I started a Brunch club a few years ago to meet up with my friends and coworkers at least once a month, generally on the last Sunday of the month. My job at the time required a lot of travel and maintaining relationships would sometimes be challenging so this was a way to reconnect on a monthly basis. This Sunday, I picked the Iron Bridge Wine Co. to help me complete my 2016 Challenge and have the feedback of my friends to help me. http://www.ironbridgewines.com/home
The Iron Bridge Wine Co. is located at 10435 State Route 108, Columbia MD, 21044. Opening in the Spring of 2003, the owners wanted to create a place where patrons could come and enjoy great wines, wonderful food, and lively conversations in a friendly, cozy atmosphere. Outside in the parking lot, is the Chef’s Garden where fresh ingredients are picked and served. While I was there, I saw waitress pick a few ingredients and take it back to the kitchen. Not sure how much more fresh you want your ingredients. The true meaning of Garden to Table!
We had a reservation for 12pm and when we arrived a little before noon, the door was locked. The host was there to open the door but I guess they do not open until 12pm on Sundays. My party of 5 was given a table in the back of the dining room on the right, adjacent to the parking lot. The restaurant is quaint but can hold a few people. But there is not much of an entrance so it felt a bit cramped before we were seated.
Once we were altogether, I ordered a peach bellini ($9) to start. The drink included Sparking wine, peach nectar, and raspberry puree was good but nothing to go out of my way for. The online brunch menu price was $7 but I was charged $9. Menus change but it is important to note in case you like to price out your meals. My friend ordered House Sour ($10) with Tequila, House Sour Mix, and Bitters. She was very pleased with her selection. My other friends are not big drinkers and one is pregnant so this is all I have on the cocktails topic.
Our waiter had so much personality and made us feel right at home. After we ordered our appetizers, he bought out a plate of bread rolls that were served warm with olive oil. The bread was fresh, warm, and soft! Definitely a great start to the meal! For my appetizer, I ordered Cornmeal Crusted Local Oysters ($12) with hickory smoked bacon, watercress, green tomato jam, and charred corn aioli. I was not very impressed with the cornmeal crusted oysters. The batter was too crisp for the oysters so when you took a bite of the oyster, there was a clear separation from the crust from a lack of binding. The flavors were ok but nothing specular. I definitely felt like I should have ordered the Crispy Pork Belly ($13) or the Prince Edward Island Mussels ($13) to start.
I was also interested in the Crispy Brussels Sprouts ($9) so my friend ordered it. That included caraway mustard spice, dried cranberries, toasted almond slivers, garden parsley, lemon ash, and mint yogurt crème. It was a generous serving of Brussels Sprouts in this order that was definitely a lot to share. The flavors were delicious with the Brussels sprouts but the sauce on them took away the crisp crunch I was anticipating but still good nonetheless. Another friend ordered the Deviled Eggs ($7) which included crispy chicken skins, radish, buffalo deviled eggs, and chives. The crispy chicken skin was an odd addition that I’m not sure how to feel about. The deviled eggs were tasty with a different kick to them than the norm. The chicken skin added a crunch to it that I’m not really sure added anything real flavor other than the crunch. Takes a lot of to impress me with deviled eggs since so many people in my family as well as myself can make it and the ingredients are pretty basic.
On to the main dishes! Because I was starting a 7 day cleanse tomorrow and significantly reducing my red meat and dairy intake, I decided to go out with a bang and ordered the Foie Truffle Burger ($21) medium well with bacon ($3). The burger included hand ground beef, Foie Truffle Mousse, Sottocenere al Tartufo (very pale yellow to off-white cheese with truffles that has a grey-brown ash rind. It has a somewhat mild taste and is semi-soft in firmness), crispy onion straws, Bibb lettuce on a brioche with hand-cut fries and with rosemary aioli. Unless you are using top notch ingredients that will somehow slow down my aging and maybe even make me a millionaire, no burger should cost $24! We can argue that the flavors were amazing, it was a generous portion of quality meat, the bacon was this or that, but at the end of the day, that price is too much! My burger was a bit undercooked but I decided to just go with it. Because of all the sauces and mousse and whatever, it was very saucy and messy. But again, there was nothing really spectacular about my burger! The pickle served on top was delicious though and I am always impressed when they are pickled fresh at the restaurant. It had an unexpected spice kick at the end. I shared it with another friend who enjoyed it also. The fries were tasty and well-seasoned pairing nicely with ketchup.
After much convincing, I got my friend to order the Soft Shell Crab Benedict ($20). The soft shelled crab is cooked with basil tempura batter, spinach, poached eggs, hollandaise sauce on top of an English muffin. There really was not much to report on the food presentation. On the plate was the benedict and brunch potatoes that I’m not sure if she added or it came apart of the meal. But she was not overly impressed with the dish. She felt that there was parts of the crab she could not enjoy because it was too hard for her to chew. It looked like a pretty good meal but my friend was left with more to be desired. This again reminded her of her dislike for soft shelled crab.
Next was the Steak and Eggs ($22) that I considered ordering at one point. The dish was a grilled bistro steak, cheddar chive scrambled eggs, brunch potatoes, and chipotle steak sauce. Overall, she said she really enjoyed her dish. The flavors were delicious but the steak was overcooked which left her with a very dry steak. I think she requested Medium-Well but this was border lining Well-burnt. We cannot seem to get the beef right at this meal.
A friend ordered the chicken and waffles ($19). I am always skeptical of ordering this dish at non Southern restaurants because I do not want to be disappointed. However, my friend said the chicken was outstanding. She said this several times and stressed that my blog readers know this. The dish included buffalo maple syrup, and garlic herb butter. While the chicken was some of the best she tasted, the waffle was lackluster. She said it was really hard and reminded her of a frozen waffle that was thrown into a toaster. Generally, we expect a fluffy waffle similar to that of the Belgium waffle.
Finally, my friend ordered the Strawberry Fields Salad ($13) which included baby spinach, quinoa, toasted walnuts, red onion, goat cheese, balsamic pearls, and basil vinaigrette. For dietary reasons, she ordered it without the goat cheese and stated that the salad would have definitely benefited from the cheese. Overall, it was a good salad but nothing to go out of your way for.
I decided to end my end there but two of my friends ordered desserts. One ordered the bread pudding ($8) with a cream sauce and fresh berries. The cream sauce is poured at the table and the presentation was beautiful. This reminded me of my experience at the Commander’s Palace in New Orleans. The pudding itself was delicious and the sauce was an added bonus. I would definitely order this for myself if I were to visit next time. Another friend ordered their Sorbet trio ($6) with mango, raspberry, and coconut. She enjoyed her dessert much more than her soft shelled crab.
Overall, we had a good time together and enjoyed ourselves. There were definitely more criticisms than there were praises. This restaurant is located in the outskirts of Columbia which was out of the way for a lot of us so I’m not sure I will be back soon. My total came to $47.97 and after a 20% tip, a total of $57.97. However, should I have a craving for some good breading pudding, I may just venture there again. There were a few items on the dinner menu that looked worth trying. But as a Baltimore Magazine 50 Best, it definitely left more to be desired. The following is my Seven Mac Score for the restaurant:
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Please look out for my next post as I review another one of Baltimore’s Best and make my way around the DMV area! Also, you can find me on Instagram @finediningdiva and twitter @moderndaybeauty. Also, if you would like to follow my blog to receive notification when a new blog is posted, please send your email to email@example.com.
And remember: It’s a BIG world and we are going to eat our way through it!