Chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten is ready to reopen his very first solo restaurant JoJo with a facelift, some 26 years after it first debuted.
The restaurant, which opened in 1991 on the Upper East Side, was the first that Vongerichten opened on his own. Over the years, his style has gotten cleaner, with an emphasis on organic, local, and plant-based ingredients, but the brownstone’s boudoir décor of carpeting, heavy curtains, and purple velvet accents had more recently been deemed “antique”-feeling.
Last October, JoJo closed for a total renovation, and today, the restaurant at 160 East 64th Street, between Lexington and Third avenues, reopens with a new room that is almost unrecognizable.
Drapery and fabrics have vanished, original wood floors stand in place of dated carpets, and brick walls have been exposed and washed white. The mood is definitely more casual that it previously was: Seating is almost all booths, and the staff bounds around in jeans and sneakers.
At press time, the menu was still a bit in flux, but offerings include three grain and mushroom salad with roasted delicata squash and lemon vinaigrette; broccoli and kale salad with a 6-minute egg, croutons, and mustard vinaigrette; Peekytoe crab dumplings in citrus-celeriac infusion with ginger; Maine lobster roasted in the shell with herb butter, fries and lemon; and roasted duck breast with hibiscus and honey glazed pumpkin, wild rice and turnips.
But for longtime fans of JoJo, some classic dishes such as slow-baked salmon with truffle mashed potatoes, brussels sprouts, and truffle vinaigrette will remain on the menu, as will a warm chocolate cake.
JoJo will be open from 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday hours and brunch will be added eventually. Stay tuned for a look at the full menu and photos later this week.