Nougatine is the casual front room at Jean-Georges, the analogue of such companion places as the Bar & Lounge at Daniel, the Lounge at Le Bernardin, the Bar Room at The Modern, or the Salon at Per Se.
These companion rooms vary widely: some are separately reservable, others are not. Some are far more casual than the multi-star restaurants they’re attached to; others don’t vary much at all. Some serve a completely different menu; others serve an à la carte version of the main dining room menu.
Nougatine is separately reservable, has a completely different menu, and is much more casual than its four-star companion. Of course, the word casual must be taken in perspective, on a menu where a $19 cheesburger shares the stage with $72 Dover sole. Most of the entrées, though, are in the $24–38 range that defines New York’s “upper middle,” while appetizers range from $12–23.
The space, originally a lounge for the adjoing Trump International Hotel, was long an afterthought, seldom professionally reviewed. Nougatine received its first New York Times review in late 2012 (Pete Wells, two stars), a mere fifteen years after the flagship next door received four stars from Ruth Reichl right out of the gate.