Reopenings

Dovetail’s Brand-New Dishes Are Michelin-Caliber Riffs on Time-Honored Classics

Chef John Fraser's refined canapes, including truffled arancini and a pea-and-pineapple shot.
Chef John Fraser's refined canapes, including truffled arancini and a pea-and-pineapple shot.

Vegetable-loving chef John Fraser is back to basting beets at his Upper West Side restaurant Dovetail. The acclaimed — and Michelin-starred — restaurant reopened last week, after just over a month of renovations, and a lot has changed in that time. With ten years in the kitchen here and a second restaurant, Narcissa, under his belt, Fraser decided the time was ripe to revamp the menu and ask questions about what his team was cooking and why. At Dovetail 2.0, which has ditched à la carte for tasting and prix fixe formats, Fraser’s approach is more clarified and focused, the culmination of a years-long shift toward a vegetable-focused, California cuisine sensibility.

“When I started this vegetable journey, we were interested in making them mimic meat, using lots of barbecue sauces,” Fraser says. “After a while, I became more interested in making the best mushroom dish or what have you.” The menu is also geared to the pleasure principle, eschewing avant-garde technique or combinations in favor of cooking that nods to backyard summer dishes, like cedar-baked mushrooms, a riff on the traditional salmon preparation, meant to evoke something familiar with a slight twist. But even if diners don’t immediately pick up on Fraser’s points of reference, he isn’t sweating it as long as they think the dishes taste good. “When I read Hemingway, it makes me want to write,” Fraser says. “Our food is approachable, but it makes you want to cook. When things are simpler, it makes them more delicious.”

A sweet-pea-and-wasabi tartlet with mint cream.
A sweet-pea-and-wasabi tartlet with mint cream. Photo: Melissa Hom
Foie gras terrine with mango leather and black sesame.
Foie gras terrine with mango leather and black sesame. Photo: Melissa Hom
Scallop crudo with kombu and caviar.
Scallop crudo with kombu and caviar. Photo: Melissa Hom
Soft-boiled egg, chicken cracklings, sugar snap peas, and barley.
Soft-boiled egg, chicken cracklings, sugar snap peas, and barley. Photo: Melissa Hom
Aged squab with corn, cherries, and Swiss chard.
Aged squab with corn, cherries, and Swiss chard. Photo: Melissa Hom
The petits fours are as luxe as ever.
The petits fours are as luxe as ever. Photo: Melissa Hom

Menu [PDF]

Dovetail’s Brand-New Dishes Are Michelin-Caliber Riffs on Time-Honored