The Spot: The Ivy
1890 West Germann Road, Chandler
The Hours: Happy hour is available daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and Friday and Saturday 9 p.m. to close.
Perfect for: Getting your Mediterranean fix in the southeast Valley
Interior: It's difficult to put your finger on exactly what they were going for with the decor at The Ivy in Chandler. The best way we can describe the design is "industrial Italian cottage" with exposed rafters and stools that look like they were made from metal pipes paired with plants potted in ornate pots and small chandeliers hanging from the ceiling.
The service was attentive and prompt initially, but as the happy hour went on, we felt more and more neglected. Even though there were about five other tables, and we waited at least half an hour before we could order food.
The Food: The Ivy menu melds American and Mediterranean favorites, and the happy hour food menu offers diners six small plates for $5 each. We went with the hummus trio, the Ivy fries, and the spanakopita.
Out of the three hummus varieties, the jalapeño was by far our favorite with a distinguishable pepper flavor but not too much heat. The Mediterranean hummus was fine, too, but the red pepper one was too sweet for our taste especially when paired with the already sweet carrots, which accompanied the dips along with celery and soft pita bread.
Though the lemon sauce on the Ivy fries was interesting and flavorful, the dish as a whole ended up being lackluster. There seemed to be paprika and cilantro in addition to the feta cheese and lemon sauce on top, but the fries still tasted like something we could have found in the frozen food aisle at the grocery store.
The spanakopita fared better; the outside was flaky, the pesto — a nice touch to update the classic dish — was nutty and creamy, and the tart feta cheese and spinach mixture wasn't overly dry.
The Drink: During happy hour, the Ivy offers $5 glasses or $20 bottles of wine and red or white sangria, $5 well cocktails, and $4 craft and $3 domestic beers on draft.
We thought the white sangria sounded like a nice, refreshing afternoon drink, but The Ivy's version was too bitter and acidic. Even after letting the ice melt a bit, we couldn't bring ourselves to drink more than half the glass.
Conclusion: The Ivy is still new (it opened in May) so maybe after a few more months some of the kinks in service, food, and drink will work themselves out. We would recommend the bartenders revisit the sangria recipe and the chefs kick the Ivy fries up a bit. Even a heavy sprinkle of black pepper would have helped. We'll be curious to try the Ivy again in a few months to see how things have changed.
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Don't Miss: The spanakopita
Skip This: The white sangria