The Shady Lady is one of Astoria's two new oyster bars, boasting a nice draught list and a decent hand with classic cocktails. The menu is full of bar snacks and small plates to share, many of the fusion-y sort that's gripped many of the neighborhood's modern restaurants a couple decades after the trend hit Manhattan. I am not wholly enamored with them, but I'd happily return for the more straightforward Spinach Fritters, reasonably priced at $8 for seven substantial pieces.
The crust is less drab than the photo suggests—forgive the low lighting—but it boasts a mild, craggly crunch that gives way to a feather-light filling of finely chopped spinach mixed with feta. It's an impressively green dish for a fritter, a well-made, lighter but still substantial change-up from the typical bar snack that I wish more casual bars would embrace. All the fritters require is a spritz of lemon, but some tart yogurt sauce on the side is also welcome.
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