For decades, dinner and a movie has had expectant moviegoers juggling reservations and film start times.
But that tradition is getting a twist thanks to a new theater and restaurant in Dobbs Ferry — as we discovered when we took in “Wonder Woman,” the it movie of the summer, while enjoying the culinary delights of the iPic Theater.
Opened in May, the 580-seat multiplex is among the new spaces in the budding Rivertowns Square development. Along with the eight-screen theater, the Boca Raton-based iPic launched an adjoining 4,600-square-foot, chef-driven restaurant, City Perch Kitchen and Bar — allowing moviegoers to order dinner or drinks while screening the latest blockbuster.
The seasonal, American eatery mixes cool sophistication with inviting warmth. A recent visit found the bar area mostly illuminated by the open floor-to-ceiling windows that line the restaurant’s front. A more formal dining area is situated behind the bar, while a large patio gives diners a chance to enjoy their meal outdoors.
An extensive beverage menu of local craft beers enables diners also to step outside their comfort zone. You’ll find no Budweiser or Michelob here. Instead, our knowledgeable waitress, Kyla, gave us hints as to what selections might suit our taste.
My guest decided to try a Radiant Pig Gangster Duck. With a name like that, how could you resist? It offered just the right amount of sweetness. I sipped on a Checkered Cab Blonde Ale, which we were told is one of the restaurant’s most popular brews.
The dinner menu seemed just as varied as the beverage offerings, with a surprisingly wide array of seafood options and pizzas.
We started with tuna crudo, which came with a delightful fried avocado and was drizzled with yuzu aioli and chili oil and topped with sprouts.
Never able to say no to a restaurant’s signature sandwich, my guest chose the Perch Burger, which featured a thick, juicy beef patty, slices of crispy bacon and a red onion marmalade. A side of fries was served warm and perfectly crispy. I chose something from the sea — a line-caught sea bass served over a tasty zucchini and eggplant ratatouille and basil pesto.
A salami and arugula pizza was the unexpected hit of our evening, offering the perfect blend of cheeses and a pleasant kick from sliced pepperoncini.
The menu is a bit pricey for portion sizes. Most small appetizers range from $14 to $18, and my ratatouille felt undersized for the $26 price tag.
But though dinner had come to an end, our night was just beginning.
We make our way to the adjoining theater and took our seats. But to call them “seats” seemed like an understatement. Our two-person “pod” was stocked with blankets, pillows, space for our bags, a table and fully reclining leather chairs.
iPic brands itself as a luxury theater and I don’t find that description off the mark. While in the ladies’ room, I actually heard a woman exclaim, “These are the bathrooms? I want to live in here.”
Because we chose “premium plus” tickets, we were treated to unlimited popcorn. Buttons within the pod enabled you to beckon one of the servers — called ninjas — to deliver menu items, from nachos and sandwiches to beer or cocktails.
It seems to be a theme for the venue — both food and drink menus for the screening rooms were extensive and wide-ranging, featuring items like filet mignon sliders, lobster rolls and sushi.
Reclining in our lounge chairs evoked the feeling of enjoying a cozy movie night in your own basement — that is, if your basement happened to be fully equipped with a 50-foot screen and servers.
The only downfall of our visit was a single group of chatty teenagers to our left who seemed to feel as though the relaxing environment gave them permission to have a few louder-than-necessary conversations of their own. (If only Wonder Woman herself had come down from the screen to silence them.)
Despite those few chatty moments — and the accompanying “shushing” from other moviegoers — the theater remained surprisingly quiet despite the ninjas performing their duties.
Maybe it was the top-notch service, my delivered glass of Rosé, or perhaps it had something to do with watching Wonder Woman battle the bad guys and break through a male-dominated genre.
In any case, my evening at City Perch and iPic was truly one of the most fun nights I’ve ever had at the movies.
For more, visit ipictheaters.com.