This has happened to me a few times now. After turning the ignition off for a short time I am unable to put the car in gear when restarting. The button on the side of the shift lever will not push in, as though a lock is not releasing. So far by waiting and trying again repeatedly I have been able to drive again. I don't think this has ever happened when I first start the car in the morning.
Transmission "sticks" when restarting. on 1997 Lexus ES300
by sheinpdx in Beaverton, OR on March 11, 2011
ANSWER by patrick mannion on March 11, 2011
Around the gear shift lever there is a small black rectangular plug you can rove that and use a key or small screwdriver to "over ride" the gear shift lock. I suspect the solenoid control or circuit that prevents you from starting the engine in gear. Sometimes they stick if coffee or liquid has been spilled around the shift lever.