Haute Eating: 10 Questions for John Fraser, Chef/Owner of Dovetail

There’s no question that over the past couple of years, the Upper West Side has experienced a restaurant renaissance, thanks to places like Dovetail, where chef/owner John Fraser is known for his fresh outlook on seasonal ingredients. Fraser brings his love of fresh farm ingredients, his culinary training in Europe, and his experience working at some of the best restaurants in the world, (including the renowned French Laundry as well as Taillevent in Paris) to his critically acclaimed NYC eatery.

Dovetail is like a study in contrasts. The dining room that’s tucked away in a townhouse is minimalist, yet warm and inviting. Menu descriptions are stark and straightforward, yet the dishes reveal skill and complexities. Enjoy some of the standouts: chicken and foie gras terrine with kumquats and fennel; crab ravioli with chorizo and parsnip; monkfish with braised oxtail sunchokes; roasted sirloin with beef cheek lasagna and, for dessert, brioche bread pudding with bacon brittle and rum ice cream.

With many accolades, including a three-star review from The New York Times, Dovetail has become much more than a favorite local dining spot among Upper West Siders—it’s a must-visit restaurant for those who want to enjoy Fraser’s clever and original cooking.

Haute Living: What’s new at Dovetail?

John Fraser: We just started a Monday night menu that celebrates vegetables.  It is a four-course menu with two columns: one for vegetarian/vegan dishes and the other that’s vegetable-focused. The vegetable-focused dishes are really exciting for me. It has opened a new layer of creativity where the vegetable is the star with protein as the supporting cast.

HL: What are some of your favorite dishes at Dovetail?

JF: Braised cucumber and potatoes in ginger with sea urchin, congee, and shiso.

HL: Where do you like to dine when you’re not working?

JF: My favorite restaurant is Bettola on the Upper West Side—simple Italian, rustic and rich.

HL: What’s your ideal meal?

JF: Warm farro salad. White pizza. A bottle of Chianti.

HL: Your favorite special occasion spot?

JF: Sushi Yasuda

HL: What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?

JF: Upper West Side—no question about it.

HL: What do you like to do in the city on your days off?

JF: Exercise, visit museums, and hibernate.

HL: Your favorite vacation destination?

JF: France

HL: What’s your most memorable meal?

JF: Lucas Carton in Paris. It was one of the most expensive meals I’ve ever had when I had the least amount of money—and it was terrible. I learned so much about the value of fine dining and delivering on a promise to the customer.

HL: What are your five favorite ingredients?

JF: Scallops. Asparagus. Peas. Avocados. Broccoli.

Dovetail is located at 103 West 77th St. at Columbus Ave; 212.362.3800

Tracey Ceurvels can be reached at tracey@thebusyhedonist.com or by visiting her blog, The Busy Hedonist.