Prune may be getting some competition next month — private chef Joe Dobias (who was versed in the ways of farm-fresh food while a sous-chef at Savoy and helped to open Quaint in Long Island City) is planning to open an eponymous restaurant, JoeDoe, across the street, in the erstwhile Quhnia space. Not only does the seasonal American “RESTAURANT, NOT BAR OR CLUB!” (per an informational packet handed out at a block association meeting last night) deploy bone-marrow butter, but it's taking direct aim at Prune: “We’ll offer the neighborhood exactly what that used to be,” Dobias told us, when asked about the elephant on the block. “They’ve priced themselves to where they’re only a destination. And their menu has never changed.” As for JoeDoe’s menu, entrées range from $20–$28 (about the same as Prune’s, as far as we can tell) and might include “chicken in chicken” (Dobias stuffs a dark-meat mousse inside of white meat), a pasta of the day, and “young spring lamb” with pea fritters and Greek yogurt.
But will JoeDoe be able to cook up a brunch capable of luring folks away from the hour-long wait across the street? Let's take a look at the preliminary menu:
It remains to be seen whether Community Board 3's SLA & Economic Development Committee will recommend a transfer of Quhnia's liquor license during next Monday's meeting, but Dobias and his partner, Jill Schulster (a ballet dancer and manager at Crispo), are going all out by promising to donate to the Girls Club and other local concerns, tend to the community garden, continue their efforts to raise thousands of dollars for breast-cancer research, and help to eliminate the block’s rampant rat problem (“We have THE BEST exterminator, and he is ready to help”). As for the matter the neighbors really care about, the packet assures, “At no time will we allow ‘drinkers’ to enter our restaurant.” Drinkers, you’ll just have to find your chopped liver truffles elsewhere.