NYC: Late Lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar
What did you do this past weekend? We treated ourselves to a long weekend and flew out to New York City to attend a friend's wedding. We also did a lot of walking, a bit of shopping and a ton of dining. There were a bunch of highlights, which I'll be sharing in great detail at later dates. We also hotel hopped around town (woot woot!!), hitting the Standard Highline, the Wythe Hotel (in Williamsburg) and then headed back to Manhattan rounding out our stay at the Ace Hotel. All three were awesome and charming in their own right but I have to say the Wythe was my favorite and the view from our room was AMAZING (we looked out at the East River and all of Manhattan). I'd move into that room if I was ever given the option to...
On Sunday, which was our final day in the city, we spent an awesome morning at the American Museum of Natural History and where we allocated a great deal of time to exploring the Butterfly Conservatory. It was one of those exhibits where you go in and think to yourself "OH MY GOODNESS. Do I really get to hang out with butterflies for an hour?!?" or at least that's the kind of thought that goes through my mind. I hope you're on a similar wavelength. We also got an education on Pterosaurs, which are NOT birds and not dinosaurs but rather flying reptiles (it feels good to drop my new Pterosaur knowledge on the world)! The highlight of this exhibit was the interactive flight simulation, where I got to fly around (as a Pterosaur) and scour the seas for fish. It was way rad to say the least.
Before heading to the airport, we stopped back at our hotel to pick up our bags and naturally decided that we had to stop for lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar. It's a joint venture between chef, April Bloomfield (of The Spotted Pig fame), and restauranteur, Ken Friedman. The John Dory is in the Ace Hotel and it's sister restaurant (also from the Bloomfield-Friedman duo) the Breslin, is also in the hotel. Since it was a gorgeous day, we opted for outdoor seating at the restaurant, even though the building seemed to be undergoing some renovations.
The John Dory Oyster Bar is mostly known for it's oyster bar (well, duhhhh, it's in the name) and the restaurant offers an "oyster happy hour" (from 5-7pm, 11-midnight and 12-7 on the weekends) which includes a half-dozen oysters (or clams) and the choice of sparkling wine or a pint of oyster stout ale for $18. It also offers both East and West Coast oyster options. I know we were on the East Coast...but we went for a half dozen Miyagis and a half dozen Totten Inlets (both from the West Coast). I'm new to the oyster fan club, so I really only order smaller oysters, hence ordering West Coast options versus the East Coast varieties that were running much larger. The oysters are served ice cold and super fresh with a cilantro-chili mignonette, fresh horseradish and a couple lemons. The mignonette was amazing and we easily could have order another dozen or two.
Moses ordered a couple Oaxacanites, which were a combo of lime, honey, tequila, mexcal and angostura. I know I should have tried a sip but we had a long weekend and I had already had my fill of cocktails, champagne, white wine and cider. Yes, it was one of those weekends (the fun ones!!). And although I didn't try it, I can report that Moses thought it was delicious; delicious enough to order two. He said it was like a margarita with angostura bitters, and lets be honest, how can you go wrong there. Am I right?
We also added a market salad with parmesan and marcona almonds to our order, thinking we'd be balancing out the meal with something green and light. Wrong. The salad, while delicious, was anything but light. With a few sparse baby greens, some root veggies and toasted marcona almonds, this salad is a whole lot of parmesan dressing and a little bit of everything else. And this doesn't mean it wasn't good--just don't order it if you're looking for "light." You'll be thoroughly disappointed and come out feeling pretty weighed down with a mouthful of salt. Apparently, Bloomfield-Friedman restaurants are known as much for salt as they are for their good food and awesome decor. I also hear they use Jacobsen salts (my fave!!).
We rounded out our order with a Jdob Lobster Roll with Waffle Chips. I have to tell you, this thing is it. The bread is buttery, toasty, soft and salted. And the giant chunks of lobster, homygoodness, they are cooked perfectly and sauced well (borderline too well but I'm not a huge fan of a lot of sauce to begin with). The sauce itself is amazing though. It's kinda like a kicked up version of thousand island dressing with dill and chopped up celery, so don't go looking for your standard mayo on this lobster roll. Also, be warned, there's a lot of dill, which I thought was fantastic but if you're not a fan, I'm glad I told you now versus you finding out later and regretting your order. And you don't want to leave regretting your order. At $28 a pop, this better be something that's enjoyed. We had a lobster roll the day before at Smorgasburg in Williamsburg and while it was tasty, I believe this roll was more interesting. And I'm sure glad it was because it comes with a pretty price tag.
So what's the verdict on our late lunch at The John Dory Oyster Bar? I'd go back, I'd recommend it to friends and I'd also suggest they come with a full pocketbook. The staff is charming, the decor is rad and I thought the food (and beverages) was on point. Order some oysters, get the Oaxacanite and please try the Jdob Lobster Roll.