Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Iron Room-Atlantic City

Birthday Dinner #1

The first thought I had when we walked into The Iron Room was, wow this is small, which was immediately followed by the thought, wow, this is cool.

Located further inland in Atlantic City, New Jersey, The Iron Room sits in the back of a liquor store, giving it the feel of a modern day Atlantic City Speakeasy. We were there on a weeknight, so the crowd was light, but I imagine that reservations are a must during the weekend.

The Iron Room is known for its expertly crafted cocktails, and although our intention beforehand was to try one, we found ourselves in the restaurant on half-price wine Wednesday and well, our plans changed. 

We agonized over the menu. It consisted of many delicious sounding tapas. I feel like we should take a March Madness type bracket sheet with us when we go to tapas restaurants to help us whittle down our choices.

Due to our affinity for charcuterie and cheese boards, we started out with that.

Our board included a selection of meats, including pheasant pate, which was a first for both of us (the pheasant, not the pate). Though I can’t say that I’m a huge adorer of pate, it was pretty tasty.  I love blue cheese like other girls love chocolate. I also love that Shannon likes blue cheese less than I do, so I get to eat most of it. This blue cheese was especially good. I'm also a fan of the cornichons (little pickles). Unlike a lot of restaurants that give you a speck of meat here and a dab of cheese there, the charcuterie and cheese board at The Iron Room was huge. It could easily feed four people if not more. After consuming it, I was glad we didn’t go too crazy with our tapas ordering.

Next to arrive to our table were the goat cheese croquettes. 

We’re suckers for croquettes. I was a little surprised because I was expecting the center to be gooey-melty, but the inside had more of a goat cheese mashed potato filling. They were yummy, especially with the honey Dijon dipping sauce. If you get them, you must use the sauce.

In all of the reviews and posts I read about The Iron Room, everyone said you had to get the Udon noodle mac and cheese. Who am I to argue?

Oh my. I’m with everyone. If you go to The Iron Room, order the mac and cheese. I liked the use of the Udon noodles to give it a little something different, but the best part was the cheese. Sometimes mac and cheese can be a bit bland, and I’m not sure what blend of cheeses they use, but there was a touch of sharpness, mixed with a distinct tanginess. It was a creamy, cheesy, mouthful of delight. If it had been appropriate, I would have licked the remaining cheese out of the bowl.

For our final dish, we were presented with seared wild scallops with tahini gazpacho, and heirloom tomatoes in a parsley sauce. The scallops were perfectly cooked. As frequenters of seared scallops, we both enjoyed the tahini gazpacho, which was more like a sauce. It added something unique to the usual scallop sauce offerings. We even ate the tomatoes slowly because they were so good.

I would have to say that the desserts were a little uninspired. I got the donuts, and because I’m me, I ordered a side of chocolate banana gelato to go with them. 

They weren’t bad, but were on the dry side. The gelato helped a lot. We weren’t sure what happened with Shannon’s. He thought he ordered the assortment of gelatos, but the server brought out an assortment of sorbets. 

We weren’t sure if the server got the order wrong, or if the menu meant that they had either an assortment of gelatos or sorbets every night. Shannon said his sorbet was good, but not great. I think when go back, we’d probably skip dessert and order an additional tapas dish instead.

The next time you find yourself in Atlantic City, skip the overpriced casino restaurants, and have a meal at The Iron Room instead. Not only is the food great, but you have to give these guys points for moxie for attempting to compete with the boardwalk restaurants.  We can’t wait to go back.  

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