If there is cachet in having an entrance even the average Mensa candidate can’t find, the new Dovetail has it. But try to find that door. It leads to deliciously complex food by chef-owner John Fraser doled out by scrupulously trained servers. Creamy clam chowder with chorizo, luscious pork belly with kale and an egg, potato gnocchi rich with veal short rib and foie gras butter, lamb’s tongue in a mini pressed sandwich. I liked or loved almost everything I tasted in two visits. Still, local penny-pinchers like me, wary of weekday entrées that start at $27 and go to $34, will be pleased by Sunday’s $38 prix fixe menu with many of the same dishes including exquisite sea scallops with blood orange and hollandaise, and crusty lamb shank with polenta and chestnuts. But we’re unhappy when a picture-perfect whole roasted chicken for two, presented at the table alongside porcini, rich cheese-layered potatoes, and spinach, goes back to the kitchen for carving and returns missing some parts. “Where is the rest?” we ask. “There’s only one leg and one thigh.” The bird is carved as delicately as if it were for Queen Elizabeth, but both dark meat and wings with much white meat attached have vanished. It hits the table minutes later. A slice of excellent rabbit terrine cut into three fingers to match three fingers of toast seems meager, and carrot cake lacks cake. Though the entrance and bar are spiffy, bare walls and faded color in the stripped down, dimly lit room cry out for art or flowers.
103 W. 77th St., nr. Columbus Ave.; 212-362-3800