In the space that once housed the popular P’cheen, and more recently Last Word, the new tenants did little to alter the restaurant’s interior when they opened Cast Iron. Still anchored by a retro L-shaped bar, the restaurant’s deep teal walls provide a rich background for white-framed artwork and boxy white leather chairs paired with natural wood tables.
LC and I decided to give Cast Iron a try for my birthday. Naturally, we started with cocktails, both of us choosing the refreshing No Diablo, a tequila cocktail with lime, ancho pepper, angostura, and grapefruit soda.
We shared six courses, hoping to start with a snack of hot and sour house made potato chips flavored with cotija cheese, grated cured egg yolk, and katsuobushi made from dried fermented tuna. However, the soup and salad arrived first. A creamy chowder made with pureed corn was topped with cubes of silky smoked scallop ceviche, especially good with the chips.
I have always loved Humboldt Fog, a goat cheese with an ash line through the crumbly center, surrounded by a slightly bitter rind with a creamy interior. The menu at Cast Iron offered a salad of gem lettuces, smoked onion, pine nuts, and pickled strawberries, with a chunk of warm Humboldt Fog which I ordered, of course.
Although Humboldt Fog is not usually served melted, I was curious to see what would happen if it was. But I didn’t get the chance as the slab of cheese was rather cool. Perhaps the creamy edge had seen a flash of heat. Maybe. The ingredients of the salad work in theory but were overpowered by the extra-lemony dressing.
Snack, soup, salad, starter…a snapper appetizer was the next course of our well-rounded meal. The thick filet’s sublime flavor was enhanced with smoked buttermilk, celery and fennel, with the bright citrus accent of grapefruit wedges. Although nicely prepared, it held no surprises.
We decided on one entree, the house made rye spaghetti with pork shoulder, collard greens, and burnt onion. Toothsome al dente’ pasta wrapped itself around fork-tender hunks of slow-cooked pork shoulder. Flavorful collards and onions formed a makeshift sauce. It was hearty and satisfying.
Since it was my birthday, I was hoping for an extravagant dessert, however, the offerings at Cast Iron exemplify their motto of “nothing too fancy”. So I chose the poached pear smartly paired with a chunk of crunchy granola and whipped cream. Perhaps this particular pear was overly ripe as the texture was a little mushy, but it satisfied our sweet tooth.
701-5 Highland Avenue 404-228-2005