What's Cookin' in Hell's Kitchen?

What's Cookin' in Hell's Kitchen?

Ivy restaurant, bar & grill in Hell's Kitchen  has a stylin' crowd, drum lights overhead, votives on the high tops and a bank of multichanneling TVs above the landing strip of a bar. But tucked at the back of its buzzy "cocktail" room, a few cozy tables and banquettes with zigzag upholstery set a stage for some very tasty food.

Thank Executive Chef Jim Hanley for a smart menu. Most entrées ($18 to $30)—mahi mahi tacos, duck breast, king salmon, hanger steak—include a generous side; and the sandwiches ($12 to $18) arrive with fries. For after-workers, the appetizers rule—from kale and artichoke dip enriched by sour cream, yogurt and Asiago cheese to spring rolls wrapping lobster or sliced steak, mashed potatoes and spinach. But sliders star anytime with tangy complements: pickles, remoulade and sriracha respectively put to pork, crab cake and shrimp.

For the festive atmosphere, credit thumping soundtracks, handsome servers (ours, of course, between auditions for musicals) and the comfort quotient of a genuine welcome. To enroll in this Ivy league, register for signature drinks like the Bohemian Rhapsody of Bombay Sapphire and elderflower or the Skinny Ginger Margarita of Corzo tequila, agave syrup and ginger liqueur.

Ivy is open daily 11:30 a.m.-4 a.m., except Christmas Day (Dec. 25), with full fare till midnight and light fare Wed.-Sat. till 2 a.m. Happy hour daily 4-7 p.m.—even Christmas Eve (Dec. 24)—features drinks specials and a DJ (Thurs. and Fri.).

Ivy, 944 Eighth Ave., at W. 56th St., 212.459.9444, www.ivybarnyc.com