Let’s say, hypothetically, there were two new places you should check out, right down the block from each other on 24th Street. Let’s call one Italienne and the other Shay & Ivy. We’ll pretend that one is a sweeping new Italian-Provençal spot, and the other a lounge-bar-restaurant hybrid.
Now, you ready for a shock? It’s not hypothetical at all.
All right, we’ve got a lot of ground to cover, so here we’ll give you the rundown on both:
Italienne: This comes to us from a chef from the Beard Award–winning Frasca Food & Wine in Boulder and Quince in San Francisco. Good start.
Shay & Ivy: From the ambitious bar-food and cocktail folks who created Atwood.
Italienne: Two rooms replete with aged walnut, leather, rope, antiqued mirrors and two-tops. One a barroom, one more of a classic dining room, plus pastry bar and salumi bar. Take a look.
Shay & Ivy: Another two-roomer. This one’s next to the lobby of Hotel Henri. It’s got a narrow, neon-lit bar up front and an ivy-covered dining area with a skylight in back. Look at that here.
The Time to Go
Italienne: First dates in the front, third dates in the back.
Shay & Ivy: After work with some friends, Rangers games (for the TVs).
Italienne: The Taverna, up front, is for salumi, cheese and à la carte stuff like Electric Goat or roast-meat-stuffed pasta with pancetta and sage. The main dining room is strictly for the four-course tasting menu. You’ll have several options for each course (how about a menu).
Shay & Ivy: Bar food that’s better than it has to be. Think chili salmon crudo and pumpkin spice latte panna cotta.
Italienne: Two distinct ways to go here: the first is with one of the many Southern French or Northern Italian wines. The second is with a cocktail that’ll no doubt feature spirits from the same areas. Either way, they’ll be rolling a bar cart full of amaros and digestifs your way once your meal is finished.
Shay & Ivy: Cocktails are the way to go here. In fact, this very moment, we could really go for a Candelabra, because of all the mezcal, cinnamon, sweet vermouth, lemon and applewood smoke it contains. Pretty autumnal.
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