The John Dory’s Fantastic Pan Roast Outshines its Service

What do you do when the service is the pits but the food is fantastic? Aye, there’s the rub. I could do without the surliness, but that crudo. That soup. Those ROLLS!
…let me rewind for a moment. 
 When 3 of my favorite foodies wanted to go to dinner at The John Dory, I was more than happy to become the fourth member of the date. April Bloomfield’s seafood focused restaurant has been making a splash (pun intended) for awhile now, and I was anxious to see why. 
The light dining room, with high topped tables and a counter with stools running around the room’s perimeter, was a veritable hot spot when I arrived at 7 pm. They don’t take reservations, so grab a drink at the bar and go to the back of the room – near the restrooms – to grab one of a few hidden tables to relax at while you wait for your table. 
Pink Snapper Crudo with Cucumber and Cured Lemon.
Snappy, bright fish paired with clean cucumber and slightly bitter, sour lemon rind. A straightforward dish, all about the sushi-grade quality of the fish – so bright and not at all fishy or briny. The cucumber echoed the fish’s firm texture and the lemon rind brought a round, tangy note to the dish.
 Burrata with Canary Melon and Trout Roe.
Burrata. Mozzarella’s richer, sexier, more desirable cousin. Smooth and taut without, creamy, unctuous and liquidy within. Standing on crisp, sweet melon, it made the more savory taste of the mozzarella come through. Though you often see burrata with tomato, this is an interesting combination – the melon has the sweetness of the tomato, but none of its harsh acidity. The trout roe on top added pops of salinity and brine, bringing the sea to the grassiness of the cheese. The roe itself was not slimy or overtly salty, but tender and filled with the pure essence of the sea. Melding with the rich cheese and sugar melon, it was a truly great appetizer. 
 Oyster Pan Roast with Uni Crostini. 
Cream. The alcoholic tang of sherry. Sweet butter. Plump oysters, just warmed through, their natural sugars caramelizing on the outside, contrasting with the salty, oceanic juices that flowed freely when they were bit. Thin as a soup but richer than a stew – no vegetables or flour to get in the way. Just the lush cream, the biting sherry and those deep, briny ousters. The crispy crostini was generously layered with fillets of sweet and salty uni, redolent of the sea and with an iron-y taste not unlike liver. Crisp bread, creamy uni, rich stew…this bowl was so small we were at first sure that it wouldn’t be enough for us. It was. Especially with…
Homemade Parker House Rolls. 
Don’t know why we got this. Don’t know where I remembered hearing about them. All I know is that the rolls arrived PIPING hot to the table, glistening in butter and a scant amount of coarse salt and then…well then it all goes blank. When I split the rolls a puff of steam emerged and I remember the pliant, buttery dough melting in my mouth against the crisp brown of the crust. There was no butter here, no tapenade. These didn’t need any. It was a fantastic piece of bread. 
And the meal itself was fantastic. Except for…the service. It was just really lackluster. There was no communication between servers and buspeople, our server took about a million years to take our order and then the food took quite awhile to come. On top of this, the server made it very clear that she would rather be unclogging a toilet than serving our table. This would have been acceptable if not for 2 things: 
1)When the prices are this high (not exorbitant but certainly upscale), the service should be nothing but gracious
2)We saw the server berate our busboy in front of us for some minor offense. This is NEVER appropriate – it is demeaning, it is unkind and it is unprofessional. Hopefully this was a one-time situation, because it really soured our meal. 
But did it sour it enough for me not to go back? I would say, no…with caveats. The food was just outstanding – truly well made and delicious. The service really did leave something to be desired, but I would give it one more chance to see if it improved.
So here’s hoping that the service was oa one time glitch. Because the rest of the dinner went swimmingly(yes, again with the puns).
John Dory Oyster Bar on Urbanspoon


  1. The soup and rolls were so indulgent. I was in heaven with those babies!!!

    I also enjoyed our stoner bus boy.

  2. Sippity Sup says:

    It is the buratta and fish roe that got my attention. GREG

  3. Fritos and Foie Gras says:

    @Sarah-Haha, me too!
    @Greg – it was truly a fabulous combo! I am sure you would have enjoyed it!