Once through the doors and you've got yourself a few choices: turn left, toward The Breslin. A handsome goddamn space with handsome folks | handsome face. The windows face north onto 29th St but any notion of sunlight is consumed by the bar's first bottle, so what you're left with is the sense of a perennially cloudy day. Perfect for carnivorous undertakings and neat whiskey, but what we pined for was something lighter. Something briny.
We turned right, into the John Dory. A corner space with a flood of light, spilling onto copper-topped tables. Lunch was the oyster pan roast with uni butter crostini, parker house rolls, Blue Points with vinegar and shallots, bay scallops, and the pink snapper with shiitake and preserved lemon. Two Oyster Stouts from Red Hook and we were on our way, uptown for drinks.
THE JOHN DORY
1196 Broadway (at 29th St in the Ace Hotel)
New York, NY 10001
We couldn't get a cab to save our lives. Struck out once at a smoke bar (the name escapes me), which was grandfathered in and thereby immune to the crusade against a man's desire to light up wherever he finds fit, and wound up at the Surrey Hotel's Bar Pleiades. It was early yet, just 5:30p or so, cocktail hour. I met the crew there after a walk down Madison, circling once through Bemelmans Bar at the Carlysle just to hear the piano. And after, the Z and I snuck off, northward still, for Maurizio Cattelan's All (through Jan 22, see it), his oeuvre dangling in the atrium at the Guggenheim .
Then we went down, towards home.
BAR PLEIADES (in the Surrey Hotel)
20 E 76th St
New York, NY 10021