as usual, I’ve been putting this one off, but I can’t drop the ball just yet…
Dovetail marked the first of our consecutive Michelin starry nights in NYC, and it certainly did not disappoint.
Cloaked in the kind of trendy low light that’s kryptonite to iPhone cameras, the whole place gave off a good vibe – elegant but still trendy and unpretentious. We started off at the bar – bold move, I know, but the table wasn’t ready – and got stuck into the Charles Dufour “Bulles de Comptoir #3” MV. Shout outs go to our drinks server Heidi for sympathising with the need for phone torches, and just for being an all-round champ.
As you’d probably expect, I know nothing about wine. This was a good one though. Very good.
And check out those bubbles! That’s some top shelf glass engineering.
Having made it to the table, we opted not for our usual tasting/degustation, but instead for the four course selection à la carte, which, I have now learnt, is a nightmare for trying to avoid the Japanese tourist-gone-wild look. (Still, I think we managed to get some passable shots of everything – keep an eye out for the #nofilter insta down below). Here’s what we ate.
Amuse Bouche – White cornbread, rosemary flatbread, truffle arancini with parmesan risotto.
Coming from Australia, I’m pretty green when it comes to cornbread. However, that does mean that I can safely declare this to be THE best cornbread I’ve ever eaten. Deliciously sweet with a great crust and fluffy interior, this certainly set my cornbread bar extremely high.
Still, as good as that was, it was far exceeded by the tiny arancini – I’m always a sucker for a warm amuse bouche, but this was easily the best on its own merits – cheesy, crunchy, truffly, creamy, delicious.
The flatbread was nice too.
Pannacotta with green apple, hazelnut, pistachio
Very light and creamy, the green apple added a great amount of tart sweetness.
(to be fair, I don’t remember that much of this any more… I really should take notes)
Appetizers – bay scallop ceviche, sunchokes, grapefruit, seaweed; crispy duck breast, spaghetti squash, tamarind, peanuts; tuna crudo, beets, pumpernickel, nasturtium
To be honest, I’d say that just the look of this food tells you just how brilliant it tasted. Beautifully crispy, seared duck (I mean come on, when it looks like that you know it’s good). Duck was definitely the standout of these three, but fresh seafood and delicious fruity flavours are always a hit. Disappointingly, sunchokes are the same as Jerusalem artichokes. Who knew?
Vegetables – truffled pappardelle, brussels sprouts, walnuts, parmigiano-reggiano; ricotta royale, condiments and crudité (?)
So the other problem with not ordering a degustation is that I can’t always remember what everyone ate – and it doesn’t help that the menu is highly seasonal (i.e. impossible to find online). I guess that’s what you get for procrastinating…
Never mind, though, because (if I may say so myself), my second course was definitely most worth talking about. Silky smooth, subtly truffly ribbons of pappardelle hidden beneath a pungent parmesan foam, crunchy walnuts for texture and brussels sprouts hidden somewhere in the mix – decadent and delicious, if a touch too salty/heavy on the foam.
Extra course (why not?) – white truffle risotto
White truffle, shaved at the table, on top of a plain risotto. Pretension at its finest? Maybe, but it was well worth it, if only for the experience. I’d say that, for me, I could not taste the exorbitant amount of money that went into that one delicious plate – maybe I’m just too uncultured, or maybe the fantastic (and expensive) wine blocked one too many nostrils. White truffle, while very nice, lacks the powerful, distinctive flavour (and smell) of its darker friend, and its texture is fairly similar to a woody mushroom. But what the hell #yolo #swag #baller
The risotto was amazing, though, creamy but not gloopy, with the perfect, almost starchy, al dente bite to the grains.
“entrees” – prime new york strip, beef cheek lasagna, chanterelles, worcestershire; lobster, chestnut sauce (sue me, I forgot the rest and I can’t find it online); venison, saucisson poivre, salsify, black trumpet mushrooms
No, I will never get over the bizarre American convention of calling mains entrees. No sense whatsoever. But US idio(t)syncrasies aside, these entrees are where the night truly peaked for us. Some might say that our whole lives were leading up to this moment. And they probably wouldn’t be wrong. So momentous was this dish that it even deserved its own beautifully instagrammed photo (gasp!). But I digress.
First, I had the New York strip – a safe, delicious option, no? Well, what sold me on paper was the beef cheek lasagna, which, I was informed, was a signature dish. To be honest, for the most expensive dish on the menu (ignoring any mentions of truffle), I wasn’t overly impressed. Sure, in another restaurant the dish would’ve been a hit, different, inventive, and perfectly cooked, but the bar had already been set too high. Maybe New York strip isn’t for me, but serve me Parish‘s tenderloin, Butcher & Singer’s porterhouse, Sepia‘s wagyu any day and I’ll be yours for the keeping. Here, I can only say that it was tasty and perfectly cooked. The lasagna, made of alternating layers of parnsip (and other unidentified root vegies) and a rich beef cheek ragu, was certainly different; but for me, it lacked the tomato-y richness and salty sweet-ness of a traditional lasagna, not to mention the creaminess of bechamel and soft pasta sheets. Amazing in my mind, underwhelming in my mouth.
The lobster – delicious, paired perfectly with chestnut sauce. Disappointingly, I can’t remember the rest! I do remember, though, that it was Heidi’s favourite meal. That is, up until a few weeks ago when she tried…
the venison. Perfection on a plate. (I’m becoming aware that I overuse that word, but this is definitely an appropriate time). In texture, in flavour, in richness of the meat, and melt-in-your-mouth, no-need-for-a-knife softness, this was above and beyond the best venison in our combined 130 years of eating experience. What more can I say? Dad definitely made a lucky pick.
The wines for this course also deserve a very worthy mention:
Giacomo Fenocchio “Bussia” Barolo, Piemonte, Italy 2008 – venison.
Robert Sinskey “POV” Napa Valley, California 2010 – steak.
Château Puligny-Montrachet, Bourgogne 2011 – lobster.
All of them fantastic, and that’s about all I can say. Cheers Heidi!
Cucumber sorbet, juniper sprinkles, greek yoghurt
Light, refreshing, inventive, and those sprinkles were great!
Dessert – flourless chocolate cake, crème fraîche, sesame, orange sorbet; bittersweet chocolate soufflé, honey-sage ice cream; vanilla parfait, cranberries, goat’s milk, bay leaf shortbread
All delicious, but to be fair, nothing outrageous. Similar to the steak – beautifully cooked, but better on the paper than the plate. Still, I’m a sucker for a great chocolate cake/souffle/fondant/fudge/brownie/cookie/crumble/etc/etc/etc… and great this was, but I had expected more from the orange sorbet. Sesame tiles were outstanding though, and took the dish to the level set by the earlier courses.
Petit fours – delicious!
From the cosy low lighting and lush red velvet to the high tabled bar and elegant arches, from Heidi’s stories of visiting Australia to our server’s promise to learn to make a dovetail image on the coffee, from amuse-bouches that never stop coming to the best venison ever, Dovetail is full of delicious surprises.
Don’t miss out.
103 West 77th St,
New York, NY 10024