Tuesday, September 18, 2012

John Dory Oyster Bar, New York

Apologies for a lack of updates - it's because I'm in the Big Apple, i.e. New York City! Yeah I have been literally eating through the streets of New York, and I figured it's time to bring you some updates. First up, I've decided to share with you my experience at the John Dory Oyster Bar, located at the Ace Hotel (29th street, Broadway). The Ace Hotel is really quite hip, with a big lobby with many persons just hanging out there and playing with their laptops.

The John Dory Oyster Bar has a lovely decor, with high ceilings, a few merlins perched on the walls, dark furniture, and even some 'lava lamps' - as you can see from these photos here. 

The lava fish tank or whatever you call it adds a rather cool vibe to the place - and there's the aforesaid merlins.  

But enough about the layout - I was here for their happy hour, and I'm glad to say that the oysters are excellent! The happy hour means that you get 6 oysters plus an oyster stout, for US$15. This wasn't bad - the oysters that were given to me were from Prince Edward Island (if i remember the waiter correctly), and these were small and very briny, but with a clean finish. I could eat quite a few of those (7.5/10). The oyster stout that the oysters were served with was also delicious and paired very well with the oysters. 

But of course, i wasn't satisfied at eating only the prince Edward oysters, so I ordered a few "speciality" oysters. First up, I ordered one East Coast Oyster (can't remember the name now), a Kumamoto from the west Coast, and a Kusshi. And I really really loved the Kumamoto - it was clean, metallic, sweet, and very intense. No wonder the Kumamoto has been called everyone's favourite oyster. It was just delicious. And the same for the Kusshi - the Kusshi was just very sweet and intense, rather floral, slightly briny, and with alot of umami, almost mushroomy taste. Just awesome! (9/10) (I love oysters, by the way).  

The oyster addict in me grew and grew and was waiting to be subdued, but it wasn't to be, so I ordered another 3 - this time, a Blue Island (from Long Island), the abovementioned Kusshi, and a Sugoku. The Blue Island was nice and mild, and sweet; the Kusshi as I said was sweet, intense, floral, briny - one of my favourites, and the Sugoku was very sweet and creamy, slightly mineralish. Awesome oysters. I really loved all these "West Coast" oysters and they were just a joy to eat. (9/10).

In NYC there's just so many good oyster bars - I have yet to check out Pearl, Mermaid, the Grand Central, etc, to say the least - but John Dory at least for me does the job in searching out the very best oysters and serving them to me unpretentiously, letting the natural flavours which God had put into each oyster do the talking. I enjoyed this tremendously. And the ACE hotel is a lovely place - there's stumptown as well! 


I visited the John Dory Oyster Bar again - and this is unusual because i rarely go back to places especially since there's so much to do - but my friend B was working near the Ace Hotel and so I decided to grab something with him here. As you can see, the place looks really different by day. It's bright and cheery and the high ceilings and colourful furniture does the job of making the place look whimsical and arty, in line with the theme of the Ace Hotel.

And the fish bowl is still here, but now - it's no longer glowing but it actually looks pretty normal .

Having read so much about April Bloomfield's Oyster Pot Roast with Uni Crostini, I ordered one, and this was just delicious - seafood bisque flavours, with loads of butter, vermouth (?) , into a rich stock which was waiting for bread to soak all the juices - and some uni crostini which went very well - uni and butter, who would have guessed. Great dish and rightfully deserves the applause. (8.5/10)

These were the monster bread rolls that were used to soak up the soup - nice and buttery. 

We ordered some oysters to share, and since that day i have been craving the kusshi and the kumamotos. We ordered 2 kusshis each and 1 kumamoto each. This time however the kumamotos completely outshone the kusshis. The kumamotos were very sweet, intense, with the taste of the sea. Just delicious. The kusshis were a bit flat that day. Still, it's a lovely oyster bar, this. 


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