I won a giftcard to The Ivy in the downtown crossing and prior to that, had never heard of the restaurant before.
There were four of us for dinner and had no problem at all calling at 7 and making a reservation for 8 on a thursday night. Mark, our server, was gracious and attentive from the start. the bread service they offer was so delicious – almost in a bad way because we asked for two refills. We started with the italian butcher block and the fonduta. I was impressed with the butcher blocks offerings, prosciutto di parma (the real stuff), salami, an array of cheeses, including a really great goat cheese which paired so well with the real honey comb that was also on the platter. Mark suggested a real great body of rioja that complimented our first dishes perfectly. the fonduta had just the right amount of sharpness to creaminess and my friend, for the sake of the argument – all but licked the dish clean.
we then had arancini (fried risotto balls) stuffed with prosciutto and fontina (so creamy & delish!), the gnocchi with duck confit – this dish was neither here nor there for me, the gnocchi werent soft and pillowy and the confit was a bit on the salty side (and I advocate on salts behalf… ), black pepper & sesame encrusted tuna – I am a big fan of raw/seared tuna so naturally I loved this dish ( i didnt want to share this one… really). the tuna was cooked to perfection and the flavorss – although common and cliche – were offset with the tangy & spicy tomato sauce served with it.
by this point in our dining we had finished the bottle of wine and when we consulted with mark (our great server/personal sommelier) he brought over a couple different wines for me to taste. When I jokingly (although confident) named the type of wine that I had first tasted, mark came back with 3 more different wines for me to taste (I did not get any of them right..). After we bought a second bottle of a spanish red wine they offer we decided that we might as well order a couple more dishes. We went with the PEI mussels and the scallops with potato risotto. the mussels were surprisingly good… I was skeptical about the almond-butter, wondering if they would use extract (blah) or whole almonds. It had a very subtle almond flavor that was accented by the fresh herbs. the scallops were cooked well… perhaps more of a carmelized sear would only help the dish. the potato risotto was weird… the tiniest dice of potatoes was cooked to the same texture as you would find risotto… bizarre, but job well done. could have used some salt.
we ended our 3 hour journey with the choc souffle… rich and dark and chocolatey… amazing. for chocolate lovers only… oh i love chocolate….
our bill was just over $120 for four people, a good amount of food, and 2 bottles of wine… not bad..