Friday, June 22, 2012

Bal Harbour Just Got Even More Fabulous: Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's J&G Grill!

My fellow Foodies and Fashionistas, now there's yet another delicious reason to visit Bal Harbour, South Florida's world-class shopping destination! Located directly across the street from the heralded shops, ensconced in the über-chic St. Regis Bal Harbour Hotel is world renowned Chef Jean Georges Vongerichten's latest culinary outpost: J&G Grill. 

The eatery exudes modern elegance with a beautiful, airy dining room replete with distinguished grey oak herringbone floors and expansive floor to ceiling views of the Atlantic Ocean. The decor is modern yet warm with creative light fixtures and welcoming banquettes against a backdrop of majestic palm trees. The inviting hues of the space are the perfect venue for the exquisite cuisine which is just as much a feast for the eyes as it is for the palate.

Watermelon with Goat Cheese & Black Pepper
The staff was equally inviting and we were greeted warmly and shown to a lovely table for two overlooking the ocean. We started with chilled flutes of Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé Champagne and a lovely amuse bouche of Watermelon with Goat Cheese and Black Pepper. This mouth watering pairing certainly set the tone for the deliciousness to come.

A duo of Sashimi followed, beginning with Hamachi Sashimi with Ginger Vinaigrette and Avocado. Light, colorful and full of flavor this dish demonstrated the thoughtful presentation and impressive attention to detail inherent in every dish we sampled throughout the evening. The hamachi was fresh and succulent and the subtle spice of the ginger vinaigrette lingered like a memorable kiss. The Ahi Tuna Citrus and Avocado also featured ingredients at the peak of freshness and flavor. This delicious duo definitely left us wanting more!

Hamachi Sashimi with Ginger Vinaigrette & Avocado
The Hearts of Palm Salad with Coconut Dressing was refreshing with lots of fabulous texture. It paired remarkably well with an elegant white Burgundy, the '09 Vincent Girardin Puligny-Montrachet 'Vieilles Vignes.' The wine's creaminess was nicely matched with the overall texture and weight of the dish while it's acidity was a nice foil to the richness of the coconut and avocado. This wine also paired very well with our next dish, a vibrant green Spring Pea Soup with Croutons. In the creative presentation, the soup is poured atop a dollop of foam and a smattering of croutons to create a frothy, inviting bowl of deliciousness that highlights the fresh flavors of Spring with a hint of decadence. 

Petrossian Caviar with Fried Egg, Brioche & Crème Fraîche
We really kicked things up a notch with our next dish: Petrossian Caviar with Crispy Fried Egg, Toasted Brioche Cube and Vodka Crème Fraîche. Yes, you read that right! This dish was decadence and comfort food rolled into one and I would be more than happy to have this for breakfast any day of the week! The egg was cooked to perfection and the vibrant yellow yolk created a deliciously oozy sauce that brought all the elements of this spectacular dish together. This one is a definite must try!!!

Next, a duo of fresh fish was complemented beautifully by an '09 Archery Summit Premier Cuvée Pinot Noir. It was very refreshing to have red wine paired with fish, again demonstrating the insightful pairings by our Sommelier. The Snapper with Edamame, Tomatoes and Fresh Thyme was delicious and full of flavor as was the Seared Mahi with Fermented Black Bean Vinaigrette and Bok Choy with Mint. The wine paired especially well with the mahi and it's subtle heat and flavor of fresh mint.

In a departure from seafood, we then sampled the Soy Glazed Short Rib with Apple-
Jalapeño Puree and Rosemary Bread Crumbs. As a longtime fan of the short rib, this one was delectable with the exceptional "no-knife-necessary" texture only 14 hours sous vide can provide. In addition to the succulent texture of the meat, this dish also demonstrated the mastery of flavors that was so well choreographed and executed in all the dishes we sampled. The crisp, fresh flavor of the green apple and the spice of the jalapeño was a nice contrast to the decadent short rib. The '08 Nine Hats Sangiovese from Washington state's Columbia Valley rounded things out very nicely.

Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream
Thankfully, the dedication to food and wine pairing at J&G Grill also extends to the dessert menu! We enjoyed the '08 Alvear Pedro Ximinez Montilla-Moriles de añada with its notes of date, toffee and fig with a delightful Warm Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream. We also had the chance to sample a Tropical Fruit Vacherin with Key Lime Gelee and Shards of Meringue that was a wonderful mixture of sweet and tart.

J&G Grill is a wonderful addition to the South Florida fine dining scene. We were very impressed with every aspect of our experience, from the ambiance to the delicious and innovative food that delivers everything it promises. The extensive wine list and knowledgeable staff also make enhancing your experience with wine a real pleasure. While it is pricey, this is indeed a very special establishment that combines the South Florida experience with culinary excellence wonderfully executed by Chef de Cuisine Richard Gras. Next time you're in the mood for something special, give J&G Grill a try!

J&G Grill is located at the St. Regis Bal Harbour Resort at 9703 Collins Avenue, Bal Harbour, FL 33154. For reservations or more information, please call 305-993-3333 or visit


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