5/5 stars. Taste: Simply delicious. It’s hard to find anything to complain about.
5/5 stars. Service: Friendly, attentive and knowledgeable service made a great meal even better.
5/5 stars. Ambiance: Intimate, cozy and great for a special occasion.
5/5 stars. Concept: I love the ever-changing menu and emphasis on local food.
3.5/5 stars. Pricing: Definitely on the steep side.
It’s probably a good thing that Shy Cellars is so far out of my way.
The intimate Strasburg eatery is nearly perfect with delicious food, wonderful service and possibly the best dessert I’ve ever eaten. If it wasn’t an hour from home, I could see myself spending way too much money way too often.
The restaurant is a labor of love from mother-daughter duo Sherry and Tara Schie. They describe the restaurant as “an edible experience,” and I have to agree.
The Schies emphasize local and organic produce and offer a menu that changes by the week, month or season. The menu is on the smaller side—and options vary between lunch and dinner—but I prefer that over the textbook-sized menus you find at some places. In this case, quality definitely trumps quantity.
I also appreciate their efforts to accommodate allergies and dietary concerns. When we booked our reservation, they asked about any issues or preferences in advance.
Shy Cellars is tucked into a converted house. The dining room is cozy and comfortable, with a great view of the bustling kitchen. We grabbed dinner on a snowy weeknight in February, so the restaurant wasn’t too crowded, but I’d be hesitant to dine without a reservation.
The restaurant has a great selection of wine—in case the name didn’t give it away—beer and cocktails that we couldn’t resist. I opted for the house sangria, which had just the right amount of sweetness.
We started with the drunken seafood dip ($13), a hot, cheesy mixture with generous pieces of lobster, shrimp and crab, and served with crispy garlic crostini. I happily would have eaten the entire portion solo.
Our waitress also brought a small loaf of warm, soft, chewy bread. I had to continually stop myself from grabbing just one more slice.
It was definitely soup weather, so I started my meal with a bowl of tomato bisque ($7). The rich, creamy soup was bright and comforting at the same time, and had a perfect touch of sweetness.
Dave opted for the Shy Filet Mignon ($37). The dish won the People’s Choice award at the 2018 Taste of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and for good reason. The 8-ounce, locally sourced tenderloin was flavorful and tender, with a delicious peppercorn rub and red wine demi glace. The steak arrived perfectly rare. It was topped with crispy onions and served with a bed of mashed Yukon Gold potatoes, which were creamy but could have used a bit more flavor.
It also included a side of crispy, roasted Brussels sprouts. Dave isn’t a huge fan of the vegetable, but I happily took them off his hands. They were wonderful.
I’d heard great things about Shy Cellars’ handmade pasta, so I opted for the gnocchi alla sorrentina ($16), which arrived piping hot. I burned my mouth on the first bite—our waitress did warn me but I’m impatient—and it was definitely worth it. The tender gnocchi were baked with a rich, delicious tomato sauce and topped with gooey cheese and basil. It was heavenly. And it tasted just as great when I had the leftovers for lunch the next day.
After such a rich meal, I was ready to pass on dessert. Our waitress, who was excellent throughout the entire experience, set me straight. “You can’t come to Shy Cellars and skip dessert,” she informed me.
I’m so happy we listened.
We split a piece of the turtle cheesecake ($10). It’s honestly one of the best things I’ve ever eaten. I loved the unique, slightly salty, nutty crust (a nice upgrade from the usual graham crackers) paired with the creamy cake. The cheesecake itself wasn’t overly sweet, which meant that the caramel and chocolate topping made it the perfect indulgence.
I think Dave put it best when we were talking about the meal on the drive home: “I’d eat that all the time, consequences be damned.”