It’s (Almost) Always a Good Time for Restaurant Week (J&G Steakhouse) – closed

I was in NYC with a group of friends, and one of them casually announced that she had received an email about DC Restaurant Week (RW).  New York’s RW happened to coincide with our visit, and we had just returned from a satisfying RW lunch at Molyvos.
I let out a squeal, startling those around me, and my heart started pounding. I had been checking websites anxiously for the official announcement of DC Restaurant Week.  And here the news had arrived at a most inopportune time.
So here I am walking down a crowded street in Manhattan, Droid in hand, frantically searching through the list of participating restaurants.
And there it was.  J&G Steakhouse.  J&G is for acclaimed New York chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten.  It is #4 on Washingtonian’s 100 Very Best Restaurants list.  Tom Sietsema gave it 2 ½ stars.  Zagat rated it a 25 out of 30.
My friends had given it mixed reviews, so I didn’t really want to go there and spend top dollar.  But RW was a perfect time to try it out.
The dilemma presented itself immediately.  The only time slot open on the night I was available was at 9:45 pm.  Did I really want to go to dinner at 9:45, even on a Saturday night?  I went for it, confident that I could get an earlier reservation as time went on.
Flash forward to this past Saturday night.  No luck on getting an earlier reservation, but we arrived at 8:45 in the hope that someone would vacate a table early.

W Hotel Bar

J&G is in the relatively new W Hotel downtown.  The line for the Rooftop Bar was just forming in the lobby and it was thoroughly entertaining the watch the tourists intermingled with 20-something women with their astonishing display of cleavage. We could have done without the extraordinarily loud pulsing music, perhaps appropriate for a fashion show runway but not for a conversation over cocktails.  Nevertheless, we ordered drinks at the bar and waited somewhat impatiently for our table.  We were finally seated at 9:55.
Thus began the dinner I had anxiously awaited.  Bread was brought to the table.  I found it unremarkable, which tends to start me off on the wrong foot in any restaurant.  I ordered the watermelon and goat cheese with cracked white pepper and olive oil as my first course.  Something about it was missing.  It felt like a few component thrown together that didn’t really come together as a dish.  My husband had the sweet pea soup, which he liked very much and my friend had the salad with crispy bacon, to which he gave a thumbs-up.
Three of us ordered the seared halibut with scallion-chili sauce, basil and celery.  All three of us found it too salty, as did a Chowhound poster who was there the same night It had potential to be great, it just missed the mark with too much salt. I will say that a Chowhounder who was at J&G earlier in the evening found the halibut to be seasoned perfectly.  The petite filet got another thumbs-up.  I had warm chocolate cake with vanilla bean ice cream for dessert.  The cake was quite good, but I found the ice cream to be too gritty.
Overall, I wasn’t unhappy with the meal, mostly because it was a great value for $35 per person.  The food was decent but would I have rated it #4 in DC?  Absolutely not.
The restaurant week menu items seem to be available year-round as a prix-fix pre-theater dining option.  If you haven’t been to J&G, I would say give it a shot.  Maybe you’ll get the halibut that’s not too salty.
I wish I had been able to try more restaurants for RW, but it didn’t work out this time.
I know that when next year’s Restaurant Week rolls around, my heart will start racing as I hurry to snag reservations at a couple of choice spots.  Can’t wait!

P.S. My conclusion about dining at 9:45.  It is seriously too late for people who are over 50. Unless you’re in a country where the restaurants don’t open for dinner until that hour, and in that case you can take a siesta!

J&G Steakhouse, Pennsylvania Ave. at 15th Street NW
J&G Steakhouse website
My rating (on a 1-5 scale):   3.5

Tom Sietsema review

J&G Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

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