I've lived in So. Cal. long enough to be considered a native (since I was 2), and I've been to many of the 'upper level' restaurants in and around L.A. (Alex, Michaels, L'Orangerie (sp), La Hermatige, Valentino, etc.). Well, I finally decided to try The Ivy since it has been around forever and haven't really heard too much about it.
Well, as I said in the subject line, never again.
First let me tell you that when I pay $100 per person for a meal I do have some expectations, they are strict but appropriately so, I do belive.
Okay, here's the scoop.
When we go out for a nice dinner, I always bring a bottle from my cellar, which is an important part of my meal. Some places are excessive in their corkage fees but I pay them without complaint for the priviledge of bringing an aged wine I will enjoy. So I picked out a nice 1982 Bordeux. However, The Ivy does NOT have a corkage and patrons CANNOT bring their own wines. Strike one!!!
I checked out the wine list and only a few aged wines, with astronomical prices existed. The more recent vitages (2000) were also up there. I refuse to pay those inflated prices for wines too young to drink. We ended up ordering the Hess "select" chardonnay for $29. The cheapest wine on the list.
Also, when we go to the 'nicer' places, I feel that we should dress appropriately. No jackets or ties, but I had on a silk shirt with dress pants, and we were all dressed nicely. I was offended seeing people in Jeans and almost "T" shirts. What's up with this?? I know it's Southern Calif. and we're casual, but Jeans?
I don't remember seeing anyone in Jeans at Michaels or Alex or Bristro Gardens or even Granita (which is more casual). Strike two!!!
We were seated immediately to our table, in a small nicely decorated room with about 8 tables. Immediately my ears were offended by a baby of about 2-3 months old in a high chair crying. Then, right next to me was a woman holding a child of about 3 years, who also started crying. I'm sorry folks, when we go out to (again) 'nice restaruants', we leave the kids at home. They don't enjoy these types of eateries, the parents don't enjoy the distraction of entertaining the children at an expensive meal, and most of all, those who left their own kids at home do not want to hear other's people's kids wailing. At least, I certainly don't. Strike three!!
Okay, we haven't even looked at the menu and I'm not happy. We ordered mint Julips and Gimlets. The mint juleps were good if you like that kind of drink, too strong for us. The gimlets were good, just a little ovepowered by the earthy minty taste. Each drink was $11.75.
The appetizers were okay, Ceaser Salad ($13.75), crab cakes and cold asperigus (don't remember the prices).
All okay, but nothing special.
For the main course, I had NY Steak, ($36), 2 had lobster ravioli, and one person had Lobster w/Risotto ($47).
The steak was good sized and cooked correctly (charred rare). The flavor was good, but Arnie Mortons or even Ruth Chris (not one of my favorites) are better. Those with the lobster dishes said they were good, not great, just good.
Dessert, I had the hot fudge sundae, good but way too little fudge and whipped cream (came in little containers). My wife had the cookies, basically dry and tasteless.
The waitress was friendly, fairly attentive and not pretentous as many others (Michaels, Jiraffe, Geoffrery, Rive Gauche) are.
The bill was $326 for the four of us. I left 18%, or a total of $385.
I'm sorry, well actually I'm not, but when I pay those kinda bucks I want a little more than what we got.