John Dory : waits at lunch?
I wouldn't think so, but you never know. If you're talking about this Thursday, it *is* Fashion Week, and the Ace Hotel is traditionally a hubbub of activity.
The oyster pan roast is very good, but small. That's the general trend with the menu: small portions and expensive. The crudos are also very good.
We ended up going a couple of weeks after I originally posted this question...hence the delay. Walked in on a Tuesday at around 12:45 and were seated right away -- it was mostly full, but there were seats at the bar open. I can't rally imagine going at dinner unless you enjoy the standing room only thing. There really aren't that many seats. Overall impression: definitely solid, but not mind-blowing, and for the prices, pretty skimpy portions. I'm not one for super-sized plates but these were pretty meager.
razor clam crudo (I'm not eating raw fish now so I didn't try this, but my sister liked it well enough).
crab and puntarelle salad (I thought it needed a bit more acid. It was also dressed with a very rich olive oil that sort of overwhelmed...at $17 i'm not sure I'd get it again).
oyster pan roast (my personal favorite; though small, it is rich so you don't want a big bowl. the uni crostini is ridiculously good).
chorizo stuffed squid with smoked tomato (nicely balanced, hearty and homey but not exceedingly heavy).
parker house rolls (a must have; this food demands sopping and these rolls really fit the bill.
dessert: chocolate pot with whisky cream and orange zest and an oat cookie (if you like chocolate, you'll dig this. It's basically a dense pot de creme. The orange provides just the right subtle contrast to the richness and booziness) and the cookie some sweet/salty/crunchy balance).
Bottom line: if you have a voracious appetite, have a snack first, unless money is no object. I would have liked to have sample more dishes, but it was cost-prohibitive. Perhaps going with a larger party would take care of that.