The John Dory Oyster Bar

1196 Broadway New York, NY 10001(212) 792-9000 •  thejohndory.com

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After having read that they offer the best whole fish in the city, I have to say I was a bit miffed when I got there and there was no such option to be found anywhere on the menu. Which is especially effed up when you have a name like John Dory and you don’t even serve the damn fish! But as deflated as I was by the “bait and switch,” I quickly perked back up when the oysters hit the table. Six East Coast, six west coast and all twelve were awesome. Fresh, not too briny. Shucked by pros, so not a shell fragment to be seen and served up with a genius jalapeno mignonette. Horseradish was also in the house, but no cocktail sauce or vinegar. And I gotta say, neither were missed, because both options really let the mollusks shine, without overpowering them.

Having nearly forgotten all about whole fish-maggeddon, the distractions continued with the Spanish mackerel crudo served in a cup of squid crackling and spiced chili. It was quite fabulous. So much so that I started to question the 3 star yelp consensus (not that it’s the first time, of course).

And that’s when the entrees arrived and things started to make more sense. The octopus, while good, didn’t quite reach great, and even at its best, was only made so with yummy additions like Bottarga, olives and the potatoes, which were surprisingly key for this dish. On the other hand, there was no saving the Beer, Lamb & Clam. Great name, but that’s about the nicest thing I can say for it. It’s basically a bowl of steamed clams with a crushed tomato sauce that vaguely resembles notes of beer.

For dessert, the sticky toffee pudding is quite good, reminding me a bit of the one you’ll find one block over at L&W Oyster Co. Granted it’s bigger, just not better. And therein lies the rub, with L&W so close by, I’m not sure I’d pick the John Dory over it 9 times out of 10. But if you’re craving a change of pace, it’s pouring rain or freezing cold and every block matters, or you simply can’t get a table at L&W, then I say jump in with both feet. You could do a helluva lot worse.

3 teeth

Five Guys

240 Main St. White Plains, NY 10601 • (914) 422-3483 • fiveguys.com

FiveGuys

Dear 5 Guys,

Lose the peanuts and spend the money on shakes. What kind of burger joint doesn’t have shakes? It’d be like a raw bar serving up shrimp cocktail without cocktail sauce!

That MAJOR gripe aside, the burgers themselves are pretty good. In fact, a lot of East Coasters even claim them to be the In n’ Out Burger of the East. Granted most of those East Coasters are either delusional or simply mind-fucking themselves into believing it, but even with all the wishful thinking in the world, comparing them to the likes of In n’ Out is a VERY generous bridge too far. I mean sure, it’s great that the burgers are better than Burger King, and I’m even happy to give 5 guys the upper hand when it comes to their fries (light years better than the cardboard crap at In n’ Out), but I’d take a Double Double Animal Style any day over 5 Guys. Which brings me to my second major gripe, I don’t like burger places without a point of view. As Ego would say in the movie Ratatouille, “give me some perspective.” I hate “make your own burger” places. If I wanted to make my own burger I would’ve done it AT HOME! I came to you because I just wanted to pick out something interesting off of a menu. Ideally a combination of things that I wouldn’t have thought of.

So, with these two major dings going against it, 5 Guys is definitely not getting 5 Knives.

3 teeth