Nougatine, on the ground floor of the Trump Hotel in Columbus Circle, is in the center of the world, for it is from this point that all distance from New York is measured, which explains the giant globe sculpture adorning the building. This is the more casual companion to the adjoining Jean-Georges signature restaurant. It is elegant and sleek with an open kitchen at the back, floor-to-ceiling views of the city, and extraordinary service. It's a New York state of mind for early diners heading out to Lincoln Center.
Jean Georges, who has many Michelin stars and other accolades, is a master at creating new and tantalizing taste experiences with global ingredients. A Scallop Sashimi appetizer layered on crispy rice cakes gets a delicious boost from chipotle mayonnaise. The disk of Tuna Tartare on a bed of mashed avocado with spicy radish and ginger marinade is justifiably famous. An entrée of Black Sea Bass in a shallow pool of silky carrot purée is sprinkled with chanterelles and dressed with corn vinaigrette. A Lobster Burger is teased with yuzu pickles. Tender and sweet grilled Berkshire Pork in a cherry hot sauce has a lingering heat. (The seasonal fruit for the sauce may change, but the heat will linger.)
A three-course prix-fixe menu is available for $38 from 5:30 to 6pm Sunday through Friday and again after 10pm. A $78 tasting menu is also available. Lunch Monday to Saturday, noon to 3pm; dinner Monday to Friday 5:30 to 11pm; Saturday 5:15 to 11pm; Sunday 5:30 to 10:30pm. Brunch Sunday. -- Marian Betancourt