Friday, April 5, 2013

Motorist mistakes new gastropub The Shady Lady as a drive-thru

Just some of the fantastic sharing plates at The Shady Lady
UPDATE: The owners have confirmed they will reopen this coming Sunday

The Shady Lady | 34-19 30th Ave, Astoria | (718) 440-9081 | Open daily for dinner and late night

Opening a new restaurant in New York City can pose countless unforeseen road bumps, but the worst is when someone mistakes your new restaurant for an actual speed bump. Two nights ago, a motorist did precisely that, driving his car directly into The Shady Lady, which recently opened on the corner of 30th Ave and 35th St. The owners have posted a sign on the windows which reads, "Unfortunately someone thought we had a drive-thru. We will absolutely RE-OPEN ASAP and look forward to seeing all of you soon."  Fortunately, no one was injured.

Such an unexpected hiccup could be a huge setback for any new business, but the team at The Shady Lady seems determined to reopen for business. A message from the chef anticipates the reopening as early as this Sunday or Monday. If you have yet to stop by, this would be a perfect time to welcome them to the neighborhood and show some Astoria support. I was fortunate enough to meet the team and sample the food on a few occasions during their soft opening. It seems to me that this place has got something pretty special going on. Not your typical bar food, this gastropub is cranking out some impressive plates.

First cousins Louie Sparagis and Billy Pappas have been inseparable best friends since the age of two, so when Sparagis decided to open a new restaurant—Crave—in Astoria with business partner Marinos Argyros (the two opened Nikitas Place in White Plains in 2001), it only seemed natural to team up with Pappas, who had graduated from the Culinary Institute of America in 1997 and built his career in such kitchens as the Waldorf-Astoria and Rainbow Room.

Now just 2½ years after the successful introduction of Crave, it seemed the right time to open a restaurant that could showcase the full range of the team’s abilities. This time bringing along high school buddy, Chris Prilook, as a partner and General Manager, The Shady Lady was built by hand, using no outside contractors, including all of the tables, beams, and the bar, using reclaimed wood.

Only one television screen, above the bar, plays silent films, the entire concept intended to foster socializing and interaction amongst friends, with a global menu focused on plates intending for sharing.

Pork Wellington
Juicy, tender, pork tenderloin medallions are encrusted in mushrooms and dijon, then baked in a flaky pastry crust.  Served two to an order, this is one of the most delicious dishes on the menu and a must-try.  

Meatloaf meatballs are served on a pedestal of chive whipped potatoes.  

Foie gras terrine (made in house by Pappas) is paired with cashew butter and port wine gelee for a sophisticated PB&J.  Rock salt crystals cut the richness, and spread on toasted buttery brioche, it's a remarkable blend of textures, flavors, and colors. 

Mini sandwiches for sharing include these lobster tacos with lime aioli, sriracha, and pico de gallo
Mac and cheese carbonara and lobster pot pie are highlights, as well as several sliders, and oysters on the half shell. 

This French Onion Pizzette is bubbling with fontina and gruyere blanketing rich caramelized onions, served with roasted bone marrow.

Thai chili glazed buffalo wings sprinkled with sesame seeds are available spicy or even 'diablo style'.

Crab cakes are made with jumbo lump meat in a spirited brandy remoulade, served with nuggets of actual roasted corn on the cob.

Brunch service is anticipated to open very soon, but this plate of biscuits and gravy is available all night  for $6.  Pappas makes the most exquisitely flaky, moist, delicious buttermilk biscuits which are then topped with a sausage and bacon country gravy.  Breakfast for dinner never tasted so good!

It would be well worth your while to place an order for this classic chocolate soufflĂ© with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries about twenty minutes before you are ready to devour it, as this favorite always demands a little extra love in the oven.

While the sharing plates are unparalleled, the cocktail list is worth a strong look, with concoctions like a basil julep or a ginger habanero margarita. Check out the whiskey carafes available, as well as a notable beer selection (including Single Cut on draft, of course).  There is even a weekday shady hour from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. where guests can enjoy unlimited half price well drinks, beer, and wine with any food purchase.

The Shady Lady on Urbanspoon

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