Wednesday, May 20, 2009

...with a Happy Ending at Marty's Blue Room in Sheatown

It may be sacrilegious to speak of Cooper's as becoming old-hat but yes I'm gonna say it.

So with adventure in mind, S and I were looking for something more or at least a break-from Cooper's, for after-show Saturday. I spotted a place over at mybeerbuzz (thank you Mr. MyBeerBuzz you can always be counted on to serve up tasty mugs of beer information) that seemed interesting so I thought we'd hop on 81 south and charge into Sheatown to try out Marty's Blue Room.

It's been a long time since I've visited Sheatown and it brought back many memories for me of visiting my Dad's cousin, wife, and kids when I was a youngster--as a matter of fact, they live just off the main street beyond Marty's Blue Room. I still remember the delight of visiting to see their famous Christmas lighting displays which were always gigantic and magnificent, yet designed in a tasteful way....

Anyway, we parked on-street just after five and went inside. I was forewarned that reservations were strongly suggested for weekend dinner, but thought to myself: Hey! How busy can this place be in an out-of-the way place like Sheatown? Well. I thought wrong and it took all of the Polish charm I could muster to wrangle a table, even at this early hour!

Proceeding past a long bar with a back bar display boasting a cache of ammunition casings and a few guns that would have made Charlton Heston envious, we walked to the back where we were seated in a booth in the intimate dining room that was already half-full just after opening. This is always a good sign.

Of course, beer being necessary for proper digestion, that was our first stop: The Beer Menu. I knew ahead of time from Mr. MyBeerBuzz that Troegs was in the house and yet my eyes were magically and mysteriously drawn as they always are to the delectable taste feast described on the menu. With the onset of Summer, there was really no questioning anything beyond Troegs Sunshine Pils--a fine brew that I had enjoyed many times before from the famous Tazio Beer Meister--last summer perhaps, a simpler and more carefree time for certain. S chose the Ithaca Apricot Wheat which I sipped and also consider a fine and sweet Summer nectar.

For an appetizer, I had heard some murmurs of fondness for the corn and crab chowder, which, by golly, turned out to be deserving of not murmurs of faint praise but shouts of joy. This is a real gem here--where the roasted sweet corn and sweet crab morsels combine into perfect complement. One plus one equals three with this one.

Personally, I was hankering for steak and quickly settled on the 16 oz choice center cut strip special (medium rare). S went for a regular cut Delmonico (medium). Sides of Cole slaw were on tap for both of us, and I being something of a Cole Slaw connoisseur (in addition to sausage, bacon, and beer), found the serving to be ample, chilled, and just the right coarseness (not finely grated, thank you). Semi-sweet, semi-tangy, semi-creamy. The way it should be.

When the chops arrived, my center cut was almost hanging over the sides of the plate with the vegetable of the day, green and yellow string beans and baby carrots arrayed alongside it occupying almost the remainder of the plate. A small hibiscus flower adorned, graced, and colored our plates. I admit to being no horticulturalist; it may have been something else but hibiscus sounds nice to me! S had a side of creamy mashed potatoes, Cajun Tater I think it was, that disappeared before I had a chance to sample it.

The steaks were perfectly prepared and mouth-watering tender. My side of vegetables were fresh, slightly firm, and not overcooked into a sodden morass of limpness (as they sometimes are when not attended to properly in the kitchen).

This is a casual restaurant with bar that provides a pleasant ambiance. There are many framed photos adorning the walls with probably many great stories behind each and every one.

The wait staff was attentive but got busier and busier as our dinner progressed. As we left there was a short line of people waiting for a table.

I would like to see a few more beers on the menu, something a bit spicier to stand up to the beef menu items. But I always ask for more beer choices, so what else is new?

All in all, a worthwhile experience. I will be back to savor some Cajun delicacies next time.

Three fingers up for A Bronx Tale and Marty's Blue Room.

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