Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Manhattan >
Jun 4, 2008 06:35 AM

dovetail vs. eighty one

any thoughts. considering the two for a birthday dinner and want to be on the uppper west side.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Dovetail without question. I ate a both recently, Dovetail was excellent - Eighty One a disappointment, the food was nice enough but the service was appalling and the sommelier was a stain on his profession. Eighty one also cost about 25% more.

    1. ive only been to dovetail. personally, i wouldnt travel for it but if i was in the area, its a good pick. i liked telepan more personally.

      kind of an older crowd in the early evening and then it gets younger as the night goes on...very interesting dynamic.

      foodwise, my gnocchi with veal and foie butter was just plain heavy and light on duck was decent but nothing id go crazy for. dessert was a bread pudding that i enjoyed.

      1. dovetail hands down. exquisite. although i'm not a huge bruni fan, he's not a moron and knows three stars when he sees it! eighty one was good, not great in my view.

        1. I've looked at Dovetail's website and can anyone tell me if it looks better in person? - it seems with their one b&w picture they are trying to make it look like a prison cell...

          1 Reply
          1. re: Eujeanie

            I agree that the picture is grim, but it is really a pleasant atmosphere, not colorful, just neutral tones and dark wood, but nice in an upscale casual way.

          2. going to dovetail tomorrow night w/ the g/f for her bday. menu looks excellent, but very diverse - any suggestions as to dishes that blew anyone's mind?

            13 Replies
            1. re: metfan630

              I loved the lamb tongue-deconstructed muffeletta. But tongue isn't everybody's cup of tea.

              1. re: floretbroccoli

                That is a great dish. I think even someone who would not normally like tongue would enjoy it. The crab ravioli is also excellent.

                1. re: rrems

                  thanks for the input. the tongue dish hadnt originally jumped out at me, perhaps i will give it a chance.

                  the crab ravioli and the scallops dish jumped out at me first.

                  anyone have thoughts on the tasting menu?? posts regarding dovetail seem to be somewhat low on reviews of it, might have to pull the trigger on it and write a review :)

                  1. re: metfan630

                    I've never been tempted to try the tasting. My partner and I always share tastes anyway, so we get to try more dishes by ordering a la carte.

                    1. re: rrems

                      this is a very good point - my g/f and I always like to get different dishes and share as well. still on the fence, will let you know how it goes!

                    2. re: metfan630

                      I went with every intention of having the tasting menu. But so much on the regular menu cried out to me.

                2. re: metfan630

                  I'm not sure if these are still on the menu (it was about 6 months ago when I went), but I had the salmon appetizer and it absolutely blew me away. And I don't really care for salmon, generally. My entree was also exquisite, FAR better than the steak/lasagna dish. I decided to try the venison (the server recommended it) and it was phenomenal. It was so so tender and not gamey. It was perfectly cooked. Dovetail really is a fantastic restaurant.

                  1. re: metfan630

                    metfan630, how was your experience? We're going this weekend.

                    1. re: financialdistrictresident

                      Ate there last night with a friend. Atmosphere is modern and pleasant, service is excellent - friendly, attentive, very accomodating. The food itself was fine, although nothing really blew us away. We shared the gnocchi with blueberries & summer truffles (nice texture, subtle flavors); she had the halibut confit (liked it very much) and I had the baby pig (fine - tender and tasty, although not as sweet as suckling); for dessert we shared their version of s''mores (lots of fun, great little house-made marshmallows/coffee shortbread/chocolate, etc.). There was a tri-part amuse (liked the smoked salmon one best), and two petit-fours. Everything was attractively plated; portion sizes were fine - neither of us walked away hungry. They have a good selection of wines by the glass.

                      Overall, a very good experience.

                      1. re: Striver

                        Thanks, Striver. Looking forward to it. I will report back.

                        1. re: financialdistrictresident

                          We had dinner at Dovetail last night. We arrived at 7:30 PM and were seated promptly. Ambience is nice. Warm and casual. It was a little noisy for us, but got quieter as the evening went on.

                          I think we had the same amuse as Striver. The presentation was better then the taste. We nibbled on warm cornbread as SO reviewed the wine list and I checked out the menu (note: the most current menu is not on their website). SO ordered ala carte and I had the tasting menu. We also had a nice bottle of wine (note wine mark up is 300% for some bottles). We were considering the gnocchi or scallop app when our server told us the chef used to purchase the fois gras for the French Laundry and suggested the fois gras app. The fois gras and chopped liver app with quail egg was delicious. It was one of our favorite dishes. My SO had the bass and like all our fish dishes, was cooked to perfection. The buttermilk-ish broth was his favorite. I had the tasting menu:

                          Gazpacho with white sardines, watermelon and avocado cream and a micro basil garnish. Very good. The watermelon balls, white sardine, tomato and gazpacho cream were an interesting combination.

                          Grilled fois gras with cherries and fennel - loved this. Surprising flavors. Delicious. One of the highlights of our meal. Only downside, foie gras had 2 tiny, stringy pieces.

                          Confit halibut with english peas, morels, spring onions - fish was cooked to perfection. Morels made the dish. Simple, plain spring like flavors.

                          Pistachio crusted duck - liked the pistachio crust best. Cooked nicely. Good but not up to my gold standard of the duck at The Modern - Dining Room (best duck I have ever had!).

                          Palate cleanser was a cold, lemony gelatin with something in the middle.

                          Smores - As described by Striver fun and delicious. One of my favorite dishes. My SO didn't share my opinion.

                          My SO had the bread pudding. Very nice. We also has espresso.

                          Petit-fours included homemade marshmallows. The coconut curry one was a hit of the evening.

                          Our server was excellent and we appreciated her opinions. When I advised her I didn't eat red meat she also asked if we had other dietary restrictions. Pacing was good. Portion size is European. Agree with Striver - nothing blew us away. Agree with sam1, given W. 77th Street location, probably not worth a second trip for us. Prices were similar to Robuchon (better and closer).

                          1. re: financialdistrictresident

                            Thanks for reporting back, fdr (shorter!); sounds like our experiences were similar. Around that price point, I've recently eaten at Compass, Dovetail, and Ouest on the UWS, and while all three were good, the one I've returned to - and will go back to again - is Ouest. Among other things, their truffled omelet souffle w/mousseline sauce appetizer is just about the best use of eggs I've ever come across, and my squab with duck liver risotto entree was exceptional.

                            Telepan is on my list, but I'll probably take a pass on 81.

                            1. re: Striver

                              Agreed, that omelet souffle appetizer at Ouest is incredible! :-)