A Cathay Present: Flagship First Dining JFK

Previous, I have shared about my visit to the mind blowing Flagship Lounge in JFK, this time around, I will share on the cream of the crop. Something even more mind blowing in the lounge. In the recent years, AA repackaged their premium products and even come up with Flagship First Dining. A first class dining experience and facility specially designed for their international first class passenger and 3 class transcons first class pax. Thankfully there is an agreement with Cathay for CX First customer to get access to. This is awesome since it is the best part of the Flagship Lounge. I am thankful, since this is the best part of the lounge. While I will not call it a separate lounge for First Class since it is located within the Flagship Lounge. It is a dedicated fine dining facility for first class passengers and Concierge Key members do get a few passes for access every year.

It is located inside the Flagship Lounge itself, towards a corner and near the buffet side of the lounge, you can definitely never miss it with Flagship First Dining plague right outside the classy exterior. It certainly speaks of exclusivity since only such a limited amount of people get access to it! Throughout my time in Flagship First Dining, it never gets full and at most there are 4 to 5 people there. The host was located inside the entrance and she was super nice and polite. She might also just took up a role of a part time photographer after I arrived!

Immediately after entering you will get to see the bar as well the host desk. Here your admittance will be verified. I managed to get some pictures taken while it is still quiet since besides me, there is only one other passenger in the whole room. There is about 3 staff working the area, which is good enough given the maximum amount of people that could be here at the same time. It is super private and they played some faint music in the background, which was awesome. Here are some pictures of the place.

I was ask if I prefer to seat by the cubicle or by the windows facing the apron and planes. I opt for one of the cubicle right at the end of the lounge since I could do some observing while maximising the amount of privacy I would have. Most of the seats here cater for 2-4 pax, but it is definitely customizable. I love that the cubicles have power outlets and even a usb charger. Although it is just a dining facility, it is designed such that you could stay and lounge in here. It is a dedicated space for First Class Passenger and you could be away from the buzz.

Here are the menu on offer while I was there. Upon a little chat with the host, it does seems that the menu changes every 2 to 3 months. The host also recommend to make smaller portion of the food If you would like to try more options which is a plus point.

While the Flagship Lounge do not have the manned bar, they do have one since the Flagship First Dining area and it is gorgeous. Although I don’t see anyone sitting here.

The place is known for their cocktails and I started with one of their recommendation. The Gin Basil Lemonade. It was certainly refreshing, but packs a punch as well. They certainly don’t go easy on the alcohol. What is also impressive is that they also serve Krug Champagne, which is awesome! While tempting, I stayed away in lieu of the amount I am going to drink onboard and to try something else.

The food came in around 20 mins, which was served in order, kudos to them since Cathay The Pier can’t do it right at all. It really feels like a fine dining experience and I appreciate this! Come on Cathay!

I got 2 Starters and the first was the Basil Pesto Cauliflower Steak which was really good and surprisingly satisfying and “Meaty”. It was my first time having something like this. It came with Crispy Chickpeas and the Garlic Tahini Dressings is so tasty. I love that the cauliflower had a crunch and it was flavourful and charred. Then the dressing adds a little of saltiness to it. The dish came with a side salad as well.

Then next, I also got the Crab Stuffed Shrimp. It is actually some grilled shrimp with mini crab cakes. It came with 2 huge shrimp as well as 2 tiny crab cakes and salad as well. OMG it is so good! I have to say that it is the best dish I had in the lounge and the whole of my trip. I love the crab cakes so much, they were too tiny and I almost wanted to go for seconds. It was came with amazing sauce that is creamy and tangy. Only complaints is I wish that the were more crab cakes.

For my main I had the Signature Flagship Burger it came with steak fries that is so good and tasty. I wanted to do a straight comparison to the Cathay one. Obviously, no one does a burger better than the Americans. The burger is so huge and the bread is crispy. The burger had both raw onions and caramelized onions, bacon, aged cheddar and tomatoes. It was so satisfying. I had the burger with a glass of Napa Red. Delicious!

Going all out, I had the Herbed Salmon Paillard which was served with a beetroot puree.  It is really special and I enjoyed the beetroot puree, which gave me some surprises since I am not usually a beetroot person. I also have to complement the fish itself. It was a generous portion and the salmon had a good crust and yet a moist flaky interior. Something that cathay totally screw up, if you have been following this trip series. It might be a little too over seasoned too. But definitely important that it is not overcooked!

The Dessert menu is separated, sadly I am too full to give it a try and I was also running out of time!

Overall, I am super impressed with Flagship First Dining. Everything was well executed and polished, from the first interaction to all of the dishes I tried. It really makes me feel exclusive and First Class. The place is also very private. 3 hours went by just like that in the lounge and I wish that I had more time to enjoy it. Doing a straight comparison, The Pier from Cathay is crap and Flagship First Dining might also give my favourite The Private Room a run for its money. You definitely have to come early to the airport just for this. I love that even though the area is designed like a restaurant, to be a dining facility. You can rest, have a drink, have a bite and also work inside also. It is never too busy and always perfect. American Airlines have finally done something right!

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