TROY — They had me at the corn fritters, but lost me on the kale. The Shop, on Fourth Street in Troy, is in the old Trojan Hardware store and retains its spirit in the decor.
You walk into the storefront, booths and tables on each side, bar on the right. Another room beyond has more tables. It’s heavily wooded and rough-hewn: floor, bar, tables, with exposed high brick walls and chalk boards for specials, with a touch of industrial chic and lots of tiny candles. Hand tools are repurposed for beer taps. We were in what was the plumbing section.
It was our second visit, a rare review with husband Eric, who drops in when he thinks it’s going to be good. Our first visit was great for me, not so much for Eric, who ended up with more cabbage than he bargained for. But the corn fritters ($6) and pork belly ($8) appetizers were outstanding.
WHERE: 135 Fourth St., Troy, 874-1899, www.theshoptroy.com
WHEN: 4 p.m. to 12 a.m. Monday to Wednesday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. Thursday and Friday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $32, without drinks and before tax and tip
MORE INFO: Credit cards: Visa. Parking on street and in lot.
The menu is commendably brief and independent, with just a few appetizers like paratha, an Indian flat bread made with whole wheat topped with roasted vegetables and raita, a yogurt-based cooling condiment ($7) in addition to the fritters and pork belly. You aren’t going to find wings or pizza here.
What you will find are wide-ranging, well-crafted, eclectic dishes that might turn you into a fan of smoky maple jackfruit “bacon,” for example. Plates, small and large, are reasonably priced. You can get the domestic Wagyu skirt steak with blue cheese, sweet potato gratin and broccoli rabe for $20.
The Shop’s selection of beers is comprehensive, and includes selections from the Rare Form Brewing Company, now a member of The Shop family. There’s a cocktail menu and whisky Wednesdays. The few wines include two whites, two reds, a rosé; well-chosen selections, mostly from California.
I enjoyed the pinot gris ($8). Eric had a dry martini with a twist of lemon made with Dorothy Parker gin. We think they would taste better in glasses with stems. The mass-market brands are with the pizza and wings.
The corn fritters delighted, again, with that thick spicy maple sauce that was both sweet and hot. The deep-fried fritters are dense from cornmeal, yellow from egg, knobby, and beautifully browned. You get enough to share.
Eric enjoyed the Coquilles St Jaques ($13), a lineup of fat sea scallops topped with Gruyere, a sophisticated, spare, but faithful version of the dish presented handsomely on an extra-long white plate. He called them, “Just right, really nice.”
Troy now has two restaurants that serve Chicken Confit ($13), the other being intermittently at The Malt Room on River Street. The Shop’s version is also the quick but very satisfactory one, prepared in hours instead of weeks.
The thigh/back piece had crisped skin, and it was heavenly. This version is served in a kale salad, with thinly sliced red onion and bulgar wheat scattered about, chunks of indifferent tomato, and kale: gorgeous, ruffly, deep green leaves fading to purple.
It was dressed to glistening in just slightly sweet pomegranate vinaigrette with mustard, a prominent flavor. Beautiful salad, but has kale had its fifteen minutes yet?
No desserts were offered that night, and the service is spare, like the menu, but attentive. The tab for our food, before tax and tip and without the drinks, came to $32.
If you haven’t had corn fritters, this is the place to get them. Enjoy Troy, and the fritters.