Critical Mass: John Dory


The reviews are beginning to come in for the John Dory (85 Tenth Avenue), the hotly anticipated fishy collaboration between April Bloomfield, she of Spotted Pig acclaim, and restaurateur Ken Friedman. Between New York, NY Daily News, and Bloomberg, the restaurant averages a disappointing two and two-thirds stars. Everyone notes the kitschy, over-the-top decor, and some say the cuisines tend towards the same. More fishy business below:

Two Stars

“Is the John Dory a new-millennium, category-busting kind of seafood restaurant? Not really. The menu, at this early date, is limited and slightly uneven, and the room is overamped by an octave or two. But like the Spotted Pig, there’s a vibrant sense of fun in the air, an infectious feeling that you should be having a good time even if, quite possibly, you’re not.”
— Adam Platt, New York

“The John Dory adheres to the Momofuku style of dining: It’s open late (till 2 a.m.) and serves messy, quirky gourmet fare that’s often excellent, but in a laid-back environment that’s occasionally downright annoying…There’s a fine line between casual and careless. The John Dory can veer toward the latter.”
— Ryan Sutton,

Four Stars

“It looks like a scene from a Jimmy Buffett hangover. At the heart of the room, there’s a diner-ish open kitchen packed with line cooks feverishly at work. It’s tight quarters – for them, for the servers, and for customers trying to edge their way into the bathroom… the John Dory is the complete antithesis of Le Bernardin, the consummate and highly formal fish restaurant in midtown…The complete antithesis, that is, except for the quality of the cooking.”
— Danyelle Freeman, NY Daily News

This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on January 14, 2009

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