N, R at 28th St.
$4 to $28
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman’s latest venture also seems to have been designed, at least on the surface, with a brassy, optimistic vision of the future in mind. Like their original seafood restaurant (the first John Dory was shuttered after a brief run in Chelsea), the new John Dory Oyster Bar is decorated with seashell sconces, laminated game fish, and bubbling fish tanks filled with brightly colored coral. Unlike the old restaurant, however, this one occupies a prime, even glittering piece of real estate, off the lobby of the Ace Hotel at the intersection of Broadway and 29th Street. The triple-height space is encased mostly in windows, like the exterior of a department store, and instead of a single bar there are now two, one designed for consuming oysters and the other (as the new name indicates) for consuming cocktails. When it comes to profits, however, cocktails trump oysters every time, and you don’t have to spend long jostling for space in this darkened, perpetually mobbed room to know what the priorities are here. There are fourteen signature drinks available (courtesy of the downtown mixologist Sasha Petraske), but Bloomfield’s abbreviated, tapas-style menu is a shadow of its former self. There are no grilled-fish entrées (crudi rule the day), no rib-sticking stews (although Bloomfield’s excellent oyster pan roast has survived), and no sign of the old restaurant’s ethereal version of fish and chips. If you have to make a meal, focus on the limited but excellent oyster selection and ye olde specialties like anchovy toast, kedgeree (garnished with lime and crispy red onions), and, to finish, that ageless comfort food the Eccles cake, served, in classic gentleman’s style, with a slab of gently melting Stilton cheese.Ideal Meal
Oysters or scallops crudo, oyster pan roast, Eccles cake.