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Take a 28-seat dining room, epicure-dominated neighborhood, and two talented chefs whose resumes span Blue Hill and Gramercy Tavern, and you’ve got yourself a formula for an hours-long waitlist. Chef-owners Joseph Ogrodnek and Walker Stern see this scenario shake out daily at Battersby (255 Smith Street, 718-852-8321), the shoebox-sized charmer that took Cobble Hill by well-seasoned storm in 2011. Last month, perhaps in an effort to give patrons a break (albeit a mild one) from heavy wait times, they opened Dover (412 Court Street, 347-987-3545), a generously sized, 54-seat New American concept just blocks away from its Smith Street predecessor.
Sprawling street side windows beckon neighborhood passersby, and unlike Battersby, large parties have a welcome place via two round six-tops that garner attention in the middle of the dining room. Other seating is found in four-tops alongside the windows or more cozily in Chesterfield banquettes, which are backed by a familiar exposed brick wall. The frills aren’t found in the dining room’s minimalistic décor, necessarily, but rather, in the elbow room it provides diners while waiting for the kitchen’s handiwork to arrive.
Dover follows Battersby’s prix fixe precedent by way of a six course $95 tasting menu, in addition to an à la carte offering. The latter is divided into four quadrants, from “raw” to third courses, with each dish description bearing deceivingly understating and modest detail (the pork belly is completed by “roasted fruits and vegetables”).
Highlights include the Hurricane Island oysters are served two ways: broiled with a rich and creamy sauce choron, and raw with finely diced apple, Meyer lemon, and biting fresh horseradish. Bitter endive stalks get sweet and rich decoration in the form of diced pear and finely shaved Grana Padano, while grains of farro impart additional crunch and earthiness. A half order of scallops includes two mollusks dressed in seared and raw carrots, a tangy and sweet carrot and orange juice puree, flecks of bright, citrus-geared micro cilantro, and whole almonds for textural balance. Roasted duck sits atop a buckwheat bed and is accompanied by thick roasted squash rings and salty black kale chips that call to mind Battersby’s celebrity-status salad. And finally, energizing flavors of fennel seed and candied lemon awaken palates post-entrée in the fennel panna cotta, an addicting indication of the team’s devotion to seasonally-honed classics.
Pair your meal to something from the restaurant’s quirky Old World-heavy wine list, like the Slovenian Ribolla Gialla (a round white) or Austrian Blaufränkisch (a light red).
Dover is open from 5:30pm-11pm Monday through Saturday, and from 5:30pm-10:30pm on Sundays.