Sunday, April 14, 2013

THE IVY Restaurant and Griill-NYC's New Casual Midtown Dining Spot

944 Eight Avenue (55th/56th Streets), NYC

Looking for a bar/bistro style eatery to watch a sports or a televised awards event-or meet-up with friends---that's not a "dive-y" bar ---but not fancy (pricey) high-end either? The Ivy Restaurant and Grill, is the latest destination from restaurant veterans-who happen to own four other go to spots along this stretch of midtown---recently opened up ---and successfully fits that niche for nearby office workers and residents alike.

Serving a full of compliment of craft beers by the bottle or on-tap,  wines by the glass/ bottle, specialty cocktails-plus a weekday happy hour...the Ivy distinguishes itself, right off-with something for everyone---with frat-bar like prices in a grown-up setting.  At 8pm on a Tuesday night---the place was pleasantly filled but not packed when we arrived with super courteous, welcoming employees serving up workers from nearby law firms, Universal Music, Hearst publishing, a few tourists---and bunch of locals ---already dressed down in casual attire.

No hunger pains needed at dinner time (and now lunch/brunch too)----as bumped up bar food---including shareable appetizers (Lobster Tacos $15, Salmon Sliders $13, a massive Artisanal Cheese selection $18) are great nibbles or starters to a several entrees like Mixed Seafood Grill $26 or Pan Seared Scallops$24, salads---like a generous Farmers Chopped salad (perfectly dressed with a nice balance of carrots, celery, Granny Smith Apples, sunflower seeds, chives and watermelon radish and feta cheese $11),

and of course well appointed takes on staples like a Char Grilled Crunch hamburger $15, Hangar Steak $26 and Whole Wheat Penne pasta with grilled chicken, accompanied by sun-dried tomatoes/vegetables $18 and the Ivy Grilled Cheese made with a more grown-up Brie cheese, avocado, mango chutney on grilled sour dough bread $11.

The Set-Up: Well laid out---exposed brick walls,  high ceilings, a huge window overlooking the street-drawing in light (a plus),  a long bar-with several big screen tvs-turned to various sports when we were there---are all to the right---with several bar height tables and leather chairs, generously spaced apart, aligning the wall to the left- with a large chevron printed fabric long banquette, some chairs and tables-occupy the more intimate, elevated back area.. seating arrangements that suit after-work drinks of large or small groups gatherings, as well as an easy date night locale. A sound track playing contemporary music is audible but mercifully no shouting needed to have conversation.

Hours: L/B 11:30-2:30, D 3PM-4AM. Also available catering---plus we could see the Ivy as a great place for a company to have a post Corporate Challenge celebration---as its a short walk from nearby Central Park.

The Ivy