Dover on Court St
Went tonite. Although the reservation was hard to come by (which I expected due to the NYT review), the place itself had several empty tables at 8pm. We were there before 7pm and watched as it got busier, but never to the point of being full. The kitchen was not overwhelmed and everything came out smoothly and on time.
The food was excellent. Everything showed care and a nice touch in the kitchen. Gougeres to start, then a 2nd amuse of root vegetable soup… both perfectly done, as already stated. The bread was very tasty and is made in house. A full small loaf of it was finished easily and both the ricotta/honey & white bean/black bean puree were good accompaniments to the bread. More was offered, but we declined. My wife's broiled oysters (she ate them while they were hot…I got part of one) were fantastic &, at $3 apiece, a good deal. My black tagliatelle with peekitoe crab meat, bread crumbs and a couple of other things was a nice official starter course and I'd get this again anytime. My duck entree and her lamb rib entree were just about perfect. All too often, the main ingredient (the "protein") is well done but the rest of the dish is either ehh or has things that don't go with the main. Not so here… both dishes were inventive, well thought out and had depth of flavor. I'd bet that my duck's au jus had bits of duck liver in it and it was rich in the way that only long cooking & careful reductions can accomplish. The veggies were very fresh and flavorful in both dishes.
The wine list is good enough and we found an Aglianico in the mid $50s that we liked a lot. The chocolate blackout cake was moist, rich and chocolate-y & came with beet gelato. A better match than I would have thought. (I almost ordered the dessert that had pumpernickel gelato, but I was veto'ed on that). All in, just over $200 and worth every penny. The new Brooklyn ain't all bad.
I just went last night. I'm a little more into Battersby but only because everything I've ever (well there was one slightly off night - but it was very slight) had there was flawless, whereas at Dover there were a couple minor missteps. I think it's definitely worth a visit though and look forward to seeing how it progresses.
Here's a summary of what we had:
Cocktails - were awesome. Matthew, who created their cocktail program had also helped with the cocktails at Battersby. Great guy - it was a pleasant surprise to see him there.
Wine - I got a Moroccan syrah, which I found interesting and enjoyed. The slightly bitter finish isn't for everyone though - my boyfriend wasn't into it...but I thought was a nice contrast to the sweeter and smokier dishes I had.
2 amuse bouches:
-mini gougeres (awesome)
-shot of roasted vegetable soup, drizzled with olive oil (excellent - not sure what broth was used as a base, the chefs are so good at incorporating asian flavors so seamlessly that i assume what i tasted was a hint of dashi flavor, but that is just a guess - i regret not asking!)
fresh bread and flatbread served with whipped ricotta, and with white bean puree - baked as an oblong loaf...it was more crusty than the rounds at Battersby - my preference is to go round and get bigger soft inside-to-crust ratio. The whipped ricotta tasted sweeter than Battersby's - again, preferred Battersby's. The white bean puree was stellar though - I also picked up on an Asian flavor but couldn't quite place what it was.
raw oysters - i didn't taste it but my boyfriend lamented that the green apple and horseradish overpowered the oysters
uni with soba noodles - portioned to be an appetizer, but i could've definitely had a triple order as a meal! It's similar to an uni spaghetti Battersby did, but this time with soba - which made the sauce pop
Pork Belly - those guys are so great at cooking pork belly so you get the most of the flavor and texture without feeling like you've destroyed your arteries. Also, the plating with the brightly colored vegetables was a stunning sight to behold.
Chatham cod - had a taste and loved it. The sauce was made of brussel sprout leaves and beet juice - that fresh-from the garden flavor balanced with the smoked bacon made for a genius combination. My boyfriend had just wished the portion was a little bigger.
Lamb ribs - DELICIOUS! Again, a wonderful integration of asian (specifically southeast asian) elements. The meat itself was cooked perfectly, too.
Chocolate mousse topped with toasted marshmallow and pistachios - tasty. I wouldn't rank it with Battersby's olive oil cake or panna cotta but I'd eat it again ;)
Service was friendly and prompt. That night it looked like they were training a few runners who seemed to be implants from possibly Central America or Mexico. Upon presenting some of our dishes, it sounded like these guys were still working to improve their english pronunciation. They stumbled on pronouncing some words, which was more charming than distracting. I thought it was cool they were given this opportunity, considering a lot of front of the house staff from Mexico and Central America are given bussing duties but not much beyond that (I have seen a few other exceptions in NYC but am having trouble remembering which places).
But anyway, back to the food...like I said, there were a couple items that could've been better balanced but overall I'd be happy to go back. Perhaps try to the tasting next time.
As an aside, I'm kinda dorking out on the fact that I was the first on CH to review (well, mention and generally recommend) Battersby and now Dover. Maybe those guys will give me a gold star if they're reading this :p
re: Mike R.
Looking at online menu prices im gonna take the over on that over/under. oysters at $3/ea, uni for $14, Pork Belly $15, Cod is 16 or 28 but it sounds like they ordered it as a main, lamb ribs also 28 and no dessert prices listed online. with the wine/cocktails and tax/tip this meal was probably closer to 150-175 by my estimates.