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Dovetail

floretbroccoli Feb 7, 2008 10:35 AM

Who has been there? Shall I go for the tasting menu? (It's my birthday.)

Thanks.

  1. jolivore Apr 15, 2008 04:50 PM

    Meh. We gave it a good shot, with 4 courses, two before the entrées. But we had not-remarkable food, and clinical service. (Everyone's wet behind the ears, a little disorganized, no one looks you in the eye.) I had the most creamy sweetbreads I've ever had, tasty, too, but I had sweetbreads as good at August the week before, and they didn't feel like mashed potatoes to my mouth. Then we had nicely glazed Duck breast, a cod filet that somehow didn't rise above the one dimensionality of cod, Desserts were too sweet. (I was out at Luxembourg later on that week: buckets of life and decent food; in contrast, it beats me why a place like this with no character and high class corporate food is an essential eatery.

    1. floretbroccoli Feb 19, 2008 06:21 PM

      Three stars from Frank Bruni! Wow!

      1 Reply
      1. re: floretbroccoli
        j
        jcooper Feb 20, 2008 03:07 PM

        My wife and I had dinner there on Valentine's Day. Chowder/Brussel Sprout salad to start, Duck/Lamb for mains. I can't remember the desert we shared, but it was one of those weird combinations of flavors which sounded good but are regrettable when you actually ate it. We brought our own wine ($25 corkage) and they couldn't have been more gracious (decanted it, etc.). The food was good, service fine. I found the amuses (there were 2 or 3) pretty tasteless and all the same slimy texture. The corn bread is nice to eat, but I was surprised when that was all they had. My gut feel is they are trying too hard and Dovetail will go the way of Aix. The UWS supports neighborhood places better than it does destination restaurants. If I can't see going there more than once a year or so, I wonder how it will survive. I hope it does thrive, but even for a special dinner it won't be my first choice.

      2. j
        JMJD Feb 17, 2008 06:54 PM

        Will add a quick description of our meal last night (Sat)...I'm surprised no one commented on the room -- I found it a little strange, like 90's rec room with a few more current accessories. Service was both good and bad -- it was attentive at the beginning of the meal (to the point where we felt things were too rushed/fast), and then the waiter disappeared when we really wanted to get the check and go home.

        Shared the brussel sprouts and chowder to start -- loved the croissant with the chowder though I couldn't taste the black pepper. The chowder was great with just the right amount of saltiness and a nice kick from the chorizo. The brussel sprouts salad was not that interesting but enjoyable. We also had the cod (which the menu said included crab but we didn't really see/taste much of that in the dish) and the scallops. The scallops were cooked perfectly and very sweet, though there may have been too many sweet elements to the dish (a sweet parsley root puree, a semi-sweet hollandaise, grapefruit that was sweet though tart....) Finished with the chocolate hazelnut strudel -- very rich but good.

        1. j
          jasmurph Feb 10, 2008 06:41 PM

          We went tonight for the Sunday Supper, which is a solid deal at $38 for two courses plus dessert. Overall, it was very good, but there are a few problems.

          I had the clam chowder as my first. It was delicious, and the addition of the chorizo really makes the dish. It contributes a nice zippy stimulant for the palate, just as it's surrendering to the creamy goodness of the chowder. My wife had the brussels sprouts, which we both thought was a fine salad, but not all that exciting.

          I had the lamb shank as my main. It was intensely lamby and came with a selection of perfectly cooked veg and a deeply flavorful sauce. It was the best dish of the night. My wife had the duck, which had a great combo of flavors, but the poached egg was a little undercooked.

          Both entrees suffered however due to the restaurant's plainly weird decision to offer cornbread rather than proper bread. I like cornbread as much as the next guy, and would actually argue that there are wines it can be paired with. An off-dry RIesling matches its sweetness well. The problem is that bread was invented, as far as I'm concerned, for sopping, and you can't sop up stock reductions with cornbread. I hope they change the bread.

          It was at this moment that the meal hit some bumps. Our server, who had been attentive throughout the meal thus far, seemed suddenly to forget about us. Dessert menus took ages, the desserts took a while, the wine I ordered with it took longer, and we were never offered coffee. We asked for it as we were being given our (strange) parting gift, hot cocoa powder. The desserts were ok and the coffee was not hot enough. i should say that I almost never get excited by dessert, and I was too ready to leave by then to bother complaining about the temperature of the coffee.

          I think if they fix the bread, tighten up the service, and put a tablecloth on the table, this will be a really strong restaurant, especially on Sundays.

          4 Replies
          1. re: jasmurph
            Little Cupcake Feb 12, 2008 04:38 PM

            I went there last Saturday.

            Service: the Maitre'D & the bartender w/the glasses went above & beyond the call of duty; the waiter was just ok.

            I really liked the pork belly appetizer. I liked the flavors in the pistachio crusted duck, but the duck itself was dry. I would have rather traded that for the beef lasagne (though I think they should change the name b/c it doesn't really resemble lasagna). My SO had the brioche bread pudding. The only thing I could taste in there was bacon. I like bacon as much as the next person, but it really overpowered the dish, IMHO. I forget what my dessert was called. it was some sort of pastry w/an almond cream (had a nice marzipan type flavor). I loved it.

            I have a friend who lives very close to the restaurant. She has been there 3 times and loves it. It was a pleasant dining experience, but I don't think it is worth traveling out of your way for. My SO complained that for the money he spent, there are better restaurants out there.

            1. re: Little Cupcake
              r
              rrems Feb 12, 2008 05:20 PM

              The duck I had was perfect, not dry at all. I am curious as to whether you ordered it medium-rare, as they normally prepare it. When duck breast is cooked to medium or beyond, it is likely to be somewhat dry and to lose some flavor. Could this be the case? Also, since I think Dovetail is about the best restaurant in its price range, I hope you will cite the restaurants that are better for the money. I'd love to try them.

              1. re: rrems
                c
                CobblerNYC Feb 21, 2008 08:39 AM

                I agree with much of what LC said. Went last night and found the scallop dish (and most other dishes) overloaded with flavors that don't necessarily complement each other well. Most dishes were cooked well, but I think would work better if he just pulled back one or two ingredients on each one. In that neighborhood, I've recently had better meals at Bar Boulud, Picholine and Fraser's former stomping ground compass.

                -----
                Bar Boulud
                1900 Broadway, New York, NY 10023

                1. re: CobblerNYC
                  r
                  rrems Feb 21, 2008 01:04 PM

                  Cobbler,

                  I think it's a matter of whether you like this type of cooking or not. I love Picholine, like Compass very much even since Fraser left, and have not been to Bar Boulud. John Fraser has always done dishes with many varied flavors on one plate. Either you like that style or you don't. I'm one of those who love it, and in this case I think the flavors do complement each other very well. I don't think there's a right and wrong here, just a difference in taste. :-)

          2. d
            David W Feb 9, 2008 07:28 AM

            I’m not as enthusiastic as others about this place. We had a reservation at 7:30 on a Saturday night, and were seated fairly quickly. We waited for menus, waited for someone to take our drink order, waited for someone to take our food order. By the time we received the cornbread, 45 minutes had passed. When I asked about our order, and told the waitress we did have a time constraint (we were going to a 10:30 show at the Allen Room) she did speed things up…but we didn’t have our first course until an hour after we arrived.
            The room seems crowded-it seemed every few seconds someone was rushing by us, and the noise level was very high.
            The wine list was a little limited, especially at the low end.
            The cornbread was good (and warm) but it’s a bad match with wine (they just don’t mix.)
            I thought the Brussels sprout leave/ham/pear salad a bit dull, and wasn’t that thrilled with the gnocchi and short ribs (I much preferred the same dish at Market Table a few days later.)
            The venison was nicely prepared and seasoned, but I didn’t like the side dish, which reminded me of those sweet potato pies with marshmallows-it was odd, and took away from the dish. The duck was ok, nothing more.
            Once again, to be fair to them-they comped us a dessert and dessert wine, so they clearly are paying attention-but I didn’t do much more than taste it since I’ve been trying to cut back a bit (it was a kind of cheesecake-y ball thingy).
            I wouldn’t rule out trying it again-maybe earlier in the evening during the week, when I have no where else to go. But I’m not rushing back, and I really don’t see it as the savior of the UWS.

            7 Replies
            1. re: David W
              i
              idia Feb 9, 2008 07:46 AM

              Thanks for you honest report, David. From reading many of your posts, I seem to have similar tastes to you and I found the menu, while intersting, to be a bit too "ambitious" for my simple tastes so this one will have to be a pass.
              Looks like all the most famous, most pricey and best restaurants will have to be a pass by me. They definitely cater to much more sophisticated palates than mine.
              I do wish him luck however because the UWS can use all the help it can get.

              1. re: idia
                d
                David W Feb 10, 2008 01:26 PM

                Ah, don't be so modest-I'm quite sure you have a plenty sophisticated palate...but that, to me is not the problem here.
                I felt the blending of flavors was just muddled-and not to my taste.
                I used to listen to a show on NPR where listeners could call and say what was in their refrigerator and then the panel would try to come up with a dish from the ingredients--that's what some of the menu seemed like to me...
                Once again-this seems like a real effort at good food-just not for me.

              2. re: David W
                r
                rrems Feb 9, 2008 08:32 AM

                David,

                I think if you try it on a weeknight, you will find it more pleasant. As I noted above, it was noisier on Friday (and more crowded), and I can only imagine Saturday being worse, as in any popular spot. I agree completely about the cornbread. Very tasty but inappropriate with wine, and you can't use it to sop up a bit of sauce.

                1. re: rrems
                  t
                  trishottawa Feb 9, 2008 09:13 AM

                  According to Menu pages Dovetail serves lunch. Is there a seperate lunch menu?

                  1. re: trishottawa
                    r
                    rrems Feb 9, 2008 11:56 AM

                    I looked at menupages and it appears that there is no separate lunch menu. They serve continuously from 11:30 am Friday to Sunday. Other days it is dinner only.

                    1. re: rrems
                      r
                      RGR Feb 10, 2008 09:15 AM

                      Menupages is great and I use it regularly. However, the info there is not always entirely accurate/up-to-date.

                      Dovetail has a website, but it's currently useless since there's only a homepage. It really irks me that so often new restaurants can't get their websites up and running when they open. It's not as though they don't know what's going to be on the menu. The least they could do is provide their hours of operation.

                      Who knows how long it will be? But for future reference: http://www.dovetailnyc.com

                      1. re: RGR
                        r
                        rrems Feb 10, 2008 11:51 AM

                        You are right, RGR. I should have asked when I was there what the problem is with their website. I would only rely on menupages for a general idea of the type of dishes and prices to expect. I also noticed that the hours listed on menupages are different from those on opentable, and opentable lists brunch on weekends, so I would call the restaurant to confirm what menu is being served at any given time.

              3. r
                rrems Feb 8, 2008 07:59 PM

                Reporting on tonitght's dinner. Once again it was superb. The only dish that was less than perfect was the pork belly. Great combination of flavors, but the belly itself was slightly lacking in flavor. Sweetbreads were amazing, as were the main courses, the monkfish with lobster and foie gras, and the striped bass. I had the bread pudding and my partner had the chocolate hazelnut strudel, both divine, and we each had a glass of sherry as a dessert wine, 2 different pedro jimenes sherries, which are wonderfully complex and sweet enough to hold up against the desserts. Service was great, noise level higher than last time, but not so bad that you can't have a conversation.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rrems
                  JoanN Feb 9, 2008 02:41 AM

                  Very interesting. Hard to believe you had the same pork belly I did. Could it have been that different? I had difficulty choosing among the sweetbreads, lamb's tongue, and pork belly. Next time I guess I'll just have difficulty choosing between the first two.

                2. JoanN Feb 7, 2008 01:39 PM

                  Five of us had dinner there last night. The service was a bit lacking in the beginning (it took longer than it should have to get the menus and then the waiter got lost for while), but picked up toward the end. We thought it a bit odd that there were no tablecloths (although the polished wooden tables are handsome) and wondered if all the wood added to the noise in the room. On the other hand, it may just have been the six people at the table for eight next to us who got louder and louder as they progressed through the tasting menu with accompanying wines, obvious enjoying it all immensely.

                  We didn't have the tasting menu; ordered a la carte. We thought one amuse was brilliant and one just okay. I had the pork belly appetizer and will be dreaming of it for a while; simply outstanding. One of us had the Brussels sprout salad and wasn’t as taken with it as another poster. Two had the clam chowder and thought it very good, but didn’t rave. For a main I had the striped bass; a bit muddy in the plating, but certainly not in the flavors. The sea scallops were a better choice. Someone had the pistachio crusted duck breast and liked it a great deal (they must have improved it since the “old shoe” comment in the NYMagazine review). Another had the gnocchi appetizer as a main; she liked it, but noted that it wasn’t as good as the gnocchi at Lupa. Five of us ordered three desserts, but after tasting mine I didn’t even want to try anyone else’s. It was a brioche bread pudding with caramelized bananas and bacon-infused maple syrup. To – die – for.

                  All five of us were pleased and thought the prices very fair for the quality of the food (although the Frenchman in our party did comment that he thought the wine markup quite high for those with which he was familiar), but we didn’t consider it “perfection” as some other posters have.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: JoanN
                    r
                    rrems Feb 7, 2008 05:42 PM

                    Joan,

                    I really enjoyed reading your post. Though I may have been more impressed than you were, I agree with you for the most part. I think I have a certain skill for picking the best choices on any given menu. Though I liked my partner's chowder, it was not nearly as good as the lamb tongue I had. The duck was spectacular, as was (to my great surprise) the bread pudding. I did not try the gnocchi, but if it was even close to Lupa's, that's not bad. We had no lapses in service, but that may not always be the case. As far as noise is concerned, we found it to be quiet generally, but there was one table nearby that got noticeably loud. They left when we were halfway through, so it did not bother me much. The wine prices are high but they do have several very good choices in the lower range, and the Gutturnio that we had ($48 I think) was only about 50% above retail and it was very good. I will report back again after tomorrow's dinner.

                  2. s
                    Shawn Feb 7, 2008 12:15 PM

                    Has anyone had the prix fixe Sunday dinner there? I'd be interested in any comments on that.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Shawn
                      r
                      rrems Feb 7, 2008 05:18 PM

                      Shawn, do a search on this board. I do recall seeing a few mentions of the Sunday prix fixe, and they were very positive. If I'm not mistaken though, it is $38 for 2 courses, which is not necessarily much less than 2 courses a la carte.

                      1. re: rrems
                        1
                        1uc7 Feb 10, 2008 05:25 PM

                        Actually rrems, the Sunday p.f. is for 3 courses; appetizer, entree and dessert. It is a more limited menu than what's offered a la carte -- as I recall there were about 5/6 apps, 5/6 mains and 3 desserts. There were some options repeated from the regular menu, but some appeared to be only on the p.f. menu. For example, I did have the sweetbreads, but instead of the duck breast main as described above there was a papardelle with duck confit, which I had. Also, the bread pudding was not a dessert option, but I did enjoy a butterscotch pudding with bbq chip. A good deal nonetheless for the quality of food I think, and we were still offered an amuse at the beginning and the petits fours and cocoa to take home after dessert.

                        1. re: 1uc7
                          r
                          rrems Feb 10, 2008 06:55 PM

                          That certainly sounds like a good deal, then. They must have added the dessert recently as other posters who have been there have said it was 2 courses, and it still only shows 2 courses on menupages (can't rely on menupages).

                    2. r
                      rrems Feb 7, 2008 10:44 AM

                      This post should help:

                      http://www.chowhound.com/topics/476752

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: rrems
                        floretbroccoli Feb 7, 2008 11:51 AM

                        Thanks, guys.

                        Yes, I read the New York Magazine review. I will be going to Dovetail tonight. I was just wondering if anybody'd had the tasting menu yet.

                        Now why did I not find that link, rrems, when I searched this board for Dovetail?

                        1. re: floretbroccoli
                          r
                          rrems Feb 7, 2008 12:11 PM

                          Don't know, but please report back on the tasting menu. I will be going there again tomorrow.

                          1. re: rrems
                            floretbroccoli Feb 7, 2008 07:41 PM

                            There were so many more things that attracted me on the a la carte menu that I ended up passing on the tasting menu.

                            I had the lamb's tongue appetizer. I loved the contrast of the crunchy coating against the soft luxurious meat. And the olive salad was a nice sharp taste to cut through the fattiness.

                            My entree was the duck breast. I very much liked the pistachio and meyer lemon crust. The grilled endive was very good, but the real highlight of this dish to me was the celery root with duck confit.

                            I'm the one person out of ten who will always choose lemon rather than chocolate, so of course I had the citrus supreme. I thought the grapefruit and blood orange pieces were a terrific idea after such a rich meal. The dessert included a half scoop of lemon curd with a kind of hard shell, which I had trouble identifying. The maitre d' finally told me it was white chocolate. Surprising. There was a kind of nut confection on the bottom and, hidden among the other goodies, was some burnt sugar, such as you'd find at the top of creme brulee. Great dessert, but it sounds as though next time I'll have to try the bacon-maple bread pudding.

                            With tax and tip (and no wine) the whole thing was $72. A bit too much for me to be a regular, but I feel that Dovetail is a great addition to the neighborhood.

                            1. re: floretbroccoli
                              r
                              rrems Feb 7, 2008 08:04 PM

                              Thanks very much for the report. I thought the duck confit with celery root (I had forgotten exactly what it was, just knew it was a root vegetable) took the dish over the top. I will have to try the citrus supreme. I don't think that was on the menu last month.

                              1. re: rrems
                                floretbroccoli Feb 7, 2008 08:22 PM

                                Yeah. I had to ask the waiter about the celery root.

                                Oh, and I forgot to mention the amuse and petits fours. Maybe tomorrow.

                      2. i
                        idia Feb 7, 2008 10:37 AM

                        New York Magazine just gave it a rave review.
                        So far, all views have been positive.
                        Chef Fraser certainly comes with good credentials.
                        Why not try it and give us a report?

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: idia
                          j
                          jsmitty Feb 10, 2008 05:32 PM

                          dovetail is slowly being mentioned as an essential upper west sideer. i think it's essential anywhere!

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