Jewel Bako

Address: 239 East 5th Street, New York, NY

Phone: 212-979-1012

Jewel Bako, a One Michelin Star sushi restaurant in East Village is (ex) NYC couple Jack and Grace Lamb's first venture into the restaurant business, before they started Degustation Wine and Tasting Bar next door, Jewel Bako Makimono (which has since closed down) and Jack's Oyster Bar. The couple also owns a restaurant near their home in Greenwich Connecticut call Harvest Supper, run by a former chef at Hearth. When Jewel Bako first opened a few years ago, East Village was not a place to go for good sushi. The landscape has improved since, with places such as Kyo Ya, Kajitsu, Ushiwakamaru entering the Japanese food domain. But in terms of the place to go for world class sushi in the East Village, Jewel Bako perhaps still reigns over the rest.

The secret to Jewel Bako's success, aside from good sushi chefs and intense management (I felt the intensity of the lady manager when I went there), is its ability to get fresh fish directly from a purveyor in Japan and serving the fish next day after they are caught. The restaurant is perhaps the only in NYC which serves live Lobster Sashimi? I remember watching one of Andrew Zimmerman's Bizarre foods NYC episodes a few years ago, where he went to the restaurant and tried its signature dish - live lobster sashimi.  We did not order lobster sashimi when we went there (not sure if it's still on the menu), but the sushi ala carte (Uni, Toro, Unagi, Ebi etc) and spicy yellowtail sushi rolls we had were excellent!
Sushi ala carte
Spicy Tuna Yellowtail with scallions and cucumber
Restaurant interior

ABC Kitchen

Address: 35 E 18th Street, New York, NY

Phone: 212-475-5829

Of all the Jean Georges' restaurants in New York City, I probably dislike ABC Kitchen the most. Yes the restaurant has a nice contemporary shabby chic style interior, being that it's co-owned by ABC Carpet and Home next door, but to me, that's all there is. The dishes, which focus on local and organic ingredients were mediocre; they were cooked nicely, not burnt, not overcooked, undercooked or anything like that, but it was really pricey for the lack of inventiveness. For example the grilled lamb chops dish we ordered, which cost about $37 inevitably raised our expectation on the dish but they were short on the delivery. The cherry tomato barbeque sauce was rustic but lack the tanginess I was expecting. It's different than the typical mustard or mint sauce but I couldn't find my lamb in there. All there was was the sauce which was confused about being a pomodoro sauce or barbeque sauce.

Overall, ABC Kitchen is a pretty restaurant, with really pretty people dining there. But if you are looking for good food by Jean Georges, look elsewhere in his empire.

Fluke sashimi with sliced grapes, sea salt and tarrago
 Cauliflower Soup rye croutons and rupert cheese

Grilled lamp chops with cherry tomatoes barbeque sauce - it was ok, but pricey @ $37
Crispy Organic Chicken
ABC Kitchen on Urbanspoon