The Urbanspoon reviews for 80th & Ivy Wine Kitchen were so mixed, I didn’t know what to expect in terms of the quality of the food. However, as I’m starting to ignore anonymous and/or infrequent reviewers, I wasn’t too worried. Thankfully, L and I were pleasantly surprised at the of service and ambience of 80th and Ivy.
Judging from the female to male ratio, I’d say this restaurant was quite the chick magnet. Who can blame them? The restaurant was pretty, in a Martha Stewart sort of way. The lower level room was bright with natural light streaming through the large windows. The furniture and walls were a clean white and beige combination. In contrast, the main dining room was darker, but it still felt spacious. I particularly liked the metallic lamps cascading down in the middle of the floor and the large, open kitchen.
Our server, Marco impressed us with his knowledge of the menu and overall service. He asked me a few questions about the type of wine I enjoy at home and he suggested a glass of the petit verdot ($12), which he described as soft, full-bodied, heavy wine. Marco joked if I didn’t like the wine, he would drink it for me. Yeah right, like that would ever happen. I noticed that when Marco wasn’t with his customers, he was polishing wine glasses and looking for things to do. I also noticed that no other server was in the same league, so hopefully in our next visit, we’ll be lucky enough to sit in his section.
The first dish we ordered was the Tenderloin Bites ($13) with togorashi mayo. The pan-seared meat was well-marinated, flavourful and juicy. The marinade had a great kick to it, I didn’t even bother dipping the meat into the mayo.
Next up was a small order of the Meat and Cheese platter ($15).
The platter consisted of prosciutto, salami, a soft, hard and medium cheese, crostini, two types of olives, and a spoonful of mustard and fig. I love the fig condiment – it tasted like it was mixed with sour plums.
We enjoyed the Duck Two Ways ($14). The phyllo spring rolls was my favourite of the duo – it was hot and the wrapper melted in your mouth. Both the croquettes and spring rolls were jam packed with shredded duck meat. The meat was a little dry, but the fig condiment added some moisture to it.
Our favourite dish was on that Marco recommended – Pear and Gorgonzola with caramelized onions and kale ($15). The flatbread was drizzled with balsamic and honey. The cheese was warm and creamy and trickled over to the edge of each piece of flatbread. I love the kale – it help to cut into all the richness of the ingredients. We also liked the sweet notes from honey balsamic and soft pieces of pear.
L and I enjoyed ourselves and look forward to our next visit. The food was tasty and service was fantastic. I also plan to start my friend’s stag party at 80th and Ivy. I think we would blend right into the Lillith Fair.