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Dovetail: Going Uptown to FancyLand

It’s not often that I get treated well. I’m a girl who cooks vegetables and it’s not that cool to know me in the food world. On top of that, my restaurant is tiny and I’m not the protege of a famous chef like Thomas Keller or Eric Ripert. There are people I’m friends with in the restaurant business, but it’s rare some stranger appears out of nowhere and does something nice for me. So I was super-happy to be invited uptown for dinner at one of Chef John Fraser’s Vegetarian Monday nights at his restaurant Dovetail.

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Dovetail

Dovetail: clearly this restaurant

could eat Dirt Candy and still have

room to eat my apartment for dessert.

It might even need a slice of pizza afterwards.

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Chef Fraser asked his publicists at Bullfrog & Baum to invite me, which was fun because a) it’s rare a chef is as shy as I am, and b) I love getting emails from Bullfrog & Baum because it always seems very important. B&B are sort of the Death Star of restaurant publicity: big, inevitable, capable of destroying entire planets when necessary. Anyways, I was invited and off my husband and I went in our fancy clothes, up to Dovetail on 77th and Columbus.

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The most important thing you should know about my meal is that it was free. I tried to pay but they wouldn’t let me (although my attempt to pay was partly a genuine attempt to pay and partly one of those gestures you make towards your wallet when you go out to eat with other people, hoping that they’ll say, “I got it,” before your hand actually touches your wallet). So take my comments with a grain of salt – after all, who can hate on a free meal? The deal for people who pay for their meal is that every Monday night, Chef Fraser is offering a three course dinner for $38/person. There’s a vegetarian menu with vegan options, a vegetable-focused menu (which has a fair amount of meat in it) and a limited version of the regular menu. It must drive his kitchen nuts to have to do so many different menus one night a week, but it’s neat to have the options.

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So how is it? It’s good! This is a far different experience than you’ll get at Dirt Candy. It’s the Upper West Side, for Pete’s sake. Swarms of waiters cater to your every whim, the plates are enormous, the food is impeccably plated, the room is hushed and there are very fancy touches. If you order the consomm√© they bring it out for you in a Mason jar so you can take a look at before they serve it, sort of like picking your pig at a BBQ place. All I could think of is that Antonio would go crazy if I made him wash more Mason jars than he already does now, but that’s why Dovetail’s got a big staff. There are plenty of vegan desserts and while vegan desserts are hard to get right, these were great. Of course, I’m a sucker for dessert. As long as it’s sweet and has chocolate in it, I’m happy.

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MasonJars

“Pick me! Pick me!”

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I haven’t seen much press about these Monday Night Vegetarians meals, but it should get more attention. There are very few high-end options for vegetarians in Manhattan and at $38/head you’re not going to break the bank. Let’s face it, most high end restaurants treat vegetables like an afterthought and while they’ll sometimes dash off a couple of vegetarian dishes they’re usually pretty unmemorable. Chef Fraser is taking the time and care to think through his menu, and it’s one of the best vegetarian meals I’ve had in a non-vegetarian, NYC restaurant.

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SteamedVeggies

The vegetarian option at most

high-end, non-veggie restaurants. I

once paid $65 for a plate that looked

just like this.

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Full disclosure: even though my meal was free, no one asked me to post anything. The reason I’m writing this up is because I think folks who like Dirt Candy may want to check it out, and because Fraser’s trying something different. Monday nights are hard (I’m not even open on Monday) and there he is on the very conservative Upper West Side and he decides that what he’s going to do to bring in business is to go vegetarian one night a week and treat vegetables with some respect. It’s a cool step to take, so that’s the main reason I’m giving it a plug here. But also? When someone goes out of their way to be nice to me and Dirt Candy, I want to be nice back.

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(Read Serious Eats’s review of Dovetail’s Vegetarian Monday Nights)

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(Dovetail’s website)

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menu


Menu

Snack

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Jalapeno Hush Puppies $6
served with maple butter
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Appetizers

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Mushroom $13
portobello mousse, truffled toast
pear & fennel compote

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Cucumber $12
roasted cucumber hot and sour soup,
black sesame, garlic chili oil, wood ear
mushroom, cucumber jelly

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Spinach $13
spinach & grapefruit mille-feuille,
with smoked pistachios and ricotta

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Potato $12
warm potato salad, crispy Japanese
yams, grilled sweet potato, olives,
bitter greens, apples

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Entrees

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Beets $20
salt-roasted beets, thai green curry,
beet gnocchi, whipped coconut galangal cream

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Pepper $18
fennel & pepper tofu,
parsley spaetzle, grilled
yellow pepper broth,
mustard crumbs

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Broccoli $21
smoked broccoli dogs,
broccoli kraut, salt &
vinegar broccoli rabe

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Corn $19
stone ground grits, corn cream,
pickled shiitakes, huitlacoche,
tempura poached egg

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- everything on the menu can be made vegan on request.

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Dessert

Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu $12
grilled eggplant, rosemary cotton
candy, mascarpone

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Ice Cream Nanaimo Bar$11
sweet pea, mint, chocolate

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Popcorn Pudding$11
salted caramel corn

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Celery Cheesecake Roll $10
celeriac ice cream, peanut filling,

& candied grapes

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- vegan dessert selection changes regularly, please ask your server.

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Our wine list (and other beverages)

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Gift Certificates

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