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John Dory Oyster Bar?

Any reports? Every time I walk by, the place is hopping! Would love to hear some reviews.

The John Dory Oyster Bar
1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

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  1. I've been there the past two Fridays. They still aren't serving their full dinner menu, just the raw bar and small plates (mostly cold, a few hot). Stuff runs out quickly. They have decent beers though.

    1. I went the other day with a buddy of mine. We sampled each oyster (4 in all, 2 oysters/person) which were fresh, excellently prepared, and accompanied by a tasty mignionette and horseradish. Additionally, we tried the hampachi crudo, which was excellent. The bay scallops was a decent sized portion, but we were not in love with the sweet sauce they were serve in. April Bloomfield's version of a caesar salad, served with kale, was excellent. The octopus hot appetizer was excellent though. Finally, and most disappointingly, I found the oyster pan roast, a small cup of a bisque-like soup, to be wayyyyy too buttery and rich. The uni butter toast it was served with was more butter than uni too. At $18, this was the only dish that I thought was disproportionately priced.

      All in all, great vibe, amazing oysters, some very good crudo dishes, and a good list of beers on tap. Definitely worth a happy hour trip or if you have a hankering for oysters. With two saison beers each, our bill came to 180 before tip.

      1. I was there a few days ago and I wasn't impressed. Pricey, small dishes. Had several of the crudo. Maybe an ounce of fish total in each. Hamachi was fresh. Other wasn't. Octopus, a few mouthfuls. good but not great. Boring lobster bisque. Terrible service. Took forever to take orders and way, way too long to be served. Water service was good though. And the place is utterly freezing cold. No heat at all. The seats are so tall that I actually had to help a short friend get into one, and they were very uncomfortable. Ummm... I disliked this place more than I have any other in years.

        1. My gf and I had a light dinner at the bar a couple of weeks ago and really enjoyed it. We absolutely plan to go back.

            1. re: Riverman500

              The John Dory Oyster Bar is one of my current favorites. Sifton didn't mention the "Carte da musica with bottarga and chili" under the Bar Snacks menu, which induced irrepressible expressions of wonder and pleasure at my table. It doesn't look like much on the plate, but the light, crisp exterior shatters into decadent, buttery, wonderfully fishy perfection, and we slowly savored every single bite. It was a very similar experience to my first bites of Marea's ricci (lardo-draped uni crostini). It's unfortunate that the wait is such a turnoff, but the hype is well-deserved.

              240 Central Park South, New York, NY 10019

              The John Dory Oyster Bar
              1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001

              1. re: Riverman500

                I found Sifton's review deeply intriguing: two sharply critical parentheses enclosing a billet-doux to April Bloomfield. It makes me want to eat there, even as my wanting to proves his closing line.

                [P.S. ... and makes me want to go just to see what makes its sister space the Breslin "dark & piggish"!]

              2. The food looks intriguing, but,I will not patronize any restaurant that does not take reservations and has a wait of more than 15 minutes. There are plenty of other choices, so why bother? I'm glad Sifton made a major point of this in his review, but I'm sure the bridge-and-tunnel types will happily line up for a table. And the photo accompanying the review shows a doofus wearing a hat indoors. If that is typical of the clientele, count me out, regardless of the reservation policy.

                1 Reply
                1. re: rrems

                  I agree totally with you, rrems. We normally shy away from patronizing restaurants that don't accept reservations. And when it comes to spots like Shake Shack or the no reservations places in Eataly, my view is no food anywhere on this earth is worth waiting for a table or in line for more than 15-20 minutes.

                  We really liked the original John Dory, and I'd be interested in trying the Oyster Bar. Our daughter and son-in-law went a few weeks ago and raved. They managed to avoid any wait by showing up very early -- I think between 5 and 6 p.m. -- and immediately secured two seats at the bar. I'm guessing that the slowest time would be between 3 and 5 p.m. So, maybe we'll go for a late lunch sometime. But I'm in no rush.


                2. Just had lunch there today. No wait at 1:15. On the whole, not especially impressed. I'm a big fan of Spotted Pig and of pretty muc all things seafood so was hoping for some "wow". Lobster chowder was overwhelmed by a very fishy stock (to me it seemed maybe not so fresh, to my chef-companion that they'd used too strong of a fish in the stock); char pate quite good but nothing exceptional; oyster selection decent but by no means inspired (odd for an oyster bar); oyster roast very rich, strong on the tarragon (which I love) but, again, nothing special; chorizo--stuffed squid maybe gets an "interesting" but certainly no fawning; And I couldn't get rid of the impression that things weren't very fresh. Not an accusation, just a lingering sense.

                  Service a little weak but not terrible (place wasn't full so I have no idea how they handle a crowd but I can see how it would contribute to wait time). Could certainly be speedier. Neighboring customer unknowingly dropped his napkin and at least three service people walked right by/over it. Minor event but seemed in type. Maybe just needs a bit stricter discpline?? Train to pay closer attention? Noise level pretty high because of all the hard surfaces (again, wasn't full, can't imagine it with a crowd). Most seating is along shallow counters so pairs/couples will work best.

                  On balance, it may have some promise but I'd probably suggest waiting until they're up to speed.

                  Spotted Pig
                  314 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014