We've previously lamented the tourist trap that is The Sunset Strip, a destination rife with tacky bars, expensive sex shops, and over-the-hill music venues that we thought it was cool to frequent as wide-eyed tweens who didn't know any better. But we have to grudgingly admit that over the past few years, parts of the Sunset Strip have become...dare we say...almost good? With an influx of some impressive restaurants like The Eveleigh, Estrella, and The Guild, the Strip is actually becoming a destination for not just tourists, but Hollywood/WeHo locals looking for some truly tasty bites. One of those destinations is Ivory, Brian Malarkey's beautiful eatery at The Mondrian; the California-focused cuisine, seafood-driven favorites, and stylish outdoor space make it ideal for locals and tourists alike (solving the perpetual question of where to eat on the Sunset Strip), just like sister space Herringbone. Because of the patio's perfect overlook of the city, we recommend getting here on the early side to enjoy some drinks and shared bites, all while catching the sunset over Sunset.
Though the indoor space, which resembles a cozy, California-style mountain lodge (but in a modern and cool way) is lovely, the outdoor patio is the true star of the restaurant. Marble table tops, cozy booths, and bright blue accents bring a modern LA flair to the decor, retaining a sense of tranquility that feels like a respite from the bustling neighborhood. The impressive drink menu features a fairly expansive selection of wine and a more curated list of fresh cocktails, like the Old Frenchman, which was a light, refreshing, and slightly bubbly libation with a citrus-y base and subtle hints of mint. A really lovely, mild drink to sip while watching the sunset. We also ordered a "1930's Cosmo," a fairly classic Cosmopolitan was also nice.
Even though the menu features plenty of chicken, lamb, and steak, we ended up ordering mostly seafood due to their lovely Raw Bar selections. We started off with the Ahi Tartare, which despite its ubiquity on every California menu, is nevertheless a consistently solid, crowd-pleasing appetizer. Ivory's take was no exception, offering up light, thin, and crisp taro chips as an accompaniment, while the ginger, pickled carrots, and black garlic added a nice depth of flavor that is rarely found in an Ahi Tartare dish. Definitely one of our favorites out of their Raw selections.
Next, we ordered the Hamachi Crudo. Though we preferred the Ahi to the Hamachi, I definitely appreciated the addition of habaneros and lime, which lent the dish a nice hit of acid. The chips were also ridiculously addicting.
Another seeming necessity on any California-driven menu, the Kale salad was definitely a great take on this modern classic. The kale was soft yet still a bit crispy, while the quinoa and pine nuts added some nice crunchy elements. Creamy goat cheese lent needed fat to the light dish, and paired nicely with the acidic, sweet pops of tomato. It was certainly a great salad that could even be appreciated by those who aren't kale fanatics.
Finally, we ended with the Crispy Branzino, which was one of the highlights of the meal. The portion is quite sizable and perfect to split amongst a group, while the fish is nicely crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. A soy and ginger glaze was sweet and tangy, solidifying the dish as a satisfying final bite.
Overall, the meal at Ivory was a solid showing of California-style cuisine as well as go-to seafood favorites. Undoubtedly, the beautiful atmosphere and lovely drink menu won us over, and we would love to come back to sample some of the meatier offerings. If you find yourself on the Sunset Strip during sunset, you know where to go.