By Carol Brock
The Sly Fox Inn
177-23 Union Turnpike
It’s a macho kind of place. The Sly Fox Inn, in business since 1977, once had a front of wood—now it’s red brick. St. John’s University is across the way. In fact, you can see the gates of St John’s from the Inn’s front door. Take the name “Sly Fox Inn,” the location on the “turnpike,” add the fox and hound interior and you’ve got a touch of New England in Fresh Meadows.
Naturally, there are hunting prints with hounds and a sly fox or two on view, lounging on the banister. Wood abounds. There’s an oversized wood burning fireplace, and candlelight in darkened rooms.
The ample bar with nine TVs for watching sports is unto itself in a room “next door.” St. John’s basketball team is likely to fuel at Sly Fox pre and post games, as do the visiting team. Football, baseball and basketball coaches from everywhere are there.
But this is also a family place. Parents visiting siblings housed in the university’s new dorms have dinner “en familia” here.
The regular dinner menu is meat-oriented macho. Veal medallions with portobello and gorgonzola; aged boneless strip sirloin topped with crisp-fried onions billed as “a beef eaters delight;” lamb loin chops with mashed potatoes; skirt steak grilled with roast garlic; seared prime rib of beef au jus on Friday and Saturday evening. And also: shrimp scampi with roasted garlic; chicken cutlets with lemon butter sauce and sautéed spinach; chicken cordon bleu; Cajun blackened catfish; and oven-roasted salmon filet.
Last year a new menu of specials added options—some light, some American continental: Shrimp and chicken breast sautéed in a Dijon mustard cream sauce; grilled pork loin cutlets with raspberry vinaigrette; oven-roasted salmon filet with escarole and roasted garlic. And salads: grilled chicken with orange and walnuts, Cobb salad with avocados, chicken and bacon with bleu cheese vinaigrette.
We noted with a cheer the dress code posted on the entry door informing diners that on Friday and Saturday nights a dress shirt with collar is required. (And the owner/manager was attired in jacket and tie. We’re in a dressed down (and even dressed bare mode with mid rifts exposed). We settled in and sampled the corn muffin (without butter) and a sesame bread stick or two while we observed the bouncy waitresses go up and down the split-level seating. Shrimp and seafood quesadilla sounded good to me dressed with salsa , chicken and Jack cheese. (It was.) The tiny shrimp added a distinction. My dining companion had a classic French onion soup. But this one interestingly topped not with sliced French bread, but with Semolina croutons, Swiss and Romano cheese. Give a guy French onion soup and you’ve started his meal off right. But the surprise came when he opted for the grilled chicken with oranges, walnuts and tomato salad with honey buttermilk dressing. It was loaded with walnuts and that gave it flavor and heartiness.
Pan-seared catfish filet with grape tomato salsa tickled my taste buds. For a salsa to end all salsas, this is the one. A truly luscious mound topped the thick catfish filet. It was simply grand.
Dessert Time. Predictably, pies are featured–the time tested macho ending. Caramel granny apple pie is a nice twist on the usual, and strawberry rhubarb heralded the season. A la mode? “Sure,” he said. I went with seasonal strawberry yogurt ice cream studded with berries—just great.
On Saturday and Sunday there’s brunch with a macho slant; Omelets—mushroom, bacon and cheddar, broccoli and cheddar, tomato, onion and Swiss, and Western. Corned beef and cabbage. Huevos rancheros with tortillas and salsa. Or grilled steak and eggs, any style. All served with home fries and buttered toast. Burgers, soups, sandwiches and salads, even entrees. There’s a kids’ brunch, too. What do you think of that?
The Bottom Line
Country inn, fox and hounds setting. Across from St. John’s. Basketball team and opponents fuel up there. Football and baseball coaches dine there. Macho meals and new American Continental, plus light specials. Hearty brunches (and kids brunches Saturday and Sunday.
Buffalo Wings (biggest and meatiest)…$6.95
Nachos Grande (just ask your server)…$6.95
Veal Medallions Sly Fox (with portobello mushrooms, and
gorgonzola cheese, potato and vegetables)…$15.95
Aged Boneless Strip Steak (a beef eaters delight; topped
with crispy fried onions, mashed potato & spinach)…$20.95
Pan-Seared Catfish (filet with grape tomato salsa )…$15
Caramel Granny Smith Apple Pie…$4
Ice Cream Brownie Sundae…$4
Cuisine: Macho plus new American Continental & light
Setting: Country Inn. Hunting prints
Service: Young and bouncy
Hours: Open 364 days. Closed Christmas. L Mon. to Fri. Brunch
Sat & Sun
Dress: Dress shirt with collar Sat & Sun
Credit cards: All major
Children: Kids brunch Sat & Sun
Parking: Back lot and street
Noise level: Quiet in dining room. Moderate to noisy in bar
Outdoor dining: None. French doors open
Handicap access: Yes