Tables for Two
by Kelly Snowden, New York Observer contributor, 02/05/2009
160 E. 64th St. • 212-223-5656
The blush-colored exterior of JoJo's secluded townhouse gives diners an idea of what they're in store for—sophisticated romance. The interior is textured and layered, with gold-rimmed molding and burgundy velvet banquets, many separated by long tasseled curtains. The downstairs is dark, with a split dining room, which keeps diners from feeling overwhelmed by their neighbors. Up the brick and wrought-iron staircase the second floor's soaring ceilings and crystal chandeliers highlight soft green walls. The menu is equally highbrow but stops just sort of stuffy, with some whimsical twists and turns. Jean-Georges's signature Asian accents and dead-on cross-cultural mixing and matching of ingredients and methods are on full display. An arugula salad is warmed by shrimp that's been dusted with orange powder. Oyster mushrooms provide necessary depth and texture to a butternut squash soup. Duck leg is baked in a phyllo-dough brick and served over bright sweet-and-sour shallots. Dessert is a particular strongpoint. The warm chocolate cake has been a legend for ages and needs no changes. The passion pavlova, shaped like an egg and filled with yolk-colored passionfruit sorbet, is exactly like the restaurant—modern, sensual, and enticing.
Table for Two
The elegant upstairs landing has three front tables, all perfect for viewing the street and the dining room. We like Table 20, set in a cozy corner nook for maximum privacy.
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