20 January 2012

the john dory oyster bar

 Located right off the lobby of the Ace Hotel on the corner of Broadway and 29th, April Bloomfield's John Dory Oyster Bar is encased in glass, decorated with blue, glittering fish tanks, seashell lighting and a perpetually crowded bar that wraps around the perimeter of the restaurant. It's a noisy but appealing space, perfect for late-afternoon drinks or late-night dining.

The tapas-style menu is limited and expensive, best for a snack to go with one of the restaurant's fifteen signature drinks than for a complete meal. That said, I went for dinner a few nights ago and left happier and more satisfied - if slightly poorer - than I'd expected. I tasted the scallop crudo, the roasted beets and chestnuts, the brussel sprouts with pancetta, scharfe maxx (a delicious, creamy cheese) and mushrooms, the kedgeree (a little like fried rice, with smoked and flaked fish, ribbons of egg, and a touch of curry - see picture to right), and a daily special - sauteed kale with caramelized onions. Each was better than the last, with bold flavors and a warm, surprising heartiness that more than made up for the small size. As a side note, the parker house rolls (an extra $4.50) are easily the best rolls I've ever had - fluffy and buttery and piping hot, perfect to mop up every last penny's worth of sauce.

They don't take reservations, but I think it's worth the wait.

1196 Broadway (at 29th)

  baby scallop crudo
  roasted beets
  brussel sprouts

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