He might be a world-renowned chef, but even Jean-Georges Vongerichten makes mistakes.
Famed for opening up Michelin-starred restaurants around the globe, such as Jean-Georges at The Connaught and The Mercer Kitchen, the French chef and author’s latest endeavour, Public Kitchen, has been slated by critics.
Awarded zero stars by restaurant review site Eater, the expensive eatery has been dubbed New York City’s “worst new restaurant”.
Situated inside the trendy Public hotel in the Lower East Side, Public Kitchen serves up a globally-inspired menu that combines smoked meats with Asian street food-inspired snacks, such as frico – a fried cheese dish that critic Ryan Sutton likens to “stale popcorn”.
“Biting into the dish doesn’t so much evoke opening a gift as it does finding coal in one’s stocking,” he notes.
Like many New York restaurants with famous chefs behind them, getting a reservation at Public Kitchen is no easy feat, with Sutton claiming it took three weeks just to get a 10pm dining slot.
Plus, the dishes don’t come cheap, with a meagre portion of fried squid rings reportedly costing $14 (£10) while a round of four margarita cocktails comes in at $83 (£62).
As Sutton notes in his scathing review, even accessing the restaurant poses its challenges.
Guests must walk through a fake leaf-laden courtyard and a series of escalators in order to meet with an unfriendly host who won’t even make eye contact with you, he claims.
According to its website, Public Kitchen champions the “best of ‘New York’ food, ‘World Food’ really, and all of the cultures that make up the eclectic mix and melting pot that is New York City.”
In reality, however, Sutton describes the dishes as “saccharine”, comparing the $22 (£16) shrimp toast to “loosely bound crustaceans” and describing the butternut squash potstickers as “insipid blobs of sweetness.”
Other dishes on offer include black truffle pizza, soy-garlic steak and lobster with chile butter, all of which fail to live up to expectations, Sutton laments.
Though Vongerichten is one of the world’s most famous chefs, Sutton insists that he has failed big time with the highly-anticipated Public Kitchen.
“The abject awfulness of Public serves as a cynical lesson for chefs who are transitioning from being brash, we-might-fail-any-day envelope-pushers to conservative middle agers,” he concludes.
Race you there?
The Independent has contacted Public Kitchen for comment.