Hunky Dory is a new take on classic British food. I know what you are thinking… British food, I’ll pass. Hold on though, the Brits have contributed more to cuisine than fish and chips, and their adoption of Indian food. I have had some great meals in my travels to the UK, so I think the Brits get a bad wrap when it comes to food. I recently had a birthday and in our family we usually go to a nice restaurant to celebrate. I had been the Hunky Dory’s pub for drinks after work, and was intrigued by their beautiful restaurant and interesting menu, so when my wife asked me where I wanted to go, Hunky Dory was top of mind. It probably didn’t hurt that we have a foster dog named Dory also. My only concern was how hard would it be to stay paleo in a British restaurant with all of the breads, potatoes, and cakes?
Walking into Hunky Dory is a feast for your senses. First off, Hunky Dory’s dining room is beautiful. The space is well lit due to the huge windows down the entire eastern wall of the restaurant. It has a 70’s vibe to it, in a nice way, with its mint green walls and plaid upholstered chairs the space is very inviting. They play a really great soundtrack of Brit rock. How often do you get to dine to The Smiths? What else would you expect from a restaurant named after a David Bowie album? There is also a smoke smell in the air from their open hearth that they use to wood grill their dishes. Hunky Dory has an outstanding cocktail menu, and are known for their wide assortment of whiskeys. I had the Foley’s Olde Fashioned while I perused the menu. I have to say it is one the best Old Fashioneds I have had in the city.
We started out with a pork belly appetizer, that was excellent. Unfortunately, I got excited and wound up eating it before I had a chance to photograph it. The dish consisted of quarter-inch slices of pork belly that had been braised on the open hearth so they were infused with wood smoke. My son was a little grossed out by the name, but he wound up eating more than his share once we coaxed him into trying it.
Paleo pub grub?
Hunky Dory’s menu has lots of intriguing options. This is where having a knowledgable waitstaff comes in handy, and the staff is top notch. To give you an idea of the level of detail, there seems to be a staff member whose only job is to frequently bring clean silver wear to the table. Our waiter was extremely knowledgable and friendly. After he walked us through the menu, I opted for a steak. The seafood dishes looked good also, but it was my birthday and the wood-grilled steak just sounded too good to pass up. The sommelier was also excellent. He spoke with us for a while about their wine selections, and convinced us to buy their wine flights. Each flight features two wines that are paired especially to complement each other. I went for the Cabernet flight, which paired an American and a French Bordeaux. Both were great, but the Bordeaux was a bit drier, and more tasty to my palette. It almost made me wish I would have just ordered two glasses of the Bordeaux.
The New York Strip was cooked to perfection—I like mine medium rare. This strip was fairly well marbled and had a gentle hint of smoke. While I can’t say it was the best steak I have ever had, it was tender and juicy. The side was the oxtail poutine. Traditionally, poutine is a dish, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy. I know this is supposed to be a paleo review, so I’m sure you are wondering what’s with the fries, Richard? Well, technically potatoes are listed as moderate on the paleo diet. Potatoes are not high in nutrients, have a high glycemic index, and are high in carbohydrates. Certainly they are not the healthiest of options, but they aren’t the total junk food they are portrayed as either. Potatoes are real food, meaning they are not overly processed. So it is ok to mix in a few potatoes every once in a while according to Paleo Leap. Hunky Dory’s potatoes are definitely worth bending the rules for. They cut their potatoes fresh, in house. I’m not sure what they use to fry them in, but they are the best fries I have had in a long time. The oxtail gravy isn’t what you might think. It is actually chunks of roasted beef tail with its au jus poured on top of the fries. They also load the fries with a generous portion of burrata. Burrata is a fresh Italian cheese made from mozzarella and cream. The outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream, giving it an unusual, soft texture. On top of all of that, they load some pickled red onions. Put it all together, and the flavors really work. This dish is excellent, and well worth a cheat.
Hunky Dory is excellent, but it will cost you. The service and unique menu are worth the money in my opinion, but it won’t be a weekly dining spot for my family. Our meal wound up costing us nearly $300, so if you go to Hunky Dory bring enough wallet to go with your appetite.