Nothing shady about this lady

Photos by Bradley Hawks

Opening a new restaurant in New York City can pose countless unforeseen bumps in the road, but the worst is when someone mistakes your new restaurant for an actual speed bump. Last week, a hit-and-run motorist did precisely that, driving his truck directly into The Shady Lady, which recently opened on the corner of 30th Avenue and 35th Street. Fortunately no one was injured, and the team worked vigorously to reopen last weekend, just in time to introduce brunch service.

There is only one television screen, above the bar, that plays silent films. The concept is intended to foster socializing and interaction amongst friends, with a global menu focused on plates meant for sharing.

From the kitchen, co-owner and executive chef Billy Pappas is cranking out some rather impressive creations so delectable you just might not want to share at all.

Juicy, tender, pork tenderloin medallions are encrusted in mushrooms and dijon, then baked in a flaky pastry crust. Served two to an order, these wellingtons are a definite must-try.  Meatloaf meatballs are served on a pedestal of chive whipped potatoes with a tangy tomato demi-glace.  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 sliders and pork belly taquitos, as well as lobster tacos with lime aioli, sriracha, and pico de gallo.  Mac and cheese carbonara and lobster pot pie are highlights, as well as oysters on the half shell.

The star of weekend brunch (which drew an enthusiastic crowd its premiere weekend) are Pappas’s homemade buttermilk biscuits, which are the quintessential rendering of the comfort classic. The flaky, moist and buttery pastry pillows are topped with a hearty sausage and bacon country gravy.  Or try the fried chicken version, the poultry and biscuits blanketed with cheddar cheese, a zigzag of bacon, and then a slathering of the pork gravy.   The “Back to Bed Mac & Cheese” has an actual egg baked into the bubbling crust, and eclipses almost all of the other dishes in decadence and the guilty grins it forces at each forkful.  Jack and Coke French toast is caramelized in a crispy coating and syrup of the popular beverage, served with mixed berries.

At dinner, it would be well worth your while to place an order for the classic chocolate soufflé with vanilla bean ice cream and fresh strawberries about 20 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
34-19 30th Avenue, Astoria
Open daily for dinner at 6 p.m.
Brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.