After seventeen years, Jean-Georges Vongerichten will close Vong on Saturday, Eater reports. Early on, New York critic Hal Rubenstein praised the Thai-French pioneer, writing that “no musical fantasy could convince you that dining can be something more wonderful than this.” But in 2006, Frank Bruni stripped Vong of two stars, saying that it wasn’t as appealing now that its formula is so familiar. “That foie gras and that soup lack a sense of surprise that, it turns out, were integral to the intensity of their appeal,” Bruni wrote. “Like the majority of the dishes at Vong, they’re entirely pleasant but not remotely compelling.” Vongerichten’s people tell Eater: “Our lease was up and we decided not to renew. We are currently looking at other venues in which to reopen Vong in the near future.” A change of venue wouldn’t be a bad idea — the old room did feel a bit stale and empty at times, and it’s easy to imagine Vongerichten finding cheerier digs for the $26 prix fixe lunch and the $38 dinners, which were fine-dining steals.
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