2008-10-15 / Restaurant of the Week

Woodhaven House

63-98 Woodhaven Blvd. Rego Park • (718) 894-5400 www.woodhavenhouse.com

a meal at Woodhaven House is a treat for all the senses. On a recent Saturday evening, the entire restaurant was buzzing with joviality from families and friends dining together, while a surprise birthday party took

over the bar area. Owner John Cregan, Rose

and the entire professional staff were on hand to ensure everyone's pleasure at this upscale Irish pub that serves delicious steak, chops, fish, poultry and pub favorites.

Woodhaven House is going on five years at its prominent, corner location on Woodhaven Blvd. The interior features rich, dark wood, fine etched glass, tray ceilings and upholstered seats, lending a regal air to this fine establishment. The service is exemplary, as delivered by Christa, and you'll feel warmly welcomed at Woodhaven House. Speaking as someone who dines out often, I really appreciate one-page menus. It usually signifies superior, consistent execution of each dish, and allows for nightly specials that are truly special. Woodhaven House appetizers feature pan-fried crab cakes with mango relish. Resting on mixed baby greens and sweet corn with a dollop of tartar sauce, these delicate crab cakes are delicious. Plump sea scallops are wrapped in smoky bacon with a teriyaki glaze that finishes them ($8). Mussels are available two ways; with roasted garlic, olive oil and white wine or with the chef's zesty marinara sauce ($8/16 entree). Seafood stew, composed of little neck clams, mussels and scallops in an aromatic saffron broth, make good use of the delicious rolls brought to your table, with which you'll soak up every drop. For a real treat, try the oven roasted barbecued baby back ribs with Woodhaven House's own bourbon sauce. These tiny ribs are so tender, the meat just falls off the bone. Freshly tossed salads can be ordered as a first course or an entrée when topped with garlic shrimp, sliced sirloin steak, blackened chicken or tender calamari. The Woodhaven House chopped salad includes mixed dried berries, fried leeks and citrus vinaigrette. One of my favorites is the arugula salad topped with warm goat cheese, crumbled bacon and herb balsamic vinaigrette.

While we savored our appetizers along with a bottle of reasonably priced Chianti, the professional chef and kitchen staff were busy preparing the main courses. My dining companion's rack of double-cut New Zealand lamb with a crispy crust of pancko breadcrumbs and Dijon mustard was cooked to perfection, Classic steak frites grille is a pub favorite, prepared straight up or with peppercorn sauce and crispy fries ($19). The true meat eater will certainly enjoy the certified Black Angus sirloin, 12-ounces of high quality steak, cooked to perfection, with or without peppercorns. Sauteed chicken piccata with lemon and capers or a perfectly roasted half chicken with pan gravy are both great choices. Entrées come with your choice of potatoes, rice or freshly steamed mixed vegetables.

Fresh Atlantic salmon can be ordered blackened or barbecued with mixed baby greens, citrus vinaigrette and fried onions ($21). The fish special of the night was pan-fried bronzino with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, lemon and white wine. The menu features sesame crusted tilapia fillet, served with jasmine rice and ginger glaze, a light and flavorful meal ($21). Chicken and shrimp scampi is tender and savory, served with white and wild rice in garlic and white wine sauce.

Desserts are also special at Woodhaven House, where they are proud to serve Junior's impossibly creamy cheese cake, key lime mousse pie, and my favorite, house made apple crumb pie, served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Woodhaven House has a fabulous Prix Fixe menu for just $21 served Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 11:00pm. You'll choose either the soup of the day or a salad to start and one of the evening's special entrées, followed by dessert and tea or coffee. Weekend Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 3:30 where you'll choose among breakfast items such as Swiss cheese, ham and tomato omelets, smoked salmon with eggs, grilled sirloin and eggs or a traditional Irish breakfast with all the sausages and potatoes. If you prefer, sink your teeth into the Woodhaven House Burger, the grilled chicken and Portobello mushroom sandwich with melted mozzarella or the quiche du jour.

Woodhaven House has live music on Friday and Saturday nights and is a perfect spot for a private party up to 75 people. Book now for your upcoming Holiday party or any special occasion.

Woodhaven House is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch from 12:00 - 3:30 Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner is served until 11pm but the bar stays open until 1:00am, where you can get some tasty late night snacks. Woodhaven House offers fine dining in a classy, comfortable setting, right in the neighborhood.

Slainte!

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