The wonderful part about eating out revolves around the whole dining experience. From the second I stepped into Dovetail, the experience took over. My sisters and I had run ahead of our parents in the summer rain storm. The hostess checked our umbrellas, and immediately sat us down, rather than having us wait near the front. I have to say, that’s the sign of a great restaurant. True class.
The exposed brick, white table clothes and funky glasses, creates the most elegant ambiance. At 6:30 on a Sunday night, the restaurant was packed and full of life. The draw to Dovetail on this particular night of the week is their Sunday Suppa. It’s a three course, elegant meal for a lower prix fix price then the rest of the week.
My Dad found this hidden Upper West Side treasure when searching for my perfect birthday dinner. Turning 23 became that much more exciting with my amazing family and just as great food.
We all stared over the decadent menu, debating our dessert options even before the main dishes. As we drooled over the menu, my dad ordered a carafe of red wine to start. The bottle came out in a funky, glass bottle, giving it a fun, sleek look. We clinked glasses, took a sip and dove back into the menu.
As I glanced over my menu, my mom commented on the insert in my menu. I thought I was extremely special, but I had accidentally gotten the waiter’s tips insert. Our waiter, who was the man, laughed it off and continued to make our meal wonderful. He was attentive without being invasive, a sign of a true professional. There were so many bus boys, constantly making sure our glasses of water were filled, place settings neat, and dining experience was wonderful. The service elevates a really good restaurant, to an unforgettable one. We knew this would be a meal to remember.
In typical Wolfson fashion, we went around the table, explaining our choices, giving us selection of sampling options from each other’s plates. Finally, we ordered.
I decided to try the veal tongue and duck confit, while my sisters opted for the bouillabaisse, with the grilled squid and nettle ravioli, respectively for appetizers. My mom decided on the soft shell crab tempura to start, and duck, like myself, for dinner. My dad copied me for the appetizer and was unique with the snapper for his main course. We all sat back in the extremely comfortable chairs, satisfied with our choices.
The waiter brought out three adorable, wooden blocks to start.
On the block was an amuse-bouche, cornbread and a light cracker, for each of us. Amanda felt very special having her own block. The waiter described the amuse bouche as a light, fried risotto ball with a truffle aioli. With one bite, the flavor burst in your mouth, with the creamy risotto and the umani flavor of the truffle cutting through the crispy outside. I tried to savor the little bites, but it was impossible to stop eating.
My friend and I claim you can determine the quality of food based on the bread. If this corn bread was any reflection of what was to come, my taste buds were absolutely thrilled. The corn bread was so light and buttery, melting in your mouth. The crunchy exterior and the light, fluffy interior created this perfect harmony. Then there was the bite of saltiness, which brought the corn bread to an entirely new level. After digging in, the appetizers came out.
The waiter elegantly described our dishes. The presentation matched the taste, with each component playing perfectly off the other aspects of the dish.
The thick slices of veal tongue, with a light salad of greens and capers on top created a balance between heavy and fresh. Each bite filled your mouth with the burst of fatty flavor, unique to tongue. Then the light mustard base sauce on the painted on the dish, with the salad and fresh burst of capers, made the entire dish sweet, refreshing and savory all at once. It was the most intricate, high end version of one of my favorite cuts of meat.
I also enjoyed a bite of Leigh’s nettle ravioli, with mud sauce. It was sweet and refreshing with each piece having a sweet complexity.
I wasn’t fortunate enough to make my way to a bite of my mom’s soft shell crab, but from the looks of it and expressions of my family’s face, this was a wonderful dish, as well.
With a few more sips of wine, we waited for our main dishes to arrive.
The waiter carefully placed my duck in front of me and I smelled all of the wonderful flavors coming together.
I picked up my fork and knife, and heard the crackle of the duck skin as I cut in. Taking one bite, the crunch of the perfectly cooked skin followed by the melt in your mouth interior combined to make the most wonderful flavors of duck I have ever experienced. I added a little of the roasted endive and beet puree for the next bite and the flavors continued to build.
I only paused for a moment to try Amanda’s bouillabaisse. At first glance, it looked like a deconstruction of the dish, without the soupy broth. But the flavors came together exactly like any variation of the seafood stew, but presented in such an elegant way.
Back to the duck, I couldn’t stop eating. Sharing was not an option. It’s my birthday, I’m being selfish with the duck.
By the time my plate was empty, I had the perfect full and flavors still dwelling in my mouth, drooling for more. Fortunately, the dessert menu promptly arrived, allowing me to become excited for the next portion of the meal.
Sundae Sunday options brought the typical ice cream delight to a new, high end level. The flavors ranged from Coffee Cocoa Nib to Cinnamon Toast, boasting flavors you would not find at Baskin Robbins. I’m probably the weirdest fro-yo lover around with Plain being my ultimate favorite. So when I saw Sour Cream Ice Cream on the menu, I was beyond intrigued. The waiter described it as tasting exactly like sour cream and I had to try. I added peanut butter drizzle, strawberries and cookie dough on top and anxiously awaited its arrival.
The waiter came out with a different dish, with a candle surrounded by a toffee brittle and the chocolate words saying “Happy Birthday,” my family sang, I made my secretive wish and blew it out; another year older.
Then the ice cream sundae arrived. Digging right it, the flavors were incredible. I have a new favorite flavor; sour cream. The tangy flavor, counter balanced by my decision of rich peanut butter and crunchy cookie dough was wonderful. I felt like a little kid again, rather than the old age of 23.
There was a little amuse-bouche placed on our table to end the already perfect meal; miniature carrot cakes. The delicious combination of mini rich cake and sweet cream cheese frosting was the perfect finishing bite.
Ending the meal with the four people I love, eating ice cream sundaes, made me realize, a birthday doesn’t get much better than that.
For any special occasion, I highly recommend Dovetail. Not only was the food amazing, but the service created the ultimate dining experience. We felt like VIPs even seated next to CNN anchor Fareed Zakaria. Especially for the Sunday Suppa, it’s one of the best high end deals around. So when you’re debating where to take that special someone for their birthday, pick Dovetail, because it was a birthday dinner I will not forget.
Dovetail – 103 77th Street – New York, NY
Location: Upper West Side, NY
Type: New American
Perfect For: Special Occasions, Date Night, Impressing Foodies, Prix Fix
Reservations: Recommended, via OpenTable
Favorite Dishes: Braised Veal Tongue, Seared Duck Breast, Soft Shell Crab Tempura, Sour Cream Ice Cream