New Seafood Place--Shelly's - 104 W. 57th St.
Was very enthused to see that the middling Motown had resurrected itself into Shelly's New York Restaurant, Cafe and Raw Bar.
It's fun to try places when they're new and eager to please. So we ventured into Shelly's yesterday--and were ecstatic with the four cooked shellfish dishes we sampled.
Next time I will definitely attack the raw bar, which looked so fresh and inviting that I wished I was at an all-you-can-eat buffet.
But this time, we decided to try the prepared foods:
1. Half a dozen delicious briny clams casino (with bacon on top) where the Little Necks were definitely the main event. Not chopped up and hidden.
2. Fried Oyster en Brochette--plump, sweet oysters in a very light, crunchy batter with bacon wrapped around them.
3. Peppery salt-baked whole prawns with ginger and hot green jalopenos--spicy and wonderful! But be prepared to use your fingers. The peppery flavor was soothed down by a tasty celeriac salad on the plate.
4. A soft-shell crab sandwich (we always remove the bread) with firm, delicious avocados, tomato and bacon. Served with shoestring fries. I'm not a shoestring person--but my sister said they were good.
Service was delightful--a friendly waitress, newly arrived from Maine, was a welcome change from the disinterested waiters you often get in midtown.
We mistakenly accepted a table in the "see and be seen" front of the restaurant--just inside, where the doors open onto 57th Street's "beautiful (!!)" passing parade of delivery trucks, chugging along, brakes squealing, belching out black smoke and defying you to hear your tablemate. I never like to sit in the front or outdoors because of just this sort of thing. So my experience, I'm afraid, served to reinforce my prejudice towards outdoor dining in New York! The rear part of Shelly's looked cool and inviting--and that's where I'll station myself, next time.
When we first sat down, three obnoxious phone-cell users were circling the table near us, deciding whether to sit there--but fortunately, they moved along to the other side of the restaurant. Whew! Nothing makes me lose my appetite more than listening to the inane phone calls of people who just cannot bring themselves to disconnect from the world for a few hours. (But THAT'S ANOTHER post!!)
Anyway, please let me know of any other chowhound experiences at Shelly's. I intend to go back and try all the dishes I just couldn't manage in one go! I thought the food was terrific. Any challenges??
Sounds great, but this seems like a good time to pass along a little raw bar info. I heard this from a guy who's a marine biologist and he should know. He said that he's examined oysters, etc. under the microscope and felt that there were so many strange unidentifiable things crawling around on them that he recommended not eating any raw shellfish at all. I wasn't happy hearing this, since i had just gotten into raw oysters at the time. But i figured he knew what he was talking about and gave them up. It's not like we're shipwrecked on a desert island and there's nothing else to eat!