Ivy in Dewey: Exquisite Food with a View…and Lights to Knock Your Socks Off!
The beautiful restaurant building at water’s edge in Dewey has had quite a few makeovers in the past decade, but I have a strong feeling it has finally discovered what it wants to be. Last season’s Venus is now Ivy, a new restaurant and bar that’s part South Beach, part Manhattan, and all Rehoboth Bay and its sunset views.
In a complete architectural transformation, the interior has been given a clean, functional design, made spectacular by the use of white walls, and, at the ceiling line, white bookshelves and hundreds upon hundreds of white hardcover books—in a nod to the Ivy League. These walls and their books are then splashed in an ever-changing light show, with hot pinks and greens and changing colors. The effect is stunning for dinner hours, then, as the evening progresses, the lights become bolder and bolder, offering a spectacular show. Laser lights and LEDs are added, and the bar area is cleared for dancing. The lights reflected in the bay front windows, combined with the natural sunset, provide a spectacular show that’s part Mother Nature and all high tech. Lightshows, books, a water view, it’s a writer’s paradise.
Not to take anything away from the food! Ivy, the brainchild of owner John Snow and Highway One, with the kitchen under the expertise of Supervising Chef Peter McMahon and Chef Casey Hayes, is a hot concept restaurant that pays off.
The kitchen offers a tapas-like menu, where you can graze with cocktails, enjoy a full meal, or stop by late night for a snack. And the food is all inventive without being overly cute, remarkably prepared and presented without feeling forced, and finally, most importantly, deliciously decadent without a heavy price tag.
The concept is simple—16 different one or two-bite sized dishes on the menu, which can be purchased ala carte or as part of an entire meal. The choices range from a Soft Taco with Ahi Tuna and Avocado ($4.50) to a Snow Crab Claw ($1.50) to Seared Tenderloin Angus Beef in Grilled Flatbread with crème fraiche and shaved horseradish ($4) and a Kobe Beef slider on toasted Brioche with Roma tomato ($3).
We got to taste these and all the rest—Saga Blue Cheese Truffle fries, $3; Garlic Roasted Jumbo Shrimp $4, so much more—by ordering The Grand Poobah: one of each of the 16 items for $50, and it was plenty for the two of us. As it is all finger food, no silverware is provided, sharing was often a little messy, but oh, so worth it.
My personal favorite was the Lamb Tootsie Pop rubbed with Coffee and Cocoa (honest), paired with Crème Fraiche and Chocolate (seriously).
Bite after bite, the flavors rang out, and each tiny dish was a true revelation. Part dinner, part surprise party. I absolutely loved the food and cannot wait to go back for the lamb chop and crab claw, or do I want the Tenderloin and Grilled grilled cheese? Really, grilled, grilled. Awesome.
Despite polishing off a Poobah, we had to check out the Dessert Fondue featuring a house made marshmallow, Italian pound cake, strawberries, and rich chocolate fondue sauce. ($2). Heavenly decadent.
As for the beverage menu, the wine selections are vast, and the signature cocktails offer as much fun as the food. I sipped a drink called The Amelia which featured Tito’s Vodka, St. Germain, and blackberry puree, among other things. Loved it. Check out the Moscow Mule or the Blue Bubbly as well. Tommy Luhr is the Mixologist, and he takes his art seriously. The bar is large and friendly, and you can sit, sip, and gaze out at the water. A perfect combo. And, like the incarnation of the site before Ivy, there are tables for dining and drinking out on the sand bayfront as well.
I can happily send you off to try Ivy, whether you want to stop in for a casual drink and appetizer or want a wonderful dinner experience. Ask for Brian White to be your waiter, as he was fun and professional and helped make our night a blast!
Dress up, dress down, dance, dine, or drink, but put Ivy on your list of places that you must try. It’s a great new life for this old waterside building, that if my history is correct, may just have been the late lamented Boat House back in the day.
Come see the disco lights now!
Ivy is located on Dagsworthy Street and The Bay in Dewey Beach. Every Sunday from 2-9 p.m, it’s Detox at Ivy with DJ Skribble. Call 302-227-9292 for more information.