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Good News/Bad News: The John Dory

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Ken Friedman and April Bloomfeld's The John Dory is barely two weeks old and already Alan Richman, Ruth Reichl, and half a dozen bloggers and Yelpers have filed reports, while a number of major critics have been spotted in the house. There are copious early reviews online, but it's practically impossible to find much in the way of "bad news." Friedman strikes again. The good news and the even better news, ahead:

1) The Great News: Alan Richman is the only critic to file a full review on the place, and he is smitten: "Not many dishes fall short. The black-pepper Dungeness crab, which is intended to be messy, is way too messy. Said one of my guests, “It’s too interactive for me.” The whole John Dory for two, intended to be pristine, is too pristine. I liked everything in between...The sea bream, seared, is a lovely, safe, old-fashioned choice...Squid stuffed with chorizo is really the best seafood sausage you’ve ever eaten." [GQ]

2) The Good News: Gourmet has a brief but loving blurb: "The Spotted Pig folks have a knack for creating lovable restaurants, and they’ve done it again with The John Dory, the adorably scruffy new fish place...Not to be missed: A starter of razor clam ceviche, cod milt with parsley and lemon (think Rocky Mountain oysters in reverse), great fish stew, and the spectacularly messy, spicy, and addictive black-pepper Dungeness crab." [Gourmet]

3) The OK News: A reader, who has posted a similar review to a couple boards, sends in this review: "I went last night. Waited 45 minutes past my reservation to be seated, 45 minutes for appetizers, 45 minutes for entrees. Ken Friedman was active in the front of the house and very apologetic and comped a few rounds of drinks both at the bar and at the table and sent out dessert...We had the razor clam crudo and the scallop and pomegranite crudo, both excellent, but the octopus salad was a stand out. I could eat that every night...The squid was very good but I was glad it wasn't my entree, not really what I was looking for. The john dory and the sea bream were great." [Eater Inbox]

4) The Ecstatic News: Like most of the 'Hounders, this poster is enthralled: "Had an absolutely incredible meal here last week....The octopus salad was amazing. Charred just enough to bring out a really lovely color and flavor, the octopus was not chewy at all. The salad also had artichokes and beets which helped to balance out the flavors. For main courses, my boyfriend and I shared: he got the cod which was simply prepared and came on a bed of artichoke dip that was slightly spicy. it had the consistency of a mashed potato, and was awesome. The cod was well seasoned, and perfectly cooked. I got the black pepper crab. It is very messy, but totally worth the effort." [CH]

5) The Almost Entirely Good News: This post on the Food Doc is another rave, but we do have some minor sour notes: "I went to the John Dory with a chef-friend of mine last week, and I truly enjoyed the experience...The pan-fried sturgeon was also good, but my friend felt that the fish could have benefitted from another minute in the pan, and the sauce apparently stood a bit too long, because by the time the sturgeon was served, the sauce had begun to separate...both desserts were okay but nothing to write home about. We also received a platter of homemade cookies, including the restaurant's version of the Hydrox cookie; the cookies were so-so...I found the fudge to be too sweet, but the toffee was actually good..." [The Food Doc]

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