In the past few months, a lot of local restaurants have postponed openings (indefinitely, for some), but the most high-profile, highly anticipated one is making its debut before the end of this year, as promised. It's J&G Steakhouse, chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten's upscale steakhouse at The Phoenician, scheduled to open on Monday, December 15.
Vongerichten is one of the most accomplished chefs in the world, with a stable of award-winning, Michelin Star-collecting restaurants, including his eponymous Jean Georges (three stars), Vong (one star), JoJo (one star), and Perry St (one star). His star power fills the void at The Phoenician left by Mary Elaine's, long considered the Valley's ritziest fine dining spot until it closed last spring.
Vongerichten already has a steakhouse among his restaurants (Prime Steakhouse, at the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas) but J&G Steakhouse will have a distinct vibe, at least as far as the design goes. The deluxe interior, with custom furniture and floor-to-ceiling views of Phoenix, was created by The Rockwell Group, whose projects have included hit Broadway musicals and the JetBlue Terminal at JFK Airport.
The menu is still being fine-tuned and isn't available just yet, but grilled prime meats and fresh seafood will be emphasized, along with Vongerichten's takes on classic steakhouse fare. Heading up the kitchen will be chef de cuisine Jacques Qualin, who worked at Paris's acclaimed Restaurant Taillevent and Restaurant La Maree earlier in his career, became first sous chef at Vongerichten's Jean Georges a decade ago, and has since been executive chef at New York City's Le Perigord, as well as chef-owner of The French Corner, in upstate New York. -- Michele Laudig