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Ivy at the Shore Brunch (long review)

cookie d'oh | Jul 11, 2004 08:13 PM

To be honest, I was not looking forward to brunch at Ivy at the Shore for a family birthday based on reviews I'd read. All in all, it was better than expected.

We were seated promptly at a table in the patio area. The furnishings are a bit worn down (faded floral chintz pillows on rattan chairs) in a kitschy, tropical room, but comfortable. We were provided with drink menus and currant scones served with butter and raspberry preserves as soon as we were seated. Though it says on the menu that water is only served if requested, it was served to everyone (including those for whom it just got in the way), which really crowded the table - all the ceramic tableware is hugely oversized, leading some at our table to request smaller cups for coffee rather than have the drinks get cold. Service is fine, not really doting, but not indifferent either.

None in our party ordered specialty drinks, though I did order a glass of fresh squeezed pineapple juice ($6.75) or starters (salads were in the $12-15 range), and while it took a bit before the mains were served (especially in a near-empty restaurant), everything was hot, well prepared and enjoyed by our group. Portions were large, and no one missed the appetizers.

The brunch menu is eclectic - two in our party had omelettes (one with a side of fries, the other with a side of steamed spinach), two had huevos rancheros, one had a burger ($25) with their famous onion rings ($8.75), and I had the roasted whitefish ($27). My husband enjoyed the burger, though he suggested that for $25 it should sing or something. All of the specials involved some kind of shellfish, which none in our party eat. Other things on the menu - a few pizzas, some pasta, some traditional breakfast foods, a few main course salads, fish & chips.

Desserts were huge - our table had one banana split ($15.75) which was served with a ridiculous amount of fresh fruit, as well as pitchers of hot butterscotch and fudge sauces, the sundae - similar to the split but no fruit, and the key lime pie (covered in a good two inches of meringue.) All of the desserts were in the $12-16 range roughly.

One thing I found odd about the food preparation was that a few items were served deconstructed. The ice cream sundae was a bowl of ice cream, two pitchers of sauces, a dish with whipped cream and a dish of almonds all served on a massive plate. The huevos were three stacks with tortilla, eggs, sauce and a puddle of black beans, same massive plate. Not that this was bad, just odd. I think there were 5 little bowls of condiments served on the burger platter.

For a party of 6, no alcohol, the bill with tip was about $275. The restaurant started to fill closer to noon, but never really seemed busy. Perhaps it was an ugly day at the beach, or maybe it was the prices on the menu that keeps the crowds away. It's not spectacular, but it was very pleasant and not necessarily somewhere to avoid.

Ivy at the Shore
1541 Ocean Ave
Santa Monica
(310) 393-3113

(next to Il Fornaio, across from the pier)

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