EATBEAT IN NYC: Halibut like they used to serve in Grand ForksFound In New York City: Halibut as wonderful as that served years ago at the Golden Hour Café in downtown Grand Forks. Really! It was fresh and firm and full of good taste. It was presented on a plate where tastes and shades of color are combined. And it was part of a dinner that was more than just memorable.
By: Marilyn Hagerty, Grand Forks Herald
NEW YORK CITY — Found In New York City: Halibut as wonderful as that served years ago at the Golden Hour Café in downtown Grand Forks.
It was fresh and firm and full of good taste. It was presented on a plate where tastes and shades of color are combined. And it was part of a dinner that was more than just memorable.
It was one of the finest meals I have eaten in the past 85 years!
The restaurant was Dovetail at 103 W. 77th St. With my traveling companion, Ryan Babb (RB) of Forum Communications, we went there to meet Carla Baranaukas (CB), a former copy editor at the Herald. Also Sig (SG) and Mary Gissler (MG), New York City. Carla and Sig Gissler met when they were teaching at Columbia School of Journalism. Gissler, a former Milwaukee Journal editor, is now administrator for Pulitzer prizes.
Our evening together was exactly what I think a fine restaurant visit should be. There was conversation, laughter, excellent food served by a first rate staff of waiters in black tuxedoes. There was no rush.
The restaurant, I was told, carries a Michelin one-star rating, and the average dinner check is $75. It was rated 18th among 100 restaurants in a listing of top restaurants in New York. There is a separate vegetarian menu and gluten free foods are featured.
At this high-end restaurant, the lights are dim. The conversation flows. There was a glass of champagne followed by our choices of appetizers, vegetables, entrees and dessert.
For the main course, I chose halibut with beets and ginger béarnaise while SG sitting next to me chose saddle of lamb, served with artichokes, eggplant, chickpeas. And RB from Fargo chose an aged sirloin entrée.
The portions for all of the appetizer and vegetable courses were incredibly small, served separately and amazingly good. This was a meal where each course came on separate serving dishes in unbelievably small — and most sensible — sizes. SG and I were speculating on how many dishes it takes to serve a meal at Dovetail. And how many times do the runners go up and down the stairs to the kitchen below the dining area.
We were not on overload before our entrees arrived. We were pleasingly comfortable for the small, but elegant desserts. After a long evening of tasting and talking I felt pleasantly filled but not stuffed.
We marveled over the sequence of courses and the fresh plates and fresh tableware served with each of them.
The food was excellent and creatively presented. The service was impeccable. CB reminisced about her years around the 1980s when she was at the Herald. MS said the restaurant is one of their favorites in New York. They live nearby and go there three or four times a year.
The little things that matter make an unspoken statement at a restaurant like this. There were tiny bouquets of live flowers on the tables. On the minus side, the rest rooms located downstairs are difficult for some to navigate.
On the plus side, the owner was more than willing to show us the kitchen. Nothing to hide.
Dovetail has been open for about four years. It was once the site of a Greek restaurant.
• About the restaurant:
103 W. 77th St.
New York City, N.Y.
Telephone: (212) 362-3800
Hot dog stand
Dining in New York City includes the good, the fine, the bad and the ugly. With my traveling companion, Ryan Babb, we tried them all.
Before our visit to the New York Times, our hosts suggested I should have a “dirty-water dog.” Yikes! That’s what people eat on the street corners around this massive city.
So, when in Rome, I have been told you do as the Romans do. And when in New York, I should eat a dirty dog.
Actually, it was pretty good. About all I had eaten all day was biscotti served on the airplane between Grand Forks and Minneapolis. And more biscotti served between Minneapolis and the Big Apple.
They asked me outside the New York Times how I liked it. I said fine. It wasn’t too hot. Actually, I would rather have crisp fresh white onions instead of the tomato-based onions. I did like the mustard.
And hey! If you get a free trip to New York when you are 85 you should enjoy it.
Later Ryan went out on his own and found pizza on the streets of New York. He said it was great. One morning he was out early and came back to our Staybridge Suites in Times Square with a fresh croissant for me.
Being a so-called celebrity in this big city isn’t bad. I should have thought of it long ago. But I know fate is fleeting and after I settle in at home this weekend people will forget.
I will be plain old Marilyn again writing five columns a week for the Herald. I accept all potshots because when the critics start saying mean things, the general public rises up to defend me.
So, I guess I need to thank whoever it was who sent me an e-mail last Thursday saying my column was “pathetic.”
I went viral, and I didn’t even know what that meant.
Reach Marilyn Hagerty at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (701) 772-1055.