Third Avenue Ale House, 1644 3rd Ave, 10128
As a rail head I was long overdue for checking out the 2nd Ave subway. Originally proposed in 1920 three station service started in Sep 2017. When will the rest be completed, who knows? For now I was headed to the end of the line at 96th street. A part of town where the Upper East Side meets East Harlem.
I walked around a few blocks looking at window posted menus. My desire for the lamb burger stayed forefront of my mind. Third Avenue Ale House was the call, although had it been a few hours earlier breakfast at the Barking Dog would have been my choice.
I walked into the gastropub finding it immediately pleasing. The beige walls are also partially exposed brick, wood and iron. Edison like bulbs bathed the pub in a relaxing gold hue. I had arrived after the lunch rush, before the happy hour crowd and was told to seat myself. I set up my typical perch with room to spread out and see everything. The front half seating is almost exclusively high tops, the back dinning room is standard height seating. Wood back chairs with minimal seat padding but I was never uncomfortable.
I started with a Clyde Mays bourbon old fashioned, standard presentation with regular ice cubes quick to melt and water down my drink. Ahhh, it was tasty though. The appetizer menu had some interesting items among the usual choices. I ordered the Truffle Rosemary Popcorn then took my time looking through the menu. Interesting salads for those who eat salad, add chicken to any for $5. A few times I was tempted to deviate from the Lamb Burger. One of the specials was a Mushroom Risotto, oyster and shiitake mushrooms with green peas, truffle oil, shaved parmesan. I've got this obsession with good risotto lately. I decided I'd order it as a side dish. The Lamb Burger, ground lamb, fresh herbs and spices, tzatziki sauce on an English Muffin. I opted for the garlic sautéed green beans over the fries for $2. Ordering was fast and friendly with both the bar tender and waiter working in tandem.
Music is contemporary rock at the perfect volume to give the place some energy yet still hold a conversation. Stuff like Believer by Imagine Dragons or Always All Right by Alabama Shakes. There are a few muted screens around broadcasting games and ESPN cackling hens.
The Chateau Sainte Michelle Mimi Chardonnay arrives just before my main course. It was decent on first sip, by the third I was really enjoying it. The Lamb burger arrived without the tzatziki sauce but unfortunately the fresh herbs and spices weren't enough to carry it. It wasn't terrible, the meat was moist and tender just lacking something. Add the sauce and it tastes like a gyro on an English Muffin, not that there's anything wrong with that in my book. The Risotto was pure pleasure. I intended not to scarf it all down as I had dessert to review. I left a morsel or two. I finished my deep dive into this gastropub with the Gelato Tartufo, artisanal vanilla and chocolate gelato with a liquefied raspberry center & chopped nuts, hand dipped in rich dark chocolate, finished with a raspberry drizzle. Now just what in hades am I supposed to say about that? Pro Tip, let it sit for about five minutes then enjoy. A dessert perfect for sharing. I may have to bring Mrs. Columbo to the ale house during outdoor seating season for the popcorn, risotto and a cool chardonnay.
Damage before the gratuity is $85. Keep in mind that is an appetizer, two entrees, two adult beverages and dessert.
Yes, I went to an ale house and didn't have beer. They have 18 on tap that rotate through the seasons and nearly 50 different bottled beers. You'll find something to like.
The water closet was an ample size, well stocked and clean.
As I sip on my tea, Earl Grey, hot. I promise this will be mostly spoiler free. I'll assume you've seen a trailer or two.
Star Trek Picard opens with a whimsical scene of fan service. A welcome mat for fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation that may have tuned out of Discovery. I dare say it will pull at the heart strings of many NextGen fans. I'm pleased to say the appearance of Data is not just some token cameo.
Any reading about Picard during the run up to the series premiere mentions Patrick Stewart having more influence on the production than he had back in the NextGen days. Sir Patrick Stewart has taken up the cause of rescue dogs, specifically pit bulls. We are quickly introduced to Picard's four legged companion, Number 1. Whom we get to see plenty of, Picard even speaks French to his dog!
Next is the opening credits and theme music. A departure from standard five year mission productions. The orchestral music and imagery is soft. Giving us little hint of the dangers ahead, more about the narrative of fixing a broken man. This Picard is broken. A broken old man of diminished physical ability. Living in fear that his spirit is rapidly diminishing. All while projecting grace and dignity in public. A public figure, a living legend preferring to hide at his vineyard.
Patrick Stewart created a minor controversy while doing press to promote his new series. Saying that Star Trek Picard will tackle the issues of "Trump and BREXIT". Which promptly offended half the internet. That statement of Stewart's is backed up with a scene of a tense television interview with the retired Admiral. Star Trek has a rich history of discussing issues worthy of debate through it's sci-fi lens. This scene carries on that tradition giving us one of the more powerful performances of Stewart in the episode. Frankly, the scene is done well, some people will choose to be offended.
River Tam...excuse me Dahj (Isa Briones) shows up at Picard's vineyard chateau looking for safety. Safety that only Picard can provide. This is when we're introduced to the core element of the series. Picard begins to realize he may have purpose other than tending to vines, other than counting down the days to his bed ridden death.
We then get to see some of Star Fleet headquarters in a beautiful 24th century San Francisco that has solved the homeless problem. We get another powerful scene with Picard and River Tam...apologies Dahj. This exciting scene nearly tuckers out Old Man Picard.
As the episode begins it's conclusion Picard just starts to grasp the notion he'll need a Firefly class starship and a crew to man it. We then get a scene introducing new characters aboard a Romulan Reclamation site. The dialog is a little hokey but the visuals will have the NextGen fan exclaim whaaaaat???
I think the first episode can carry the person who normally doesn't seek out sci-fi. For the NextGen fan you're all in.
4 stars out of 5.
We get a preview of upcoming episodes. Picard puts together a rag-tag smuggler's crew! Fat married Riker! Picard plays with a Rubik's Cube! 7 of Nine is back kicking ass and taking names! Yeah, I'll keep watching.
The roaring twenties have begun. There is an excitement and feeling of optimism as we start this new decade*. What can you expect to see here? More breakfast and lunch reviews from eateries all across the NY metropolitan area, Boston and Philly too. More film reviews. More reviews of stuff to do when the sun is up. Some bonus content as I peel back the curtain a bit, I have fitness goals too.
I'm going to renew my membership with the New York Transit Museum. They hold events and excursions that I'd like you to know about. I'll also explore the Brooklyn Heights neighborhood the museum resides in.
I'll be checking out SPYSCAPE the 007 inspired interactive museum that I suspect is overpriced. I hope I'm wrong.
I'll also reacquaint myself with Manhattan's grand classic museums. Places I haven't visited in twenty plus years.
Some of the other Paper Shade Studio contributors are debuting in this new year. Malaise Muscle will focus on cars of the Disco years. These cars may have not been fast but they sure looked fast, while still managing to be fun. You'll also see reviews of modern cars, everything automotive. The American Libertarian will examine the hot issues of the day from an independent perspective that isn't Democrat or Republican. Occasionally even expressing frustration with the 3rd party that is libertarian with a capital L.
*Technically the new decade starts next year.