I was thrilled to see David Lynch, former resident sommelier at Babbo, James Beard award winner, as the GM at John Dory. He has been in semi- retirement writing books. Glad to see he has surfaced at a place that I plan on eating at often.
John Dory is next door to Del Posto. Sister of Spotted Pig or you could say brother too. The restaurant has the same sort of eclectic feel as the Spotted Pig does but the difference is the theme is fish. Quite a large fish tank with an eel in it that separates the bar from the back dining room. That particular bar is for walk-ins. About 8 seats. The oyster bar is past that with a very cool counter. Someone probably took pins and made all the fish (mostly sardine size) appear to be hanging in air. Then resin was poured to create the counter top. So try to imagine a blue resin counter with stuffed fish flying through. Loved it. Huge attention to detail from the open kitchen, to the blue tiles, to the ceiling to the open steel railing around the raised tables. The place is small with a quirky unique vibe. I really like it.
As I am a huge fan of April Bloomfield, I was very excited to see what she could do next. She obviously can do quite a lot.
We didn’t eat too many things but what we did eat was fantastic. As I have basically had everything on the menu at the Spotted Pig, I hope to accomplish the same at John Dory.
Granted, this is my only and first time here, but the food coming out the kitchen looked fantastic and what we had was delicious. The portions are much larger here than the Pig but the prices are a tad higher too.
We began with oysters. East coast and West coast. They obviously have good vendors because the oysters were tasty, fresh and plump. I particularly liked the sauces. A cilantro based vinaigrette which gave a nice kick and a carrot juice infused horseradish sauce which I really liked too. Both creative. I kept going back and forth with each oyster from sauce to sauce. There is a raw bar and crudo section on the menu. We tried 2 crudos. 5 slices of yellow tail with shaved ginger and a hot pepper slice. Also, was the diver scallops with pomegranate seeds and sauce. Really liked the scallops.
We went with only 2 things for the main. Oysters that were roasted in a small buttery soup served next to a crotinini with sea urchin smeared across the top. Seriously rich and delicious. The other was the Seared Squid stuffed with chorizo. This was a total wow. The body was stuffed with a combo of chorizo and maybe rice and herbs. Then charred and sliced with the heads floating freely around the plate. The squid was built up in a precise manner over a spicy sauce that lined the plate with a handful of large white beans dispersed throughout. Not only was the presentation beautiful, it was perfectly cooked. A kick of spice and just completely delicious. Still thinking about it.
We did have one side. Sweet potatoes and marrow. Thick sliced sweet potatoes that had been roasted until browned and caramelized on the side with a spoonful of marrow on top. Different and interesting. I would have liked to see the sweet potatoes sliced a bit thinner because it is quite rich.
I have heard that the black pepper dunegness crab is sublime. Must have that on my return.
April Bloomfield is a tiny girl. Not sure where she puts all the rich food that she makes. One thing of interest on Saturday night was the staff was quite heavy. More people waiting and in the kitchen than at the restaurant. My guess is once the place starts to hum and they can get the kitchen moving at a quicker pace, they won't need such a heavy staff. Our meal was delivered timely but I think the only way that they can accomplish that right now is with a heavy staff.
Keep in mind, this was my first visit. At this point, I feel like an authority on the Spotted Pig which never fails to impress. I am hoping that by my fifth visit at John Dory, I will feel the exact same way as I do at the Pig which is I am always looking forward to my next meal there.