The transformation of Williston Park’s Ivy Cottage into Madison’s on Hillside is complete. Last week, the sleek, New American restaurant made its debut.
In May, veteran restaurant manager Kevin Madison bought the 14-year-old Ivy Cottage from its original owner, Joe Lester. Madison and his chef-partner Jeffery Slade operated the Ivy Cottage for a few months. In July they closed for a complete renovation. The new restaurant is almost unrecognizable. Trellises, tchotchkes and fake greenery have given way to neutral tones and modern fixtures.
What hasn’t changed is the restaurant’s warmth. Many of the servers have stayed on, and Madison is a gracious host. Chef Slade’s resumé includes The French Laundry in Yountville, California, Le Bernardin in Manhattan and The Farmhouse in Greenport. For Williston Park he has put together a menu of thoughtfully composed dishes that walk the line between comfort and innovation.
A few nights ago we started our meal with a refreshing chilled cucumber soup garnished with crab; a tomato salad topped with sesame-crusted goat-cheese medallions, and a hefty portion of delicious corn risotto with grilled shrimp.
Appetizers run between $7 and $15. Main courses ($23 to $33) included thyme-roasted halibut on a bed of lentils; an expertly seared duck breast with sweet-potato puree, grilled endive and spinach; a special of three tender lamb chops, each on its own garnish: mashed potatoes, snap peas, a tomato tarte Tatin. The entrees were a tad over-orchestrated for my taste (and perhaps for Hillside Avenue), but everything was very tasty.
Madison’s on Hillside is at 38 Hillside Ave., Williston Park, 516-877-2343.