Howard Magazine - Page 17 - Good Eats

Howard Magazine
- Page 17
Good Eats

firm opinions about California wines).


Although wine provides the foundation for Iron Bridge, the bar takes cocktails just as seriously. We particularly admired one of the house specialties, the “Granhattan,” a supple variation on the traditional Manhattan using Grand Marnier.


As for wines, a sizable assortment of by-the-glass selections is complemented by several tempting flights (including a trio dubbed “pinot envy”). But this is the kind of place that calls out for lingering over a bottle, a choice made easier for us because it was a 40-percent-off Thursday night. We could not resist splurging on J. Bookwalter Protagonist, a powerful, yet beautifully rounded, red blend from Washington State (usually priced at $100).


Food at Iron Bridge covers familiar territory with aplomb. Buttermilk fried calamari, for example, were unusually light and gained pizzazz from sweety drop miniature peppers. The Brussels sprouts appetizer likewise popped, thanks to a piquant burst of garlic, ginger and tamari, along with a carrot kimchi and radishes.


Those sprouts could have been crisper, though, and so could the grilled flatbread pizza. But the latter provided plenty of compensation from a robust topping of garlic-herb ricotta, house-made sausage, peppers and onion.


Our entrees included a sumptuous grilled pork porterhouse, remarkably thick and tender. The accompanying sweet potato puree proved as rewarding as the braised red cabbage bursting with cinnamon flavor.


A top-quality filet mignon, finished off with a subtle red wine demi-glace, also underlined the kitchen’s expert grilling skills. Snappy green beans and a divine confit of pee wee potatoes provided perfect partnering.


The cioppino — a stew of calamari, shrimp, clams, mussels and tender-as-butter Icelandic cod — arrived in a remarkably suave broth accompanied by a grilled baguette.


Desserts kept the pleasures going. A cast iron apple crisp was a nuanced, not-too-sweet treat. A refined treatment of Black Forest cake, bathed in a cherry brandy sauce, yielded rich texture and flavor. And the silky pumpkin cheesecake mousse proved masterful.


Other than not waiting until everyone at the table was finished eating to clear away plates (an unfortunate practice now all too common), service could not have been smoother throughout. That was just one more sign of the values beneath Iron Bridge Wine Co., a restaurant that belongs on any list of the region’s best.