This will be one of my few visual aid-free restaurant reviews, but oh well: Had a chance to check out the new Shady Lady Saloon at 14th and R. Their “thing” is twofold: first, no TVs! Second, they do old skool – like way old – cocktails. The lack of TVs could explain the light crowd on Sunday night given that we were there smack in the middle of the NBA championship game. The cocktails, however, did not disappoint. I enjoyed a Pim’s Cup – just the way I would in England, cool and full of crisp cucumber and fragrant herbs. Cocktails are all around the $8 mark which makes them very close in price to the menu items.
I would recommend the tomato soup at $5. I didn’t get details on it, but I would guess it was free of cream even though it had the traditional creamy texture (vegans or lactose intolerant diners should check, of course). Bonus for being garnished with a grilled cheese sandwhich (no really). My husband and I shared the soup and each ordered the Cobb Salad. At $7.50 it was a relatively good salad value, with it’s pleasing straight lines of ingredients and ample bowl size making mixing easier and less messy. I was surprised, however to find the dish remarkably bland. That sounds harsh – but it did lack any real flair. I wouldn’t call it bad, though. I originally asked for my salad with dressing on the side but was persuaded to go for it as-is by the server who said it was better tossed and was dressed with a light hand anyway. Maybe too light, in this case.
The venue also hosts regular live music acts in the spacious, warehouse/saloon-chic interior. I love live music, but I wondered why both acts on Sunday felt the need to use all available amplification when the wide, hardly-full room probably could’ve experienced their sound just fine without any electronic help whatsoever. Translation: it was LOUD – too loud to engage in much meaningful conversation among our table of seven for very long. Maybe they could turn it down a wee bit during the dinner hour? Then everyone could enjoy both food and entertainment without sacrificing good companionship along the way.
Lastly: the hunt for a good burger in the new R Street complex continues, according to my friend who gave the Shady Lady burger a tepid so-so review. I told her not to rely on Burgers and Brew either – unremarkable, especially when there is better in town.