Shade is certainly not a new restaurant to the Heights. In fact, it is not new to my wife and I. We had been to Shade once before moving into the neighborhood. I couldn't say when, but it had been a while. We had gone on the recommendation of a client of mine who had gushed about the burger. When we got there, we were told the burger was a lunch only item. We were disappointed. The food we had was very good, but since we lived in the medical center, we never made it back.
But, after starting this blog, I was really itching to try it again. We did the other night. We were not disappointed. The food was very tasty and the wine list also showed depth. Our server was informed, attentive and accommodating. The atmosphere was simple and comfortable. A great place to dine.
My wife and I were seated at a nice table despite not having a reservation. We were greeted promptly.
The beer list was small but varied. Belhaven was my pre-dinner selection. A Scottish half liter served with a pub glass. Nice.
The wine list also showed variety and intuition. We found St. Supery Virtu for $48. Delighted, we shared a bottle with dinner. It is fantastic and very well priced. We also observed the wine buyer, or we assumed so from his comments, serving a tasting of Coturri to the table next to ours. Unfortunately, we were not offered a sample, but I have worked with the Coturri family's products before and they are excellent and frankly, rarely seen here in town. A lure, quite surely.
We started by sharing the Campechana. The lump crab meat was huge and fresh. The shrimp were cooked perfectly and the plantain chips, sliced lengthwise, were much lighter than many places. Well done!
The soups we sampled were a simple chicken soup full of chicken and vegetables and a tomato soup, roasted, with a pepper oil, I believe, as garnish. Both were delicious.
The entrees were very nice, as well. I had the Pork Chop which was juicy and cooked just past medium. Excellent. My wife had the vegetable plate. Although she enjoyed the selections, especially the heirloom tomatoes, the plate was, in some strange way, too large and heavy for a vegetable plate. The portions were copious and the inclusion of fried vegetables seemed too weighty for this application. In my vision, a vegetable plate should be light and modestly portioned, a reflection of the philosophy of the dish. You may disagree.
No dessert was ordered as we had an evening engagement.
The server was skilled at her profession. She was a bit stretched. There were two servers covering the dining room which consists of close to 25 tables. But she was not flustered and we never felt lost. She was informative and let us dictate our own pace. She was friendly without being intrusive. Her uniform was not crisp. The blue jeans as a uniform choice do not bother me, but a crisp shirt is a must. She never told us her name.
The restaurant was clean and comfortable. The bar is dimly lit with a view of sublimely quiet 19th street, while the dining room is open and lit for comfortable dining. The restrooms were clean and attractive.
There is no music. I am not sure about that idea. When a restaurant is busy, the noises themselves create an exciting ambient energy, but with reduced overall traffic and less ambient noise, a silent dining room can seem austere or stand-offish to some diners.
Overall, we really enjoyed the visit and will return soon. The food and service are very good and the location, for us, cannot be beat.