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May 13, 2021


Shark Bar Restaurant, 307 Amsterdam Avenue, has no relation to the New York Sharks women’s tackle football team. Their menu is all about soul food; Southern and Cajun fare. It’s a cozy place located just around the corner from the Beacon Theatre.

Getting down to the nitty gritty, it’s all about the food. I began with an Appetizer Platter to get the most out of the menu. It consisted of crab cakes, catfish strips, barbecued grilled shrimp, harlem and black jack wings. Crab cakes were full of crab, catfish strips had a pretty fresh flavor, loved the grilled shrimp and the wings were certainly different from the Buffalo kind. Spicy enough to enjoy without needing a glass of milk to cool my mouth. Then again, I’m not into hot and spicy.

What’s Southern cooking without having a Southern Fried Chicken and Rib Combo? Now that’s a good tasting Southern fried chicken and thumbs up on the ribs! Since the entrée comes with two sides I opted for the Sweet Candied Yams and the Collards Greens that are cooked with smoked turkey. I know that this all sounds so stereotype on food, but it was exactly the fare I craved. Yes, they have desserts. I was just too full to go on. I’m not sure that they take reservations. Call them at 212-874-8500.

H2O is the chemical sign for water and the name of a fine dining restaurant out in Smithtown, Long Island. H2O Seafood Grill has Chef Scott Szekretar preparing the menu and appears to know just what to offer. Then, there is the sushi bar with sushi chef Keizo Okita. That’s where I began.

Aside from my usual sashimi I wanted to sample some the less ordinary maki rolls. A Star Roll consisted of: salmon and mango topped with crunchy avocado and spicy mayo. Aki Lobster Roll had: poached lobster, cucumber wrapped in mango and avocado. Dragon 3 Roll: Triple Threat Roll (spicy salmon, tuna and yellowtail with scallion, parsley and cilantro) topped with eel, avocado and eel sauce. Tornado Roll #1: King crab; avocado, cucumber, wrapped in fried potato tornado. Quite impressive and innovative.

Scott’s bisque needs to be entered in a few more soup cookoffs! Need I say more? I loved the chopped salad of: tomatoes, roasted butternut squash, asiago cheese, jicam, roasted garlic and white balsamic vinaigrette. As for dessert, try the White Chocolate Bread Pudding with caramelized bananas, dark chocolate ganache and vanilla ice cream. That is, if you still have room for it! www.h2oseafoodgrill.com

We’re back into Manhattan again and at Irving Mill Restaurant, located around Union Square. Although you can purchase the raw goods and baked items at the Greenmarket and sit in the park, you may want to dine in.

Irving Mill Restaurant is one of the newest upscale trendy scenes. Indulge in their tasting menu such as: Winter Vegetable Salad Creme Fraiche and Black Truffle; Sea Scallops Wild Mushrooms, Salsify and Aged Balsamic Vinegar; Roasted Lamb Loin Rutabaga, Fennel and Apricots; Chocolate Pots de Crème Pecan Pie Tartlette or Poire Williams Profiteroles Vanilla Ice Cream, Spiced Chocolate Sauce and Toasted Almonds.

Some of the other savory items are: Grilled Quail with green tomato relish, cheddar cheese grits and smoked paprika; Chicken Liver Crostini with smoked bacon, quince, arugula and aged balsamic vinegar; and Braised Rabbit with roasted shallots, balck olive, garlic sausage, rosemary and potato puree. That should give you more than an idea of the cuisine. The portions may be small, but are beautifully plated, and quite savory. You can opt to sit in the front area near the bar, where one can “be seen”. The address is 116 E. 16th Street (212-254-1600).

RIVERDANCE, the thunderous celebration of Irish music, song and dance that has tapped its way onto the world stage thrilling millions of people around the globe, will play Eight Farewell Performances at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC). Dates are April 22nd to the 27th. Tickets for RIVERDANCE are on sale now. Tickets range from $23 to $79 and are available at the NJPAC box office, online at www.njpac.org or by calling 1-888-GO-NJPAC (1-888-466-5722).

“Since 1996, the success of RIVERDANCE in North America has gone beyond our wildest dreams,” said producer Moya Doherty. “The fact that the show continues to draw and excite audiences 13 years after its debut in Dublin is a tribute to every dancer, singer, musician, staff and crew member who have dedicated themselves to the show.”

The show is on the road and if you’re unable to get to this new facility in New Jersey, you may be traveling to a venue that’s on your trip. Check out www.riverdance.com

I spoke of Shark and now it’s time to talk about the New York Sharks. Our season begins with a home opener this Saturday, April 19th. Kickoff time is 3:30 p.m. at Floyd Bennett Field’s “Sharks Football Field”, as we’ll call it, aka Aviator Sports Complex. We’re playing against the Baltimore Nighthawks, a team that just joined the IWFL. Scheduled to sing the National Anthem is yours truly.

Last week’s Whirl With Merle on www.blogtalkradio.com had me broadcasting from Branson, MO. I basically spoke about what I would be doing and had a few guests. This Thursday, I’ll be talking about what I actually did…or rather didn’t do. Go to www.merleswhirls.com and click onto the radio icon to hear last week’s show. Then tune in Thursday, April 17th at 7 p.m. EST.

April 17, 2008 - Queens Times


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