-georges-dubai.com/
Reserve with RoundMenu
  • Posted under
    Chefs, Dubai, French, Hotels, Jumeirah, Licensed, Location, Restaurant Reviews, Restaurants

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16 Responses to “Is Jean-Georges Dining Room worth the price?”

  1. JayEim August 12, 2015 at 11:02 am

    Thank you for an interesting review.

    It seems that the JG people are very clever in menus budgetary construction.

    1- I would have returned the Foie Gras Brûlé as it is rather a missrepresentation as I would have expected a slab of Foie Gras. In this instance the dish title should be called: Terrine de Foie Gras Brûlé!
    Nevermind whether it is Duck or Goose….whose to know?

    2- Soft Diver Scallops. Scallops which have a very gentle taste coupled with caramelised cauliflower raises eye brows.
    Surely the cauliflower is overpowering the scallops?

    3- Lobster Tartine. Baguette bed. Why? Lobster and Bread? with a sauce?

    4- Green Asparagus with Morels. Is it assemblage or cooking?

    5- Scottish Salmon Filet. Nothing much to say apart that the oil dripping skin is unacceptable at this level and I am curious as to how the salmon was cooked as it surely does not look appetising in your pic.

    6- Muscovy Duck Breast. A jus of Soya and Miso…..How very French for a wanabe French restaurant…..et j’en passe!

    and to give them 4.5 out of 5 FooDiva knife rating…….in their dreammmmmmms.

    Then again what do I know…..I am a mere window eater!

    • SJ August 12, 2015 at 12:00 pm

      Hi there, thanks for taking the time to read the review and write back.
      Let me elaborate on a few things… Chef JG is known for mixing french cooking and classic ingredients with spices and ingredients from the far east. He worked for a long time in Thailand and Singapore and that has influenced his style of cooking — hence the mixing of soy/miso with the duck, for instance. Other dishes that we didn’t try also have similar flavour/ingredients combinations. Regarding the diver scallops, interestingly enough, the cauliflower was not overpowering — hence my comment on brilliant execution. The lobster tartine wouldn’t be called a tartine without bread — I’m assuming it’s their take on a lobster roll. Finally, I presume the foie gras to be duck foie gras and perhaps you are right, this should be specified on the menu.
      Finally, FooDiva scores are not based on food alone. While taste is an important factor, we also judge based on presentation, service, ambiance, pricing… Experiences are subjective but for a new restaurant to tick all these boxes early into opening makes it’s deserving of a 4.5 rating in my opinion based on FooDiva’s criteria.

  2. JayEim August 12, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    Merci pour votre retour..

    When a menu carries an entry saying: Foie Gras Brûlé, I would assume it is the creamy version. However you have indicated that is is a Terrine…..very big difference.

    A Terrine is a Terrine, however, a Foie Gras Brûlé is a creamy blended Foie Gras similar to the one offered by the very JG in their Shanghai restaurant. In contrast, the New York JG menu list it a Foie Gras Terrine!
    You could have a Terrine de Foie Gras Brûlé. But they need to make their mind up as to what it is and use the proper name for it. So is it creamy or terriny?
    Enquiring minds like to know.

    I will keep the verdict open as to whether it deserves a 4.5 score……We need not have similar expectations.

    It is your privilege to score the way you wish. As stated earlier, I am a mere Window Eater.

  3. Garry W August 12, 2015 at 6:40 pm

    This review puts ‘JG’ into the special occasion category of restaurant – will be sure to put it on my ‘must visit’ list – especially as it has one of the UAE’s top chefs, Colin Clague, at the helm. What he achieved at Q’bara was really top notch.

    • SJ August 13, 2015 at 7:09 am

      I’m also a fan of Colin Clague’s work and love Qbara. I definitely recommend a visit to JG Dubai, for that reason alone! I have yet to try JG Kitchen so let’s hope that the food there is as good as the Dining Room side!

  4. Nathalie August 12, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Lovely review, made my mouth water…

    I was very fortunate to dine at JG Kitchen a couple of months back and was incredibly impressed with all of the dishes as well. Although the service was a bit over-bearing but I think that was due to the task force still being present to assist & train in the restaurant. Sounds like they now have their service standards exactly where they need to be. I for one am please you scored them a 4.5. I totally agree that apart from the price it is clearly one of the best restaurants in Dubai…. For now… Unfortunately standards don’t always last, and someone newer, better & more exciting always shows up very quickly in that town. But for now JG & Chef Colin & his team should enjoy the glory as it is very well deserved!

    • SJ August 13, 2015 at 7:15 am

      Thank you for taking the time to write back!

      I haven’t tried JG Kitchen yet but I heard great things about it from fellow foodies. Judging by their tagged photos on Instagram, some of their dishes and desserts look mouth watering. I keep on seeing a dessert with caramelized popcorn in it — it must be one of their signature desserts. Regarding service, you’re right, there is nothing more annoying than overbearing staff. They mean well but they can ruin your dining experience by showing up every minute or two. As you said, it might have been an issue at the beginning because we didn’t encounter it on the Dining Room side. I hope they keep the momentum up!

  5. The Whistleblower August 13, 2015 at 11:22 am

    I am sure that the food is wonderful, tasty and are hastily being compared to the top restaurants in the world. However, to answer the questions whether the price tag is worth going there, the comparison should include things like:
    – what is the price for a JG menu in other parts of the world
    – what quality of ingredients is being used and are they as fresh as possible
    – what is the competition charging for a similar meal
    These questions is not being answered in the article but i can say one thing for sure. The fact that all ingredients are imported from abroad and tend to have very little flavour, makes me believe that not a single high end restaurant in Dubai is worth its price tag. If Marka (or Ginza) wouldnt have offered a suitcase of money to JG to open here, he would not have taken it upon himself to open an outlet in Dubai. (and this is true for all other celebrity chefs out here) That to me is the only proof that we are all being taken of a ride in this country. I have no doubt that many people will disagree on this, which is fine, but just ask yourself to compare what you get in Europe for the price you pay here.
    Open for discussion….

    • SJ August 14, 2015 at 8:55 am

      Good points you mention there! At JG in New York City, the fixed menu is priced at $128 (AED 470) — not sure if it includes taxes — but it’s similar to what they charge in Dubai. The other tasting menus are priced at approx. AED 765, so JG Dubai is not too far off here either. I’m not sure where JG Dubai imports its ingredients from but given their freshness and succulent taste, their quality must be top-notch as is clearly reflected in the food. Compared to other venues in Dubai (I’m thinking about Reflets by Pierre Gagnaire, Zuma, Cut by Wolfgang Puck, Social by Heinz Beck…), the price tag is fairly similar — I have never paid less than AED500/person for a three or four-course menu at those establishments. So to answer the question in the title of the review, to me, the price is on-point. It’s expensive, no doubt about that, and it wouldn’t be my restaurant of choice for a casual night out which is why I recommend it for special occasions.

    • Csutherland August 14, 2015 at 10:10 am

      Agree

  6. Romy August 13, 2015 at 4:59 pm

    Great review! Sounds like a great place — food looks delicious in the photos! Too bad I left Dubai before trying it out. It will be on my list whenever I come back to visit!

    • SJ August 14, 2015 at 8:44 am

      Thank you, Romy! I recommend you try it out during your next visit to Dubai.

  7. Kelly August 16, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    For FooDiva to have given this restaurant a 4.5 rating, it must be worth dining here but as you wrote, for special occasions. Personally, I would prefer dining in a more casual place like his JG Kitchen.
    I also agree that service is a very important element in rating restaurants worldwide.

    • SJ August 17, 2015 at 11:20 am

      I don’t think I’ll be going back to JG Dining Room anytime soon — perhaps on a wedding anniversary date or Valentine’s — but I heard great things about JG Kitchen and from the price list on the menu, their dishes seem to be priced quite fairly. If you do try it out soon, please let me know what you think! Would love to hear some feedback on JG Kitchen.

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