Signaling LIC’s transition to a higher-key Manhattan-esque nightlife scene, trendy Shi serves up nightly DJ parties, stunning skyline views, and a lavishly elegant décor that packs the house with Long Island City’s most fashionable crowd. Dion reviewed Shi for the June issue of Ins & Outs Magazine, and was forced to enjoy sushi, sake, and dancing all while sipping his bottomless cucumber ginger martini. Poor baby! Read the review below:
4720 Center Blvd., LIC, 347.242.2448, www.shilic.com
Though it’s situated across the East River, Shi Restaurant has an undeniably downtown Manhattan feel. Opened in September ‘08, this new eatery is a trendy, stylish, and surprisingly affordable addition to LIC’s dining scene.
Shi’s chic interior seems like something only a professional designer could have pulled off. A modern fireplace warms a hidden corner of the restaurant dubbed the lounge, perfect for a bottle of wine with friends or a first date. On Friday and Saturday nights hip young professionals pack the bar while a DJ spins from an ornate wood turntable overlooking the loft-like space. Come summertime, ask to be seated outside – Shi’s waterfront location provides unobstructed views of the midtown Manhattan skyline – and keep an eye out for Shi’s soon to be launched dim sum and mimosa weekend brunch.
You would never guess it by the crowd or feel, but Shi is family owned, operated, and designed. The beautiful modern art was painted by, believe it or not, a cousin. The traditional menu is inspired by a small noodle shop the owners grew up in. The chandeliers and sleek bar don’t scream mom and pop at first, but with a careful look around you quickly discover that below the lacquer façade, Shi is a relaxed and homey restaurant with great food.
Shi’s Pan-Asian menu offers everything from Vietnamese soup bowls and Thai noodle dishes to a full sushi bar. Though many of the fried rice dishes are a bit heavy, the sushi is some of the freshest around. Try the wasabi roll with salmon and avocado topped with wasabi-soaked caviar. Pair this spicy roll with a reviving ginger mojito, one of Shi’s signature Asian-themed cocktails. Lychee calamari is one of the more inventive dishes on the menu; tiny pieces of lychee are batter-fried then served with the crisp ringlets to put a delightful sweet Asian twist on this popular starter. The mixed ceviche is another crowd pleaser, featuring fresh tuna and yellowfin sashimi atop a light vegetable slaw. For dinner, try the sake infused cod. It is one of the more expensive dishes on the menu at $19, but well worth the price jump. The alcohol-rich sake breaks down the cod as it marinates, leaving a tender and buttery filet that is then steamed with ginger water and served on a bed of sautéed bok choy.
With appetizers starting at only $3 and large bowls of chicken udon for only $9, it’s a wonder Shi can maintain such a large and beautiful space. Because the hole-in-the-wall you got delivery from in college is almost just as expensive, Shi is the perfect place to grab an affordable weeknight dinner or enjoy a cocktail on the weekend.
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