The Iron Bridge Restaurant & Wine Company - Warrenton, VA

Last weekend we had the pleasure of stumbling across The Iron Bridge Restaurant & Wine Company in the quaint town of Warrenton, Virginia, about an hour west of Washington, D.C., where we were staying for a friend's wedding at nearby Morais Vineyards.
In a town mostly dominated by chains like Longhorn Steakhouse, Chick-Fil-A and Ruby Tuesday, The Iron Bridge was such a treat.

The Iron Bridge is a serious wine bar and foodie haven, without being snobby or pretentious about it. According to their website, they feature 300 bottles of wine and 30 by the glass. They specialize in small vineyard wines and make sure to charge reasonable prices to their guests.

The interior of the restaurant is quite impressive - although very narrow, it spans three levels, which includes a rooftop lounge and a wrap-around "bridge" on the second level, where you can look down into the first level. On the lower, cellar level they offer wine tastings (on Thursday, the night we were there the tastings are free), and a chef's table. It seemed that in every nook and corner, there was a quiet, romantic table for two. All along the back wall are shelves featuring bottles of wine, like good books at a rare bookstore. After touring the beautiful and lively space, we decided to sit at the wine bar so we could chat with the "winetender" and learn a little more about the menu.

The wine bar
The wall behind the bar,
looking out to the front 

The menu, and a glass
of red
We started out with the wine flight, "You Blend Me Right Round," which featured red blends. The first was an Austrian red blend from Steindorfer, the second was Troublemaker Zinfandel Blend from Paso Robles, CA, and the third was Mongrana Super Tuscan Blend from Italy. Our favorites were the Troublemaker and the Mongrana Super Tuscan, but all three were solid wines. In my experience with wine bar flights, I usually only enjoy one of the three offerings. This was different - they were all very good.

A nice surprise at the beginning of our meal was the housemade focaccia bread, which was studded with rosemary and sundried tomatoes and topped with really good olive oil and salt. This was served warm in a baking dish and was very crusty on the outside and soft on the inside. An excellent start.

Housemade focaccia
Apple Bacon Pizza

For our appetizer we tried the Apple Bacon Pizza, which was a thin-crust small pizza topped with mascarpone cheese, granny smith apple slices, bacon, pepper, fennel and topped with gruyere cheese. This dish was genius, and absolutely perfect for pairing with wine. The contrast between the sweet, tart apples and the bacon, fennel and pepper was delicious!

For our entrees, my husband ordered the meatloaf and I ordered a special that evening, the halibut. The meatloaf was presented in the form of a filet mignon steak, and if you didn't know better that is exactly what it looked like. The outside of the meatloaf even had some texture as if it had been seared on the grill or griddle, which was an interesting touch that we enjoyed. It was topped with a rich mushroom demi glace, and served with asparagus and creamy mashed potatoes. We both thought this was an excellent dish, and at $18 or so, a great value.


Halibut special

I ordered the halibut special that evening, and I am so glad I did. It was sauteed and served over a lobster and shrimp risotto cake, sauteed kale and topped with a cilantro-ginger tzatziki sauce. Absolute perfection. The fish was extremely fresh and cooked perfectly, very moist and flavorful. The tzatziki sauce, a traditional Greek sauce made with yogurt and cucumbers, was the perfect refreshing accompaniment to the fish.

Hetszolo dessert wine,

One of the best parts of our experience at the Iron Bridge was the knowledgeable and helpful bartender, who advised us on what to order and what to drink. At the end of the meal, he gave us a taste of a deliciously-sweet dessert wine from Hungary, and even shaved off several pieces of semi-sweet chocolate to go along with it. This was such a nice touch, and we really appreciated it.

Chocolate shavings to accompany the dessert wine,
compliments of the bartender

Overall, we had an excellent evening at the Iron Bridge. We wish we lived closer so we could return more often!


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