Though chef-owner John Fraser seems to be bucking the trend toward uber-casual dining at his new UWS American, Dovetail, his amuse-bouche is an unexpectedly playful gesture. A haute spin on a Jell-O shot, a spoonful of vodka gelee arrives topped with salmon roe, fried capers and a dab of sour cream. It’s the perfect ice breaker and nearly frisky teaser of the meal to come. It’s too soon to tell whether the UWS neighborhood will appreciate Fraser’s sense of humor, but it reflects the constantly evolving tradition of the amuse-bouche: originated in France, it literally translates to “mouth amusement.”
While it can often be a tool of showmanship, even a Frenchman like chef Laurent Tourondel takes a whimsical approach at BLT Market, which I formally reviewed toward the end of last year. It may inhabit the Ritz-Carlton, but that isn’t stopping Tourondel from welcoming diners with a gussied-up pig in a blanket. Of course, it’s a sophisticated yet tongue-in-cheek riff on a notably American hors d’oeuvre.
As for Dovetail‘s grown up Jell-O shot, Fraser may want to consider a sweet variation to bookend the meal…and ease diners into their check.
Address: 103 West 77th Street, nr. Colombus Ave.
Until we eat again,
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