After 14 years as Shade, 250 W. 19th Street is experiencing a dramatic change of hue. Alice Blue may be in the same space as its predecessor, but think of it as more than Shade 2.0. Owner Claire Smith remains onboard and has retained her focus on making the restaurant and community gathering place and on serving local, seasonal cuisine.
And yes, parts of the restaurant are indeed blue, a tribute to Alice Roosevelt Longworth, Theodore Roosevelt's oldest daughter. Influenced by the song "Alice Blue Gown," from the musical Irene, Longworth created a trend for sporting the azure shade. But she's perhaps best known for coining the oft-quoted and misquoted phrase, "If you can't say something good about someone, sit right here by me."
In the dramatically remade space with window seating up front and plenty of space to convene around the bar surrounded by art, cocktails mostly conceived of by consultant Sean Jensen, formerly of Public Services and Hay Merchant. Those drinks are mostly updated but not completely reimagined versions of classics, including a Kir Royale, a Sazerac and a Paloma. Food comes from the mind of Kent Domas, whose other kitchens include those at Down House and Bernadine’s. He got help on recipes from chef Jason Vaughn, who will open a restaurant in EaDo with Jensen later this year.
After a first taste, we'll happily sit by Alice Blue any day.