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.