I came to The Shop on a chilly Thursday evening, right when that golden hour was shining. The dining room was still quite sparse, since it was before dinner service. The ambiance was perfect and relaxing, with natural light coming through from their street-facing window and the warmly lit bar lighting up the back of the room. The waitstaffs were attentive and effective.
For this fall’s Restaurant Week, The Shop offers a three-course dinner for $25. The appetizers are alcoholic drinks, perfect for the now cool evenings that have come to Binghamton. The main course has four options, each a representation of the different types of meals in their usual menus — a crepe, steak, a salad and a sandwich. The two dessert options are cheesecake and an Irish coffee, perfect whether you’re stuffed and want a palate cleanser or a heavy dessert.
I started with a lavender latte, which was not on their Restaurant Week menu but is my favorite drink from them — and I still have to stay sober to write this review. My waitress was very accommodating with the off-menu order. It warmed me up after walking outside for a while, and was well portioned and not too sweet, so I could keep sipping from it throughout my courses.
For the main course I had the pulled pork sandwich, with fries and coleslaw as sides. The pork was tender and moist, cooked just right to not be mushy and overpowered by its sauce. There was a lot of filling, so much so that it was spilling from the sides when it first came out. The sandwich bread was light and warm, which makes it less rich and garnished — with a bit of pickle for an additional tangy depth.
I also got to taste The Shop’s steak frites, which were grilled sirloin served with fries. To be honest, I’m not a big steak fan since their flavor profile is very limiting, but this was served with house-made herb butter, giving it an intriguing twist. The steak itself was moist and pink in the middle, maintaining its natural savory taste with simple salt and pepper.
The fries were tastefully seasoned with salt and pepper. The pepper gives them a special warm flavor. I tried it without condiments, and it still tasted satisfying on its own, and they had that right-out-of-the-fryer crispiness. The small portion of coleslaw was refreshing and cut right through the rich and savory food, serving as a palate cleanser for the next dish.
As my food came out and the golden hour dimmed into the night, the restaurant was steadily filling up for the dinner rush. My dessert was the New York-style cheesecake, which was cold, creamy and thick. Although I often opt for less rich desserts, the dish’s composition did a great job of enhancing the cheesecake. The strawberry sauce is on the sour side, pairing nicely with the richer dessert. It retains the refreshing feeling of biting into a just-before ripe strawberry, and I drizzled it liberally on every bite of cheesecake. The whipped cream was not too sweet and very airy, which is a sign of a well-made dessert.
I would recommend trying The Shop’s Restaurant Week offerings, whether you are a steady customer or have never gone before. The ambiance combined with the price will make it a good night out, and Restaurant Week is an excellent way to gauge what they offer during usual services, which range from the usual steaks to the more refined savory crepes. Maybe it will become your next date spot!