The John Dory Oyster bar was big news back in 2010 when it first opened in the Ace Hotel. At the time, Ken Friedman and April Bloomfield were the only ones feeding people properly in this neighborhood that would soon be deemed "NoMad," so as to market it as something other than a slightly dangerous place to buy a suitcase on the street.
We were always kind of lukewarm on The Breslin, but The John Dory Oyster Bar has never let us down. That remains true today, and John Dory is a restaurant we still frequent fairly often, even with all the fresh new hot spots nearby. It's the perfect place for a drinks and casual dinner meet up, be it with a potential client or a potential make out partner. And thanks to the fact that there are other good restaurants in this 'hood these days, the crowds here aren't as annoying as they used to be. The John Dory is always full, but these days you can usually sneak in and grab a seat at the bar, if not a proper table.
Aside from a low-commitment food rendezvous, The John Dory Oyster Bar is also Perfect For all manner of daytime eating activities, be it a business lunch, some day drinking, or brunch on a summer Saturday at one of their outdoor tables. The food they serve from the ocean is always fresh, and the Oyster Pan Roast is still one of the best restaurant dishes in town. We also love the wine list and the beer selection, and the fact that we always tend to go a little too deep on both when we visit. Something about the fish tanks in the room just make us want to get...tanked.
It's an oyster bar. You get it.
Carta di Musica with Bottarga and Chili
This is one strange bar snack. Basically, it's a flatbread that's been coated with cured fish roe, and the result is a sort of crunchy cracker with a gummy, savory gel on top. I can't say we hate it, but I can't say we love it either. Worth a shot if you just want to eat something weird.
Parker House Rolls
The John Dory is a menu of many broths, which means you'll need something to dunk with. That's why the Parker House Rolls are present, and you'll want them on your table. Especially if you're eating the Oyster Pan Roast, which you should be.
Oyster Pan Roast with Uni Butter Crostini
This is the best thing you can eat at The John Dory, and it might be the best thing you can eat in the entire neighborhood. A small bowl of creamy, concentrated broth plays home to a few oysters, and it's basically the richest little soup that you've ever had. Dunk with aforementioned Parker House Rolls and some of the uni butter crostini, and you shall be pleased.
A high quality lobby roll, served with a side of excellent waffle chips. You're definitely not going to be mad.
Chorizo Stuffed Squid with Smoked Tomato Vinaigrette
Stuffing anything with chorizo is a good idea, as evidenced by this popular John Dory dish and pretty much everything in Spain. Here, the meat squid comes in a small bowl with some white beans and a smoked tomato vinaigrette and is super flavorful and satisfying. A must order.