JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant – A Second Look

by artfuldiner on September 18, 2021

in Breaking News, Opinion, Pennsylvania, Review, Wining and Dining

JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant

1 North 19th Street

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

(215) 419-5059

https://www.jean-georgesphiladelphia.com/jean-georges-sky-high/

JG Sky High Lounge - ViewTo the disappointment of the culinary cognoscenti, Jean-Georges Philadelphia – located on the penultimate 59th floor of the Four Seasons Hotel in the Comcast Technology Center – remains closed due to the pandemic. Rumor has it, however, that the restaurant will reopen sometime in October, serving a dinner tasting menu only.

In the meantime, situated one floor above, adjacent to the hotel’s reception area, its more casual sibling, JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant, continues to run at full throttle. Especially in the evening, the bar attracts a younger, boisterous crowd of tipplers, while the all-day menu caters to a contrastive coalescence of local city dwellers, hotel guests, curious tourists, and assorted gourmet gadflies in search of the latest gastronomic thrill ride… All fetchingly garbed, I might add, in everything from designer sartorial finery to gimme caps, shorts, and sneakers.

JG Sky High - Bacon CheeseburgerThe menu, as you would undoubtedly surmise since the restaurant is located within hotel precincts, runs the gamut – from Caviar to Pizza; Sushi to Guacamole; Rigatoni with Meatballs to Vegetarian Moroccan Tagine; Roasted Salmon to Pepper Crusted Prime Beef Tenderloin. There’s a little of something for everyone – including a fabulously delicious Cheddar Bacon Cheeseburger with creamy Russian dressing, yuzu pickles, and extraordinarily crispy French fries (pictured).

There are a number of ways to get things started here. You could, of course, should your wallet be feeling particularly flush, take the Caviar route… one ounce Osetra with warm blinis & chive crème fraiche ($120.00)… or, somewhat less expensive, companioned by egg toast with herbs ($48.00).

JG Sky High - GuacamoleOn the other hand, infinitely more interesting – as well as more moderately priced – my permanent dining partner and I highly recommend the Warm Asparagus, an appetizer we have thoroughly enjoyed on several occasions. Garnished with summer mushrooms and sprinkling of herbs, the perfectly prepared spears arrive at table swimming in an irresistible palate-pleasing vegetable vinaigrette. The Wagyu Cheese Steak Spring Roll also has a great deal to recommend it… as does the Burrata. On one occasion, adorned with a tangy Meyer lemon jam; on another, strawberry compote and basil. Most recently, however, the Guacamole accompanied by Sungold tomato salsa and warm crunchy tortillas (pictured) proved to be a light and eminently sharable prelude to our meal. The guacamole was appropriately chunky of countenance, turning rich and creamy on the palate, with the salsa adding a nice touch of heat to the proceedings.

Perhaps at this juncture I should mention that in less than one week’s time my permanent dining partner and I had managed to pay two separate visits to JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant: Friday evening dinner with another couple; and luncheon the following Friday in the company of my dining partner’s daughter. Which, due to the brevity of the menu and the fact that we had been to the restaurant on several previous occasions, made for some interesting choices entrée-wise.

JG Sky High - Zucca PastaFor luncheon, I couldn’t quite bring myself to indulge in the Rigatoni with Meatballs – which sounded more than just a little on the heavy side and, because of my somewhat delicate constitution, the unwelcome invitation to peristatic perplexity – but decided instead on the Zucca Pasta (pictured). Zucca, which means “pumpkin” in Italian, are shaped like tiny ribbed cups; and, in this instance, are bathed in a light tomato sauce awash with bits of smoked bacon, slices of jalapeño, and peppery arugula. A very, very nice presentation… and beautifully seasoned.

JG Sky High - Roasted SalmonFor dinner, the Roasted Salmon (pictured) also turned out to be a fortuitous choice. I rarely order salmon in a restaurant, as this is a fish I generally prepare at home – with what seems nauseating regularity – so I much prefer to sample some other representative of piscatorial pleasure when I’m out and about. However, this particular incarnation turned out to be even more intriguing – and delicious – than its bare bones description would have led me to believe. It swims to table encrusted in an ethereal amalgam of herbs and seasonings, companioned by a corn/scallion succotash, and gently caressed by an exquisitely flavorful lime-corn broth.

Jean-Georges - Parm Crusted ChickenEven though I’ve made mention of the Parmesan Crusted Organic Chicken (pictured) in my previous review of both Jean-Georges Philadelphia and JG Sky High, it is certainly worth pointing out once again. Because, as I previously discussed, among the items appearing on both restaurant menus, it strikes me as the most notable… And, trust me, it is that good. So good, in fact, that during our recent dinner/lunch caper, my dining partner ordered it for both meals.

Yes, I know, chicken doesn’t sound terribly exciting… but this dish has absolutely everything going for it. The exquisitely seasoned parmesan crust provides a perfect textural counterpoint to the tender, succulent fowl, while artichokes and a downright addictive lemon-basil sauce are positively superb in their supporting roles.

JG Sky High - Artichoke TagineThe Artichoke Tagine (pictured) also deserves mention. This is the current vegetarian entry on the menu, and it is quite good, indeed. A tagine or tajine is a Berber dish, named after the earthenware pot in which it is cooked. It is also called maraq or marqa. Algerian and Moroccan tagine dishes are slow-cooked savory stews, typically made with sliced meat, poultry or fish, but also with vegetables and/or fruit. Spices, nuts, and dried fruits are also utilized. In this instance, the artichokes are companioned by kumquats and Persian cucumbers.

The tagine pictured may not look like much, but it is alive with flavors. The kumquat’s contribution is decidedly citrusy, while the diminutive Persian cukes add a mild, sweet flavor. Common spices include ginger, cumin, turmeric, cinnamon, and saffron. Paprika and chili are used in vegetable tagines. This particular rendition is served with a side of mint couscous, which add immensely to the enjoyment.

JG Sky High - Warm Cherry Pie The down-home desserts – with items like Warm Cherry Pie garnished almond milk sorbet (pictured) and Chocolate Layer Cake tempting your sweet tooth – continue to be a high point and, most assuredly, worth saving room for. However, my dining partner, who is something of a dessert maven, maintains that the fabulous sundaes are the real sleepers here… And who am I to argue? She certainly was right about the Salted Caramel Sundae, which we sampled on a previous visit. The combo of creamy salted caramel ice cream, candied peanuts & popcorn, hot fudge, and whipped cream proved to be utterly irresistible.

JG Sky High - Strawberry SundaeAnd the Strawberry Sundae (pictured), currently gracing the menu, is every bit its predecessor’s equal. Constructed on a foundation of strawberry ice cream & strawberry sorbet and adorned with miniature meringues and all the usual trimmings, it is definitely a winner on all counts. But for a special treat, do what we did… order the sundae to share and also the Cookie Plate – chocolate chip, shortbread, almond, and fudge – to go with it. An incredible combo!

As I mentioned in my initial review, in addition to the excellent cuisine, the restaurant also features an intriguing collection of cocktails and a select list of wines by the glass. A few favorites include 2020 Boschkoof Sauvignon Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa; 2018 Produttori di Gavi “Il Forte” Cortese, Piemonte, Italy; and 2013 Dumol “Wester Reach” Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, California.

 While Jean-Georges Philadelphia remains closed, the JG Sky High Lounge & Restaurant offers diners a tasteful and “tasty” alternative… and the perfect perch from which to enjoy the spectacular view.

 Bon Appétit!

Be Safe & Stay Well

TAD

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