After such a lovely lunch at Jean Georges, I decided try another lunch at another one of his restaurants. This time, it was JoJo 160 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021, where I dragged along a different crew, mom and Grandma Olia. If you check his website, you’ll notice that JoJo and a few others offer a $26 pre-fixed lunch, 2 courses plus dessert. At Jean Georges, it’s $29 for 2 courses, not including dessert. This begs a comparison the whole way through.

While Jean Georges is sleek and modern, though boring, JoJo has more character situated in an old townhouse. Unfortunately, everything looks old from the staircase to the bathrooms, to the walls that need touch-ups. The seats are uncomfortable.

Fresh warm bread, something between a baguette and ficelle, is wonderful and I don’t care that it is the sole bread in the basket. The crisp crust releases a wonderful crunch/sizzle on each bite and inside the chewiness is developed. Sadly the butter does not live up to being French.

Jo Jo's lights Bread and Butter

Our waitress was fantastic and warm from the beginning, answering all my questions, and refilling my mom’s tea pot countless times. It’s a much more casual feel here but you do feel served.

I did not try the Butternut Squash Soup that Grandma Olia started with but she finished all of it, even the second pouring. My mom ate up her Shrimp Salad with Avocado and Champagne Vinaigrette as well. (Curses to mercury again for not allowing me shrimp!)

Butternut Squash Soup with Trumpet Mushrooms Shrimp and Avocado Salad

I had a nice Cheese Ravioli, enjoyable but slightly dry and a tad salty.

Cheese Ravioli

I had the skate next, nicely cooked with flavorful tomatoes but weak micro basil.

Skate with Tomato and micro basil

I liked my mom’s Hanger Steak ($3 supp) much more. The wonderful beefy slices were paired perfectly with shitake mushrooms and white asparagus. It was such an umami dish that it resembled Asian while being decidedly French. Plus, it came with golden crispy fries.

Hanger Steak with White Asparagus and Shitake Mushroom

Again because of mercury, I did not try Grandma Olia’s Salmon (it was East Coast) but she gobbled it all up. What a good appetite for this teeny lady (see pic of adorable mom and Grandma Olia)!

Salmon with mashed potatoes and snow peas

Dessert could be a trio of sorbet or Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. We all loved the blackberry sorbet, and Grandma Olia and I liked the tang of the rhubarb, but the canteloupe fell to waste. It lacked flavor and tasted of over-ripe canteloupe.

rhubarb, canteloupe, blackberry sorbet

The Chocolate Cake was one of those with runny centers. I’m pretty over them as of 10 years ago, but still ate 75% of it. The Vanilla Bean ice cream really lacked flavor and creaminess.

Molten Chocolate Cake, vanilla bean ice cream

Lunch at JoJo was enjoyable but I’m not going to urge you to go, the way I persuaded everyone to lunch at Jean Georges. The price seems suitable here for the decor, ingredient quality, preparations, and service, not an absolute deal. However, if you are in the area (shopping at Bloomies?), it’s a nice place to take a break for lunch, and you can pick up scones from Alice’s Tea Cup 156 East 64th Street, New York, NY 10021 next door.

posted by jessica at 09:19 AM Filed under French, Restaurants. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.