The John Dory Oyster Bar is in hot competition with its sister restaurant, The Breslin Bar & Dining Room, as the most happening hangout at the hip Ace Hotel. (Michelin-starred chef April Bloomfield is behind both establishments.) There's little on John Dory's menu that isn't hauled in fresh from the ocean; dishes may include Hawaiian blue prawns with coriander mayo, Maine sea urchin with pomegranate and black pepper, a razor clam ceviche or a small plate of grilled octopus with eggplant. Maritime paraphernalia, like oyster sconces, shell-crusted mirrors, aquariums and nautical charts, sets a playful scene and a raw bar is positioned prominently at the back of the room.
Hotel guests and groups of colleagues from the surrounding office towers pack the counters and copper tables — particularly during the oyster happy hour from 5 to 7pm. The bar serves an ample wine list (including a half-dozen whites by the glass), specialty cocktails like the Bottle Rocket (blanco tequila, jalapeño, and lime) and a number of New York microbrews, including The John Dory Stout (made for the restaurant by Brooklyn's Sixpoint Brewery). Reservations are restricted to hotel guests and parties of eight or more; if you're coming for happy hour or dinner, arrive early, get on the list with the hostess, and prepare for a wait.
N, R to 28th St; B, D, F, M, N, Q, R to 34th St. – Herald Sq.
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