Jean-Georges Vongerichten is the man. He is the man. He has made his mark on the culinary world via top-notch restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Shanghai and Hong Kong. (You might recongnize a few of his famous eateries, including Jean Georges, Perry St., Spice Market, Vong and Mercer Kitchen.) Vongerichten is also a staple on television thanks to his many appearances on the Food Network as well as the Today Show, Good Morning America and Martha Stewart Show. And, now, the fabulous Frenchman has opened his newest restaurant right here in Scottsdale–J&G Steakhouse at The Phoenician. Lucky, lucky us!
J&G Steakhouse occupies the space that used to house the dearly missed Mary Elaine’s. However, we couldn’t think of a more wonderful establishment to fill this void. The massive dining room is quite masculine but with dashes of glitz here and there (like the gold light fixtures). And the views of the Valley are simply to die for. I got to watch the sun set while sipping a huckleberry Bellini. Kind of wonderful, I tell you. Plus, there aren’t many signs of the uber fine dining digs of Mary Elaine’s. Each wooden table is decked with a paper placemat and the napkins are off-white with a picnicky red pattern. And a single, muted candle votive adorns each table. I found these touches made for a non-stuffy, unpretentious dining experience. An experience which began with the mighty fine calamari…
I love calamari. And J&G’s is possibly the best I’ve had in the Valley. Each piece was crispy but light, and the lemon fondue that came with it was utterly refreshing. I also loooved the sweet corn ravioli and the dish’s burst of juicy cherry tomatoes. For the main event, I dug into the lobster paired with Tabasco butter while my husband ordered up the prime New York strip (his favorite sauce was the black peppercorn; mine was the creamy bearnaise). We very much enjoyed both dinner offerings, as well as the spinach and potato gratin sides.
Pretending like we could stuff in yet another morsel, we tried a trio of J&G Steakhouse’s amazing desserts. The apple tart tatin with butterscotch cinnamon ice cream was a wonderful departure from apple pie or an apple cobbler but still a comforting dessert. The exotic fruit salad featured the likes of kiwi and pineapple and was topped with a white pepper ice cream, which was surprising subdued and delicious. However, our favorite dessert was the cheesecake with cherry compote and sour cherry sorbet. I don’t think a few words could do it justice, so just pull up a booth at J&G Steakhouse and try it for yourself. It’s that good. 480.214.8000, www.jgsteakhousescottsdale.com.