Friday, December 19, 2014

Iron Gate

Iron Gate offers modern American cuisine influenced by Italian and Greek flavors from Chef Tony Chittum. Built in 1875, the Iron Gate has seen a number of identities including a Civil War stable, inn, and two restaurants.  Reopened in November 2013, Iron Gate is a historical, romantic space with a rear formal dining room - with a tasting menu, red leather banquettes and fireplace - and a more relaxed vaulted carriageway, preceded by giant lanterns and home to a long bar.  Closest Metro is Dupont Circle.

Keith chose this restaurant for us to celebrate Christmas together before the big family festivities begin.  We usually like to have a nice romantic dinner just the two of us to wrap up the year, and Iron Gate fit the bill perfectly.  We were seated in the rear dining room area so that we could enjoy the tasting menu.  Four courses are offered for $60 or six courses for $80.  Through December 23rd, Iron Gate is featuring a special "Feast of the Seven Fishes" tasting menu to celebrate the holidays for $135 per person.  Though the special seafood menu sounded tempting, we decided to go for the regular six course.  While beverage pairings are available, we opted to order a bottle of white wine instead and chose the 2012 Hatzidakis, Assyrtiko, Aidani from Athiri, Santorini, Greece.  The wine was light and dry and reminded us of what we drank on our honeymoon.

As the first course, we were presented with various Seasonal Sharing Plates to include fried oysters, grilled shrimp, roasted carrots, kohlrabi slaw, braised radicchio, house made pickles, and a potato-olive focaccia.  My favorites were the lightly fried oysters, crunchy kohlrabi, and focaccia bread.

For the middle courses, one can select from items in the "Garden", "Water", or "Pasture" categories.  For my second course, I ordered the Kuri Squash Tortellini with brown butter, almond cookies, sage, and vin cotto from the "Garden."  The pasta was soft and tender and had a hint of sweetness from the squash and brown butter.

Keith ordered the Cauliflower Soup with Maine lobster, roasted cauliflower, and a curry froth from the "Water" category.  I also ate this dish as my third course.  We both found the soup to be very filling and had an interesting depth from both the roasted cauliflower pieces and the curry froth.  It was one of my favorite dishes of the night.

For his third course, Keith ate a very gamy Veal Sweetbreads with local carrots, hazelnut, and agro dolce from the "Pasture."  After his first bite, he said it "tasted like the farm." I asked, "You mean, like grass?" He replied, "No, like manure."  !?!? Despite the odd statement, he finished the entire plate and we both chuckled.

For my fourth course, I order the other "Water" option - a Tuna Crudo that was seasoned expertly, but was more seared than crudo.  I enjoyed the fennel and pomegranate salad on top that provided a bright burst with each bite.  This dish was another top favorite.

Keith ordered the other "Pasture" option - Grilled Berkshire Pork Belly with charred onion, potato fritter, and a dippy egg.  This dish reminded him of breakfast and was very tasty.  The pork belly was not as fatty as other versions and had a tender quality.

For our fifth course, we each were served Cheese with Apple Salad and semolina crostini with honey.  This dish was plated so prettily with edible flowers.  The cheese was a hard cow-sheep hybrid and had a nice tart and nutty flavor that complemented the tart apples and sweet honey.  I really enjoyed this course.

Additionally, we were treated to fresh Loukoumades - deep fried dough soaked in sugar syrup and orange blossom honey.  They were delicious morsels of heaven!

As our six and final dessert course, I chose the Apple Strudel with kiln-dried cherries, cinnamon cream, and pumpkin ice cream.  I preferred the apple slaw in the cheese course over the apples in this dessert.  But I appreciated the seasonal option.

Keith chose the other dessert option - Autumn Chestnut Torte with bittersweet chocolate ice cream and cranberries.  The chocolate was strong and was balanced by the sweet piece of toffee and tart cranberries.

All in all we had a wonderful meal at the Iron Gate.  Service was top notch with just a slight deduction in points due to a noticeable delay in our latter courses.  From start to finish, we were there for over 2½ hours.  The ambience is very romantic despite the crowded dining room, with dim lighting and a warm cozy fireplace to set the mood.  I highly recommend the Iron Gate for special 'date night' dinners and other special occasions. 

Total Rating: 4.7
Food: 5, Price: 4, Service: 4.5, Ambience: 4.5, Accessibility: 5
What Micky Eats...

What I ate:
Seasonal Sharing Plates

Kuri Squash Tortellini
with brown butter, almond cookies, vin cotto

Cauliflower Soup
Maine lobster, curry froth

Tuna Crudo

Cheese with Apple Salad
semolina crostini, honey

Apple Strudel
kiln-dried cherries, pumpkin ice cream

Plus Keith ate:
Veal Sweetbreads
local carrots, hazelnut, agro dolce

Grilled Berkshire Pork Belly
charred onion, potato fritter, dippy egg

Autumn Chestnut Torte
bittersweet chocolate, cranberries

Iron Gate on Urbanspoon

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