Monday, March 9, 2009

Iron Bridge Wine Company

In our ongoing bid to find edible food, we have decided to venture afield from Annapolis. As various posts from 2008 indicate, my opinion of local restaurants is low indeed, with the notable exceptions of Joss (for sushi), Jalapeno (for Latin food), and Osteria (for Northern Italian).

We went with our friends Donna and Mike to the Iron Bridge Wine Company in Columbia, Md., around a 35-minute drive. It was worth the trip. The menu is limited, which probably works to the advantage of the kitchen in terms of quality control. Rod and Mike had the 3-course special, which included duck breast and a nice selection of appetizers and desserts. Donna and I had a couple of starters. We both selected an excellent beet salad; I followed with mussels (fresh and plump), while Donna went for the jerk shrimp (again fresh and nicely spiced).

As the name of the restaurant suggests, Iron Bridge specializes more in wine than food. Donna and Mike did tasting portions of several wines, while we went for an excellent Oregon Pinot Noir. The restaurant also gives customers the option of selecting a bottle off the shelves, which they will open and pour for a $10 corking fee (a bit excessive, I thought).

I would certainly return. The food isn't especially innovative, but it's very well done and nicely presented. Service was efficient and pleasant. Pricing, given the quality, is reasonable. My only complaint has to do with the claustrophobic nature of the seating. Tables are so tightly packed that it's almost impossible to navigate a path to the loo and the noise can be off putting. Still, compared to our choices here in Annapolis, Iron Bridge Wine Company is a culinary oasis.

Next: we venture into Baltimore to begin working our way through the "50 Best" list compiled by Baltimore Magazine.