Restaurant Week - Iron Horse 2.0

Earlier this year I went to the Iron Horse/Brackers Tavern in Glendale and didn't have a very good visit. The food wasn't good, the service wasn't good, it just wasn't so good. But I have a lot of friends that live in Glendale and they begged me to give it another shot.

Restaurant Week came around and Iron Horse has a new chef, new menu and they've sort of merged the "two" locations. Brackers Tavern is the upstairs and Iron Horse is the more formal area downstairs. Previously they had two separate menus but now it's all one menu. The upstairs does have $6 apps during happy hour, etc...

But - back to Restaurant Week - here is a link to the full RW menu.

Here's the outside patio area - it's on the parking lot side. It's a nice view - looking onto the courtyard and local businesses.

Dinner started with a basket of bread and crisps. The crisps are really great - well seasoned. The bread was also tasty and came with seasoned butter. The butter was really just plain butter with salt and seasoning sprinkled on top. It was pretty salty and I love salt. But - the butter was soft!

We were greeted with an amuse buche. It was a salmon mousse (I think - it's been a week) and tasted like flavored cream cheese. But it was good - two perfect little bites.

My friend went for the Sweet Tomato-Basil Bisque w/Blue Cheese Croquette. I took a bite or two. The bisque was just okay - it wasn't near as tasty and flavorful as the Red Pepper Bisque I'd had before. My friend did greatly enjoy the croquette. It was very very cheesy!

Also - I'll say now - the service was IMPECCABLE. The server was clearly very very knowledgeable and very accommodating. One of our guests had to leave to take a business call. He then brought out the courses for us but held his back and then accommodated us again when I had to leave early. It was night and day compared to my last visit in the service department!

Because I have to get something different, I chose the Steamed Mussels w/Sweet Chili, White Wine and Basil. They were good. I think I like my mussels cooked just a little longer. They weren't raw but maybe "rare". I'm not sure whats ideal in the culinary world but for me - a little rare. But the broth that they were cooked in was very tasty. I dipped every mussel in the juice and it added a lot of flavor.

They also had Matt Snow, a Frank Sinatra impersonator, performing upstairs. There was also a Marilyn Monroe impersonator mingling with guests - not sure if she performed as I had to leave early. He was okay - not sure how much he sounded like Frank but he was entertaining the above 50 crowd nonetheless. (Our table was the youngest by at least 30 years.)

Onto the next course. I think we each wish we had each others! My friends selected the Spinach Salad w/Fried Onion, Bacon, Egg & Maple Vinaigrette. I had a bite - the onion rings were perfectly cooked and I thought it was great!

I chose the Iron Horse salad (Pickled Red Onion, Goat’s Milk Cheddar, Pecans, Blackberry Vinaigrette). It was fine...I liked the other one a lot more.

One of our party got the Pan Seared Tilapia w/Warm Lump Crab & Brussel Sprout salad & Lemon Brown Butter Vinaigrette. I had a couple bites - it was okay but not wowing by any means. I kinda think if you're bringing people in for Restaurant Week - you should try and wow them - at least a bit.

Two of us chose the Braised Pork Osso Bucco w/Roasted Garlic Whipped Potatoes & Sauteed Spinach with Apples & Bacon. This was wowing! First - it's beautiful. Second - it's delicious. Third - it's enough for 2!

They also had a Vegetarian Spaghetti and "Meat"balls. The Osso Bucco was just too tempting to resist.

Overall the food quality and service was much better than my last visit. I still think the prices are too high and apparently - they cater to the over 50 crowd. It depends on what the goal of the owner is - does she want only that crowd? Does that crowd sustain the costs? I'll let her decide that.

Here's my beef - and it's across the board for Restaurant Week - if you're bringing people into your restaurant - maybe you should serve things that are actually on your menu! The soup, mussels, spinach salad, tilapia and osso bucco - none are on their menu! (At least according to the website.)

It doesn't make much sense for me to come and try your food if none of that food is actually on the menu?! I loved the Osso Bucco and want it again...but it's not on the menu?!

But again - much much better time than my last visit - so job well done on improving food and service.

Iron Horse Inn on Urbanspoon


  1. I think if you call yourself a "food critic" or whatever it is you do, you should know something about what you are talking about.... First, butter with bread service should be soft. who wants to fight with hard butter straight out of the fridge? Second, I was there the same night with the sinatra guy. Our amuse bouche was red pepper mousse (looked the same, how do you confuse red pepper with salmon I don't know. Third, to say something that is blue cheese is cheesy is just rediculous. Fourth, you REALLY liked several things and several were ok, how do you justify 2 stars? Finally, I thought it was the point for restaurants to be creative and do different things with restaurant week. How are you to say what restaurant is about?

    However, I completely agree with you on the pork osso bucco, spinach salad and the service. As a long time vet of the Iron Horse I have to say they have come a long way and I give the 4 STARS.

  2. Butter - um duh - I love soft butter. I've bitched and bitched and bitched on here about restaurants with hard butter.

    You're right - it was Red Pepper mousse. Honestly - I wrote it a week after I went and it wasn't on the online menu so I forgot. Was going back and forth and remembering just off pink color - SORRY!

    Third - oh well I like cheese!

    Fourth - um - I gave it 3 stars...not 2. The fourth star is reserved for things that are extra special - like a really great price or an orgasmic food. Neither of which was had at the Horse.

  3. My first visit to Iron Horse earlier this year got 2 They moved up a whole star.

  4. "restaurant week" menus aren't actually meant to feature items that are normally found on their menus. the purpose is to venture above what they normally house. the purpose is to pthe boundaries and allow for creativity, freedom and abnormality in the style of the chef's mind. featuring an item casually found on their menu would be pointless because a diner could go to the restaurant at any time and order it. restaurant weeks are aimed towards exploration beyond the already known.

    (hope this isn't offensive, it is just something i feel passionate about)

  5. I don't think that's the way it's billed to the public.

    I think it would be better if it was more of a split. I know I'd love to have that Osso Bucco again...but guess not.

    I understand that now I know what they can do and I can hope that everything on the menu is that good. But if you can perform like that - why not do that every day?

    It's not like were getting molecular gastronomy during RW. Osso bucco isn't really pushing boundaries...