"There is no pleasanter frolic for an Autumn evening, in the regions where oysters are plentiful, than an impromptu 'roast' in the kitchen." M.F.K. Fisher, Consider the Oyster
You didn't go looking for oysters at the old John Dory in Chelsea. Don't misunderstand — they were good. Served with cilantro and jalapeño chili mignonette, horseradish in Champagne vinegar, cocktail sauce and pickeled ramp vinaigrette. You went to The John Dory to see Chef April Bloomfield apply a gastropub touch to something as delicate as seafood. It was a deft touch, it turned out, though perhaps not meant for the sliver of space on 10th Avenue between Del Posto and Colicchio & Sons.
Turns out, at The John Dory 2.0 in the Flatiron you don't really go looking for a variety of oysters. Local oyster-fiends still wincing from the shuttering of Shaffer City won't find that kind of variety at the Ace Hotel's oyster bar. They currently only offer four oysters (two East Coast and two West Coast) with rumored plans to add another of each. And the menu only features two oyster dishes. But what a dish.
Back, like some shipwrecked friend turning up at your door, is the oyster pan roast with uni crostini. But guess what? It's better. The same teacup, but filled with tangy cream and submerged herbs. A long thin piece of toasted bread sliced on the bias topped not with gently layered slices of uni butter, but with bright orange gentle waves of glistening uni. And four plump oysters at the bottom of the cup! Juicy, tender and without bits of shell.
Chef Bloomfield still knows how to send oyster-lovers back to their dog-eared copies of Fisher's book, betrayed and in disbelief, empty cup in hand, demanding, “An oyster leads a dreadful life?”
Now, if they'd only bring back the Hangtown Fry.