An Ivory Escape

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Laguna Canyon’s newest eatery provides a reprieve from the hustle and bustle 
of downtown amid airy decor and delicious cuisine.

By Bria Balliet | Photos by Jody Tiongco


Upon arriving at Ivory Restaurant & Lounge, which is comfortably situated between the Sawdust Art Festival grounds and seven-degrees, the first thought to cross one’s mind is undoubtedly, “Oh my goodness gracious, there’s parking!” However, the convenience of finding a free spot to dock your vehicle is merely the first of many pleasant surprises that await those who visit Ivory.

Crossing the threshold into the establishment, one is immediately greeted with a sense of calm sophistication. White drapes and a marble bar top contrast beautifully with the dark wood furniture, the design scheme reflecting the elegantly modern taste of owner Marsha Benson. Hand-picking everything from the serene background music to the artwork on the walls, Marsha has created an escape that offers delicious food to boot.

Prior to its grand opening in May, the restaurant staff was able to hold a soft opening weekend, which, according to Marsha, allowed them to collect valuable opinions from guests and make strategic adjustments. The result is a brand-new restaurant that already has a strong handle on its recipes and gorgeous presentation of all its dishes.

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The goat cheese and beet salad is beautifully plated with fresh greens.

To start off the meal, the Boom Boom Shrimp is a must-try appetizer. Lightly breaded and tossed in a sweet Thai chili glaze, the shrimp are delightfully crispy and surprisingly light. Or, for those who would prefer a more veggie-filled starter, the goat cheese and beet salad is refreshing and perfect for scorching summer days. Beautifully plated, thick-cut slices of roasted red and yellow beets are accompanied by a spring mix of greens and topped with creamy goat cheese and chive oil. Flavorful and satisfying, it’s easy to see why this is one of the eatery’s most popular salads.

Other starters include a lobster and shrimp macaroni and cheese, crabcakes and prosciutto-topped bruschetta. And although it would be easy to fill up on Ivory’s delectable appetizer selections, its entrees are absolutely worth saving room for.

The filet mignon portobello, for example, is served with garlic mashed potatoes and topped with sliced portobello mushrooms and a bearnaise sauce, packing tons of flavor. Another incredible entree is the braised short ribs. Tender rib meat is simmered until it is melt-in-your-mouth juicy, and then served up with savory white truffle risotto and seasonal veggies.

In addition, any seafood lover will be thrilled with the Chilean sea bass, which arrives smothered in a creamy lobster sauce and alongside fresh asparagus. Deliciously blackened on the outside, but still fresh and flaky, this dish exemplifies Abel’s talent in the kitchen.

To cap the meal, Abel offers an ever-changing selection of homemade desserts that vary based on seasonal ingredients and what inspires the chef. It is this dedication to fresh ingredients, the beautiful presentations and, above all, the delicious menu that point toward a very successful future for Ivory.

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