Yesterday the staff of the John Dory Oyster Bar, set to open at the Ace Hotel on November 8, gathered in a subterranean room to listen to a lecture by Mark Kurlansky, author of The Big Oyster: History on the Half Shell, on oysters. Did you know New York used to be known for two things: oysters and prostitutes? Well, it did. Afterwards, owner Ken Friedman showed me the place, slated to open November 8. Like Samuel Slater but of restaurants, I memorized the layouts and certain details (ahem, secret chef's table). Start your John Dory Oyster Bar Revolution, now!
In this topsy-turvy world, there is a chef's table in the basement kitchen. It seats about 13 people. "It may be a 3rd floor situation," says Friedman, meaning the table will be for friends and family (and investors like Jay-Z, Bette Midler, Paul McGuinness and Sean Penn). Also, it's really tight in the kitchen.
In the dining room — which seats 130 — there are two globe aquariums. The one on the East side, fittingly, is dedicated to the Atlantic Ocean. The one on the West side to the Pacific.
The John Dory Oyster Bar will be serving oyster stout made for them by Six Points. Oyster stout, for those that don't know, is stout filtered through oyster shells.
One staffer asked Kurlansky: "What are some of your favorite oysters and why?" To which Kurlansky replied, "The Talmudic answer is why not?" Love that guy.
Also, Mark Kurlansky can talk an hour straight about oysters without notes. Among his favorite oysters — he gave up on the Talmudic approach — are Shibumi oysters, which will be on the menu. He's not crazy about Southern Oysters though. "They say mild. I say bland."
The green girders in the space are meant as an homage to Grand Central but were painted green to evoke the Paris Metro after Friedman found some nice photos of it while browsing the internet. So if you want to know what Friedman does in his spare time, it's Google "girders."
The space, like the Breslin and the rest of the Ace, was designed by dynamic duo, Roman and Williams.
There will be 6 wines on tap and a significant wine selection. Sasha Petraske is doing the cocktail list (duh!) and he's paring it with food.
That bar from John Dory 1.0 and the aquarium had to stay due to the onerous conditions of the lease. New bar is copper.
The place opens on November 8th, no longer November 1, but booze and oysters start on Wednesday, November 3rd.
· All Coverage of the John Dory Oyster Bar [~ENY~]