Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Ivy, Downtown Crossing
My friends and I were headed to see Eddie Izzard last night at the Orpheum and needed a bite to eat beforehand. My go-to for a pre-show dinner is Silvertone, but I wasn't up for the wait or the noise level last night. We ended up at Ivy, just a couple blocks away from the theater, for a mostly good meal.
Ivy is an attempt at Italian tapas. There is only one entree on the menu (why not just size and price it to match everything else?), a few larger dishes for sharing, and a whole bunch of small plates. They recommend ordering 2-3 per person, but if you're ordering pasta, 2 should be plenty.
For my meal, I had the sweet potato bisque with Italian sausage and grilled Tuscan bread and the gnocchi with pistachio pesto. The bisque was delightful, very smooth and creamy. The sausage was left in big chunks, which made it hard to eat, but still very good. Something like a topping of crispy pancetta might have worked better, though, to lend a textural contrast to the soup. The gnocchi was a knock-out. The pasta itself was ok, not terribly heavy but not light either, but the sauce was amazing - lots of crushed pistachios, basil, and tons of garlic, topped off with flakes of parmigiano. I would go back just for this dish... yum!
I also had some of the herbed frites, the arancini with prosciutto, and the steak frites. The fries were very tasty, although they got really soggy by the end of dinner. The portion was huge. The arancini were just fine, but nothing special. The steak, however, was disastrous - charred and crunchy on the outside, completely uncooked in the middle, and smothered in two (count 'em, two!) types of sauce. That one was definitely the loser of the group.
Overall, this place seems better suited for grabbing a drink and a snack. The plates aren't as small as you would think, making it hard to try more than one or two things. Also, if you're not a fan of salt, this restaurant isn't for you. Everything is heavily salted, and this is coming from a woman who thinks salt is its own food group!