A quaint restaurant in Williston Park, Ivy Cottage evokes a country home in Ireland or Switzerland, with low-beamed ceilings, copper pots and pans on the wall and lace curtains.
“I like country,” says chef/owner Joe Lester, who opened the restaurant 13 years ago.
Ivy Cottage – a popular appetizer is jumbo lump crabmeat Napoleon – layers of crispy wonton skins, jumbo lump crabmeat, ripe avocado and sliced tomato, served with a balsamic reduction ($15.95). Specials include the sautéed North Shore Little Neck clams with Portuguese chorizo, white wine, garlic and green sauce – intense and rich ($15.95).
Lester is an avid fisherman and fresh fish is always on the specials menu. Whatever is delivered from his fishmonger is what goes on the menu that night. Fresh Montauk stripped bass and Montauk black sea bass were recent choices ($28.95).
Every evening there is a special risotto such as grilled shrimp with pesto risotto served with spinach, white truffle oil and shaved Regiano Parmesan ($28.95).
Duck is one of the favorites of customers and Chef Lester generally prepares eight ducks each day (16 portions) and more on the weekends. “Our customers love the way we roast it,” says the chef, who has been a fan of duck since he was a kid. “All that dark meat between the crisp skin is a perfect blend.”
It’s important to start with a great product, and Chef Lester gets his white Peking ducks fresh from Crescent Duck Farm in Aquebogue.
Duck and several other choices such as pork chops with sausage stuffing, old fashioned pot roast with egg noodles or bratwurst with potato pancakes can be had on the Twilight menu, served from five to 6:30 pm, Sunday through Thursday. For $23.95 diners get a choice of soup or salad, entrée and dessert with tea or coffee. Typical desserts are carrot cake, bread pudding and apple crisp.
Chef Lester justly takes pride in the fact that at Ivy Cottage they butcher their own meat, make their own sauces, and bake their own desserts.
38 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, NY 11596, 516-877-2343
Hours: Open for dinner 5 p.m. until closing, Tuesday through Sunday. Off-premise catering is available.
Prices: appetizers are about $15.95 while specials and catches of the day range from $15.95 to $28.95. A special Twilight prix fixe menu is available Sunday through Thursday for $23.95.