A few weeks ago, I was walking down the street, and noticed that the former Spice Affair was now Ivory. This surprised me because I didn’t realize that the Main Street location was no longer open. So, I took a stroll down Main Street a couple of days later and sure enough, there was no Ivory there any more.
Ivory is now the third Indian restaurant to make a go of it in this location. Prior to Spice Affair it was Dhoom, and going back into the distant past, it was a Pizza Hut. In the days when it was Dhoom, it was a place that I visited several times.
My memories of the Main Street location of Ivory are rather limited. I went once or twice, and not much about the food struck with me, but I do remember it having a buffet area, that is larger than most other Indian restaurants.
When I walked into the restaurant I noticed that the space had been opened up and instead of two smaller sections there is one larger one. Along one wall, there is a very nice looking bar, with three TVs hung over it, which when I was there, were tuned into news programming.
The tables are spread out quite nicely, so even when the restaurant is quite full, as it was on my first visit.
The other thing that stands out is the buffet. Both Spice Affair and Dhoom had rather smallish buffets. While the new Ivory buffet isn’t as large as the one that existed on Main Street it still has several more options than either Spice Affair or Dhoom.
On the whole I rather enjoyed the buffet.It has all the elements that I would be looking for in an Indian buffet. The one item that I didn’t find all that great were the pakora, which I found to be a little overcooked. At $13.99 for the lunch time buffet, this is a pretty good deal.
Second Visit to Ivory
My second visit to Ivory I decided that I would order off the menu. One reason i did that was because I wanted to get a feel for what else the restaurant offered. Another reason for doing this is that there is a new Indian restaurant just down the street for where I live. Candlelight is the name of the new place, and as it doesn’t offer a buffet, I thought it would be good to be able to make a comparison(you’ll read that one in the next few days).
On my first visit, the restaurant had been quite full. On my second visit, even though it wasn’t quite yet one o’clock but the restaurant was only about 25% full. This made for a good opportunity to check out the menu.
I’m a big fan of lamb dishes, so for my entree I went with the Lamb Rogenjosh. The menu offers five levels of spiciness from mild to extra hot. I also wanted something for an appetizer and ordered the masala papad(not listed on their online menu). The Masala Papad is a mixture of onions and tomatoes served on top of a crispy papad. I enjoyed this, as it made for a light start to the meal.
When my entree game, there was a large portion of rice and a dish of the Lamb that was garnished with bits of ginger, and contained a half dozen larger chunks of lamb. They were all large enough that I need to cut them in half before I ate them. The lamb was fairly tender, and they came pretty close on the extra hot front. It wasn’t overwhelming, but had a good bit of heat to it, and lingered for a couple of minutes after I had finished my meal and left the restaurant.
The meal also game with a bit of salad which was a bit of a disappointment. Mainly, it was disappointing in that as a green salad, it was a GREEN salad. There wasn’t a bit of colour to it beyond the green. Typically such a salad will have a bit of red pepper, and/or a little bit of red onion. Not in this case. There was no onion at all, and the only pepper in it was a bit of green pepper.
Something that also caught my attention during my visit. was the leisurely pace at which I was able to enjoy my meal. In the past I’ve heard people talking about feeling rushed when they visited Ivory. This was definitely not the case in either of my visits. The service was quite attentive, and there was never a feeling of the staff wanting to get me out quickly.
The one thing that would give me pause is that price of the entrees at Ivory. The Lamb I ordered was $15.99, including rice and salad. While not ridiculously expensive, I thought it wasn’t the greatest value for money. The buffet seems to be a much, much better option than going with a la carte service.
Having said that, I do think that the buffet is quite a good value. Not only are there a good number of options along the buffer wall, but if you step outside the dining area, there is also a table with several dessert options that are part of the buffet. I had eaten enough on my buffet visit, so I didn’t attempt any of the desserts, but they are there if you like to finish off your meal with a little bit of sweet.