Steakhouses are typically in a neighborhood but not of it. That’s what’s so refreshing about Ivory House. It’s both a destination restaurant and a beloved neighborhood joint in Westwood.
Ivory House seems to have been designed with that duality in mind. With its subdued cream colors, its black and white photos of the old neighborhood stretched over canvas, and its player piano tucked into a corner across from the cozy bar, the restaurant is elegant, but not lavish.
Oh, the food can get lavish. You could shell out more than $200 for a Japanese Wagyu New York Strip, but you don’t have to order hand-massaged steer for a tender, buttery cut of steak. My peppery filet mignon exceeded all expectations for the ubiquitous cut. This is a chef-driven steakhouse, where meat-and-potatoes fare is given surprising, almost whimsical touches.
Take, for instance, the wonderful breadcrumbs in the creamed corn side dish, which ate like the classic steakhouse side was well as a down-home cornbread. The crab deviled eggs, with a hint of horseradish, was another dish that pulled double duty, evoking shrimp cocktail as well as the creamy hors d’oeuvres. Such whimsy extends to the dessert menu, which includes a bourbon glazed cinnamon roll. Cinnamon rolls are a rare sighting on a steakhouse menu, but one in perfect keeping with the restaurant’s homey-yet-sumptuous vibe.
At Ivory House, such whimsy is grounded in conscientious technique. With the grilled wedge salad, the lettuce is lightly charred on the grill, so it soaks up savory steak flavor. The chicken and gnocchi entrée features juicy chicken, crispy-skinned chicken breast and housemade gnocchi cooked in a chicken confit sauce, combining three different textures of chicken into one of the most comforting dishes you’re likely to find. Why can’t every neighborhood have a steakhouse like this?
2998 Harrison Ave., Westwood, (513) 389-0175, ivoryhousecincy.com
See the full 2023 Best Restaurants list here.