Restaurant of the Week: The John Dory

Jonathan Durbin

It's no surprise that it isn't easy to secure a reservation at The John Dory. For one thing, there aren't many seats, especially given the neighborhood; the space is long, thin, and located smack in the middle of mega-restaurant row (sandwiched between CraftSteak and Del Posto, and across Tenth Avenue from Morimoto). For another, the fish house is from the team behind The Spotted Pig, which sets expectations (and buzz factor) fairly high. But on the evening we attended, the Friday after Thanksgiving, the eatery was relatively subdued (although, it must be said, both Charlie Rose and Craft's Tom Colicchio were dining there during our visit). I'm pleased to say that the menu, though limited, was mostly excellent. Starters like the fish soup with shellfish rouille ($15) and oyster pan roast with uni crostini (a toast with sea urchin spread served alongside a soupy dish of creamy oysters, $20) are the sort that make return trips inevitable. The pan-roasted cod with artichoke chips ($28), on the other hand, was only adequate -- the portion was small, and although the preparation was enjoyable, it ultimately seemed uninspired. Still, it's worth venturing out to the far end of the Meatpacking District to eat there: The décor is appealingly seaworthy -- fish tank, fish posters, fake fish embedded in the Lucite bar -- and the service is friendly and attentive. And the word, of course, is out: It's a little harder to come by a two-top on a non-holiday weekend.

The John Dory
85 Tenth Ave.,
(212) 929-4948
www.thejohndory.com

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