A couple of weekends ago, old friends of mine rolled into town for a visit. Now mind you, these old friends were the people who moved me TO St. Louis almost 15 years ago now back on a road trip to celebrate their 40th birthdays. We’re all moms. We are not into the party girl scene. We’re not putting on high heels and going to get wasted and then heading to the East side. Nope. What do we want to do? We want to go where Guy Fieri goes on “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives!” At least, that was Joelle’s mission was and who was I to deny the wishes of a birthday girl? I set parameters-we must stay in the STL metro area. Hmm. Well, that means one thing-we were going to Iron Barley!
Iron Barley is best described as unassuming. From the décor (nothing to get excited about) to the exterior of the building (looks like a dive) to the printed menu (super basic), everything screams nothing special. But that is it’s Clark Kent disguise over the Superman menu! The food at Iron Barley is nothing short of spectacular! It is unassuming, but with a depth and complexity of flavor of a much fancier-schmancier restaurant.
My picky eater son ordered the veggie pasta with the chicken, bacon, and shrimp. Amazing smoky flavors from the grilled veggies and the bacon in the cream sauce took this from a simple dish to amazing! It was still amazing the next day when I had it for lunch because the portions were HUGE! My Joe was feeling a little October-festy and ordered the schnitzel and spaetzle. Normally, he is a good sharer, but the spaetzle send him into food heaven and I was only able to sneak a tiny bite! Creamy dumpling texture with the right amount of the final pan fry made it a lovely bite!
My favorite has to be the dish I had called zarzuela. What is that? Zarzuela (rhymes with Consuela) is a lovely take on a seafood stew, taking cioppino to new levels. Combine all the good fish and seafood into one big bowl with a lovely spicy tomato broth and some funky noodles and you have zarzuela! This stuff is so good you have to take the bread and sop up the broth at the end! I am drooling right now just writing this!
Iron Barley is not a first date destination, but definitely more of a third date destination after you found out that you like the person enough to really hang out with them! Wishing you a happy tummy!
Iron Barley Restaurant
St. Louis, MO 63111
(314) 351-4500Photos courtesy of ironbarley.com Brought to you by Mills Properties!