Fans of SpongeBob SquarePants and anyone who attended Phish shows circa 1993 are in for some serious flashbacks upon entering The John Dory, the new seafood-centric restaurant that's wildly decorated with an aquatic theme and murkily lit in submarine hues of dark turquoise and sea green. An illuminated fish-in-water inlay in the floor runs the entire length of the space, echoing a similar inlay in the bar, where a massive fish tank bubbles.
Located in the Meatpacking District next to the much larger Del Posto, this is the hotly-anticipated new venture from chef April Bloomfield and Ken Friedman, who run the popular West Village destination The Spotted Pig. Here the menu is an approximation of British seafood pub food, but rendered fancy with cloth napkins, polished flatware, and most entrees costing over $30. Nope, this is not a safe harbor in the recession tempest, but those looking for a special occasion with a Little Mermaid ambiance might want to give it a try. Here's the menu, which changes daily to match the fresh catches.
Writing a preliminary review, food blogger Andrea Strong acknowledged the ill-timed price points but reasoned, "If I'm going to spend $50 on a whole fish (it feeds two if not more), I'm going to do it here. The philosophy in this kitchen is clear: bring it! Acid, heat, salt, and smoke are all employed with subtlety. While the flavors may be big--anchovy being a prominent choice of this kitchen--nothing is heavy handed."