2015-05-06 / Restaurant of the Week

Woodhaven House

Celebrate Spring and all its many reasons to celebrate, be it Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, a Graduation, Communion, or a special Anniversary or birthday. Woodhaven House is the perfect venue for life’s celebrations as well as your average weekday. This classy, upscale pub serves excellent food along with big servings of warm, Irish hospitality, thanks to John Cregan and his “luvely” staff. Woodhaven House is prominently located on the corner of Woodhaven Blvd. and Fleet Court/63rd Drive in Rego Park and offers valet parking. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the fine cuisine, drinks, and very reasonable prices, including the weeknight Prix Fixe 3-course dinner.

A massive, oval bar, crafted of dark wood wraps around two main dining areas, and there are plenty of quiet nooks for intimate dining too. Fine, etched glass, rich wall covering, draperies, and soft lighting complete the look and invite you to enjoy this friendly, neighborhood pub. A private party was underway with accommodations for 35 to 50 people, so book your party soon.

Meanwhile, my dear Aunt and I settled in for a great meal. A signature WH martini is mixed with Malibu coconut rum and blue Curaçao for an exotic concoction. Mango martinis, Cosmos and all your favorite cocktails are mixed by the skilled barmen, and of course, there are 15 beers on tap and 14 more varieties in bottles so you’ll certainly find your favorite here. The wine list covers several countries at low prices.

I really appreciate a one-page menu and Woodhaven House’s menu covers it all: meat, chicken, fish, and pasta entrées, great salads and their famous thin crusted pizza too. Chef Hugo Contrerras is to be commended for his execution of so many delicious dishes. We started with an appetizer of tender crab cakes with mango relish, served on mixed baby greens and sweet corn with a dollop of tartar sauce ($11). These delicate crab cakes gently panfried and are full of sweet crab meat and perfectly seasoned. Plump, sea scallops are wrapped in smoky bacon then finished with a teriyaki glaze ($10). I can’t say enough good things about Chef Hugo’s oven-roasted BBQ baby back ribs. You can order these tender ribs as a first course or an entrée and you’ll be amazed at how easily the succulent meat falls off the bone with just a nudge of your fork. Best of all, the zesty, tangy homemade barbecue sauce is so good, you’ll use the warm rolls to soak it all up, as we did. The pork dumplings are hand made with delicate wrappers and served with spicy chili sauce and are great for sharing, as are crispy coconut shrimp with orange dipping sauce ($12).

Woodhaven House salads are so substantial, they could be a meal themselves, such as the classic Cobb topped with grilled chicken, bacon, egg, bleu cheese, avocado and tomato drizzled with red wine vinaigrette. Soups of the day are made from scratch, like the hearty beef with chunky vegetables.

I’ve been coming to Woodhaven House for the last seven years and am happy to report that all my favorite dishes are still on the menu and better than ever. The entrees include a gorgeous center cut pork chop, grilled to perfection and served with scallion mashed potatoes, fresh asparagus and garlic sauce, which my companion soaked up swiftly. The pork is farm-raised, very tender and flavorful, served thick and juicy. Kudos for the popular Osso bucco, a caveman-sized pork shank that’s slow cooked for hours to render the meat impossibly tender and falling off the bone in a savory reduction that dresses the fettuccine that accompanies it ($23). There’s also an impressive rack of New Zealand lamb with a crispy crust of pancko breadcrumbs and Dijon mustard. French cut chicken breast is a nice twist on classic comfort food, served with baby spinach, whipped potatoes and garlic sauce ($20). We admired our neighbor’s Steak frites grille, a pub classic prepared au natural or topped with peppercorn sauce and crispy fries ($23). Try the certified Black Angus sirloin, 12-ounces of high quality steak, cooked to perfection, with or without peppercorn sauce.

There’s always fresh fish at Woodhaven House, and a nightly special such as the pan-fried salmon with capers and tomatoes. From the menu, Atlantic salmon is prepared your way, either blackened, broiled, barbecued or Teriyaki with mixed baby greens, citrus vinaigrette and fried onions. Shrimp scampi is served with jasmine rice to soak up all the delicious white wine and garlic sauce.

Take advantage of an economical Prix Fixe menu for just $24 served Monday through Thursday from 3:30 to 11:00pm. This amazing deal includes an appetizer, entrée and dessert. Lunch is on Monday to Friday with sirloin burgers, fajitas, chicken pot pie and Guinness pie. Weekend Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 12pm to 3:30 with fabulous selections such as eggs Benedict, smoked salmon with eggs, huevos rancheros, Belgian waffles, WH French toast and a hot turkey Reuben sandwich.

Our lovely server, Grainne, described desserts such as warm apple crumb pie a la mode, warm chocolate lava cake, poached pears, key lime pie, and Junior’s cheesecake. Coffee and after dinner cordials pair well with any of them.

Woodhaven House is open seven days a week for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch Saturdays and Sundays. Dinner is served until 11pm but a Bar menu is available for late night munching. Check their website for special events and live music. For a relaxing, superior meal at a fair price, visit Woodhaven House, where their house is your house. Slainte!

63-98 Woodhaven Blvd.
Rego Park • 718.894.5400

www.woodhavenhouse.com

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