Inside Ivy Kitchen & Cocktails By ALICIA PRICE

In this Month's "In Good Taste" feature, our own Food and Travel expert, Alicia Price enjoys a new culinary experience at Ivy Kitchen and Cocktails. Check out the story below!

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Story and Photos By Alicia Price
Bringing a new culinary experience to the E. Jefferson community


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‘’It was important to reach out to the community, to add value...to know what the people needed.”

Detroit Native, Nya Marshall’s words left a lasting impression.

There was an overwhelming request for a swanky place to kickback with quality food without the fine dining prices. Ivy Kitchen & Cocktails fulfills those desires. Although the restaurant has yet to celebrate a hard opening, the seats had already begun to fill with the potential regulars and local professionals within minutes of my arrival. Cocktail hour was a hit. It seems the community has welcomed Ivy with opened arms.

Recently returning from an international corporate relocation, Marshall, a 20-year automotive professional and project manager, decided it was time for a career change. Adding a restaurant to her real estate investment portfolio was a new adventure with many obstacles along the way. “This was a long, hard journey but I remained positive, created a plan and worked it.” Despite challenges with renovations and funding, Ivy Kitchen & Cocktails has finally opened its doors.

Before we get into the food review (spoiler alert: I tried to lick the plate clean), let’s touch on a few other important items.

Accessibility
Commonly overlooked, the initial introduction to a restaurant takes place when trying to simply get there. Now, I don’t know about you but if it takes detective skills to locate the building or if parking is a headache, there’s a high probability that an unfavorable shift in my satisfaction scale is imminent before I’ve even stepped foot in the door. The commute to Ivy was a breeze with it being within a few miles off of two major freeways. Parking, however, may be of slightly lesser ease if patroning during peak hours, as expected with most places. This is just something to keep in mind.

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The Ambience

The walls are lined with booths covered in plush royal fabrics. Creamy butterscotch leather chairs and brass light fixtures add personality to this cozy yet posh establishment. Approaching the decor from a consumer’s perspective was a top priority for Marshall. The goal was to create a sleek date night ambience while offering a welcoming experience for the solo diner. Mission accomplished. It was evident that thought went into each detail; from the purse hooks at the bar down to the lotion in the men’s washroom. As a self-proclaimed ambience snob with an appreciation for luxury, mood lighting and a soundtrack that complements, I must say...I felt in my element.

The Customer Experience
Good customer service is a non-negotiable for me. It is the bare minimum and at times, the determining factor of how frequently I give my business. The staff at Ivy exceeded all expectations. Imagine the comfort of talking to a longtime friend who’s knowledgeable of the menu, gives recommendations of favorites and anticipates any and every need. My experience left nothing to be desired.

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Oh, The Flavors

Cocktails, Mocktails, Wine and Beer
Most notable on the cocktail menu were the Mocktails, which ironically, are more frequently ordered (with the addition of an alcohol pour) than the actual adult libations. My recommendation for a crisp refreshing beverage: the Rosemary Blueberry Smash, a shaken mix of blueberries, rosemary, lemonade and a few extra ingredients. If you are a Cognac appreciator like myself, the Hennessy Jalapiña, a well-blended balance of sweet pineapple juice with jalapeño heat is a must try.

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Now let’s discuss this eclectic menu; a fusion fare of Spanish, Italian and Caribbean cuisine. Very hands on with the curation of this menu, in collaboration with executive chef Davante Burnley, Marshall wanted to bring a food concept that is not widely familiar in the Black community. For starters, I had the Argentinean Shrimp Bruschetta, Honey Roasted Carrots and Mezcal Wings. I didn’t think I’d ever appreciate carrots as an appetizer until now. The honey balsamic glaze in contrast with the saltiness of the pistachios paired beautifully. But those wings; they stole the show. Wings are a staple on most appetizer menus and often times are..boring. However, since my visit, I find myself randomly thinking about the smoked tender chicken spun in the blueberry mezcal sauce. They were that good.

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Simply put, the entrees, the NY Strip Steak and Short Rib Stroganoff, made me want to kiss the chef.

One word. “Wow.” The only thing I literally could say for about 45 secs after tasting the perfectly seasoned NY strip steak. They say that a well-cooked steak doesn’t need anything extra. Well “they” would have appreciated this piece of meat. Equally as delicious is the Short Rib Stroganoff. The tender short rib atop of the pappardelle pasta had me scraping the plate to savor the last bits. I am on a quest to try everything on this menu.

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Ivy Kitchen & Cocktails is highly recommended!