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Bank Jean-Georges

By March 2004Comments

I love the scene at Bank Jean-Georges. On my visit, the downtown Houston restaurant hadn’t been open a week and already it was filled with Prada-toting air kissers, dignified couples of a certain age, and the occasional table of passionate eaters like myself who had seized the opportunity to taste the Asian-inflected French fare of über-chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten without springing for a trip to New York, Las Vegas, London, or Hong Kong. Under the direction of chef de cuisine Bryan Caswell, Bank’s kitchen is hot. Foie gras brûlée—a savory appetizer version of the famous dessert, with goose liver blended into a rich custard base—was a little bit of heaven. So was a seductive coconut milk, shiitake, and chicken soup spiked with lemongrass and galanga, an exotic root with a ginger-peppery kick. A tender veal chop came bathed in a Madeira jus with a garnish of bracing kumquat chutney. The dining room—a dramatic makeover of the lobby of the 1911 Union National Bank—is lively but blessedly quiet. Even better, entrée prices range between $19 and $35, so you don’t have to take out a loan to dine here.

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