The John Dory @ Ace Hotel (quick review)
As usual, full review with photos on the bloghttp://ramblingsandgamblings.blogspot.com/2011/10/john-dory-ace-hotel-review-food.html
A friend and I were in the area looking to grab a drink and ended up at the John Dory because the wait at the Breslin was going to be over an hour. While our hostess gave us the "we'll have a table for you shortly", we still ended up waiting almost half an hour while getting a drink standing at the bar.
Overall, it has a really good vibe, nice buzz, and a good crowd. With some nice cocktails, it's a good place to grab a drink, and the food is fine in that context. But with too many misses, it certainly is not the kind of place I would go for the food alone. The menu, besides the raw bar, mostly focuses on seafood and consists of small plates.
CHAR PATE WITH PARKER HOUSE ROLL The pate had the nice mild taste of (arctic) char and a nice texture that wasn't too much like a spread. While the parker house roll was soft on the inside, it just wasn't anywhere near as good as parker house rolls I've had elsewhere. I think a more traditional texture pairing of soft pate with toast/crunchy bread would have worked better.
CHORIZO STUFFED SQUID WITH SMOKED TOMATO My friend had this and liked it a lot.
BRANDADE WITH TOMATO TOAST Now this was a texture match that worked better for me. The presence of the tomato provided a welcome sharpness to the tasty but one-note brandade.
CHILLED CRAB AND AVOCADO Pretty much exactly as it sounds, although it was pleasantly spiced up by some hot sauce.
GRILLED OCTOPUS WITH EGGPLANT, GARBONZO BEANS, AND HARISSA The flavor pairing was quite nice in this dish, with the charred octopus, smoky eggplant, and earthy beans. However, this dish lost me the moment I bit into the octopus. While I appreciate octopus being tender, it still needs to have some give. This did not, and while it wasn't mush, the best word to describe the texture was limp.
OYSTER PAN ROAST WITH UNI CROSTINI This was the wow dish of the night. As in "wow, that's disappointing". The crostini itself tasted very little of uni and very much of butter. The pan roast managed to be creamy without being rich and satisfying. To me, the genius of the Grand Central Oyster Bar's pan roast is the ability to present flavorful, briny oysters in a way that is warm and comforting. This did not come close.
The John Dory Oyster Bar
1196 Broadway, New York, NY 10001
It appears that I enjoyed my expereince at John Dory more than you, but I share the exact same sentiments when it comes to the oyster pan roast. It was rich and buttery, while tasting little of sea urchin or oyster. It's been the lleast satisfying dish of my two visits there. My favorite was by far the bottarga.