The dishes are just challenging enough for those ordering something familiar to find something new and delightful on their plate. The duck mascarpone won ton appetizer has slices of eye catching watermelon radish, and bright and flavorful smears of a citrusy yellow tomato and ginger sauce among its many components. The won tons are also a crispy and non greasy savory meat and cheese filled example of what fried food can aspire to be.
The only main dinner course that I’ve tried at this point was a cooked to perfection grilled lamb loin and rib cut duo that was one of the most satisfying meat courses in recent memory. The look of the plate is elegantly simple with just a few herbs, a smattering of lamb jus and a round molded serving of spoon bread under the loin. The real drama of the look was the long bones of the rib chop which quickly became devoured like lollipop sticks. A crock of bacon braised mustard greens also sat upon the plate. The spoon bread was hearty with a delightful crispness on the outside, and this was one of those rare times were the greens were good enough to stand up to the other elements. The jus made the plate shine, and reductions like this are epiphanic creations in the world of food.
All desserts are made in house, and after trying the chocolate Napoleon, and a raspberry flan, I see the same consistency in appearance and flavor as the rest of the menu. The desserts are restrained in sweetness, abundant in rich quality, and works of art in appearance. The Napoleon has an aspirational caramel tower, and deep chocolate flavor. The flan is held in a cradle of white chocolate in the middle of a sea of raspberry espuma, and is a must for raspberry lovers. Even in the dessert arena, this team has something special going on.
The lunch menu also features a roast beef po-boy made on legendary Leidenheimer New Orleans bread, which is a victory for a city that has had a huge void in this arena for a good part of last year. French fries actually come on the sandwich, which sounded a bit like “slammin, jammin”(parody link) television fare, but given the fact that it was conceived by such capable minds, I tried it without changes. The fries actually added to the enjoyment, the gravy was spot on, and the roast beef was as tender as it gets. The lunch menu rotates a bit, but it seems like the po-boy and the also solid cornmeal dusted oysters might stick around. I’ve also gotten a couple of reliable recommendations about the yet to be tried Cajun Reuben.
2500 Oak Pointe Dr. Pensacola, FL 32505
After a few visits have allowed me to sample a wider variety of items, I have an ever growing respect for the extra attention that is going into the minute details of what this energetic team is doing. Yes the food is consistently terrific, but there is a larger story of why it’s so good, and it is the intense life’s energy of people focused on creativity and excellence. I have a strong sense that the look, signage, and vibe was literally built by the hands of its creators. Our local food scene is already on an uptrend, and IRON is the new face of what dining can aspire to be in Pensacola.