We've read so many mixed reviews about Spice Market when we finally got around to visiting it for ourselves we were intensely curious. I was excited to go to one of Jean-Georges Vongerichten's restaurants and was surprised when we got an 8:00 pm reservation only four days earlier. We had also called and talked to the hostess to tell her it was a special event (friend's birthday) and could they possibly make sure we got a good table.
When we arrived, we were instantly ushered to an amazing table upstairs in the front by a window with a great breeze blowing through. "Score" I thought. Then what to eat? They told us they encourage sharing, so we scanned the menu and tried to pick something from each section.
The first thing to say about this place is that the decor will transport you, mind body and soul, you will be taken off the tacky, trendy meatpacking district streets and find yourself in an airy, transcendental Bombay temple.
I had read that this was supposed to be Jean-George's take on Asian street-vendor food so the I thought the appetizers would be extra special.
We ordered, got our cocktails and selected our wine for dinner (a great Sancerre).
The food in short was adventurous if not slightly uneven. Definitiley empahsizing the spice part of the market. The lobster roll was fresh and tasty with a wonderful mustard dipping sauce. I thought the black pepper shrimp were nice, but my friend didn't like them, they were very spicy and accompanied with sweet dried pineapple. The mushroom egg rolls were not spectacular. My favorite dish was the short rib which came on a bed of noodles in a dark, rich broth. The one dish I actually did not care for at all was the sea bass, which comes drowning in a messy pile of kimchee, it was salty, fishy in an unpleasant way and the kimchee was cloying and bitter.
The desserts were a revalation. We had the strawberry creme brulee, a chocolate-pecan tart with cinnamon sorbet the Ovaltine kulfi! Yes, I said Ovaltine. A rich, fudge-like, creamy slab of heaven.
The service was attentive without being annoying.
One thing that they need to ban is the use of cell phones. This is not an inexpensive restaurant and the ringing and chatting at our neighbor's tables was intrusive.
For me, the ambiance of Spice Market is what stays in my memory, we had a lovely evening. the food as I say was mixed, with stellar desserts. I'll be back.