Thursday, September 6, 2012


I waited a long time in coming to the Dory.  The menu at the outset was limited, but insider knowledge tipped me off that they would expand, so since I'm not a raw fish fan (and that's pretty much all it consisted of upon opening), I held off for the finished product.  Did I wait too long?  Is April's attention spread too thin amongst the Pig, her books, her fame, and two new projects I've heard whispers of?  Ah, the Dory.  It's in The Ace Hotel, so I kinda can't not love it even though I didn't.  IF I was a raw bar fan, I could have made it work a lot better, so that's definitely to be taken into consideration.  But without that, all the whining I've defended her against kind of rang true.  This very rich food, and these very steep prices, definite necessitate a certain occasion.

Don't get me wrong:  the stuff we had here was mad tasty.  The corn chowder boasted some of the plumpest, sweetest mussels I've ever encountered (granted, there were all of two) in a searingly hot soup that took finishing almost all the charred padron peppers 'til it cooled off enough to spoon without scalding.  But those peppers will have your full attention until they are gone.  Slicked with oil and speckled with big chunks of sea salt, these were superlative specimens, and not a spicy one in the bunch (not that I'd've minded, but I've been dining with more sensitive palates).  The chowder, on the other hand, couldn't be finished; even the small bowl proved too buttery, salty, and creamy-rich with its hearty chunks of potato and fat bivalves, although a few bites with a zesty 'nduja slathered crostini were inarguably delicious.  'Nduja, unbeknownst to me, is a sort of sausage paste, fiery with peppers, and certainly added to the heft of an already indulgent soup.  And all along I thought I was eating some type of harissa.  Huh.

Lobster is usually ordered as a decadence, but here it provided respite from the richness.  It is served simply, lounging in its shell with a tomalley vinaigrette and wedges of lemon.  And a good thing, too,
 because the next dish we order was so salty and sauced that with three bites, I'd had enough.  The crostini were were crisp with butter, and saturated cream gravy soused with garlic and heavily salted, studded with a truckload of tiny periwinkles and mushrooms, hard to determine one from the other.  One bite was heavenly.  Two, the burden of luxury.  And three... that's all I could do.   It was this, the Periwinkles and Chanterelles with garlic on Toast that sealed the Dory's fate: this is a place for a snack and cocktail, oysters and beers (they host happy hour from 5-7pm, six oysters and a brew for $15), even appetizers and champagne.  But making a meal here is trying.  Even so, we decided to sample a dessert since we were here, definitely opting for the lightest sounding option.  A lemon Bundt cake with huckleberries and buttermilk gelato magic-shelled with a brown butter glaze was as dietetic as we could go.  The cake was a little dry, but moistened up nicely once the ice cream melted into it, actually bringing out its
 mild lemony perfume.  We requested double huckleberries, and I'm not sure whether we got them, but if we did, even two-fold was barely enough, and if we didn't, the sparse quantity provided is insufficient to enjoy some berries with every bite.  There was quite a passel waiting for tables upon our departure, which was late in hour- although maybe not for here.  The Dory was, and is, still going strong.  The atmosphere is vivifying even if the meal induces a food coma, so I'm not deterring a visit here.  Just make sure you only have salad for lunch.

1196 Broadway @29th street / (212) 792-9000

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