January 3, 2017

Iron Rooster

50 Shawan Road, Cockeysville, Maryland 21030

When you pull up to the newest Iron Rooster in Hunt Valley, which I initially thought before arriving, was a small mom-and-pop place to grab some brunch, you may think the owners hit the jackpot.  Aesthetically, this restaurant is huge, bright, and modern.  It reminds me of the Miss Shirley's downtown, except much larger and easier to maneuver.  When you walk in, there's a large open area with seating for waiting -- because chances are, you'll need to wait for a table.  To your left, a self-seated bar with additional host-seated high-tops.  The restaurant itself has room for over 200 guests, booths and tables alike, and plenty of large windows to let in natural light. 


I'm mad at myself for NOT letting my server know I "checked in" on Facebook and Instagram, because I definitely missed out on my free jar of bacon!  And I am still waiting to see if any of my pictures were a "favorite shot" of the week!  Let a sister know, Iron Rooster!

On the morning of New Year's Eve, I was seated after about 15 minutes at a high-top in the bar.  It was a Saturday morning, and the place was packed, but the wait wasn't nearly what I thought it would be.  I was dining alone, and felt bad I was taking up a four-top just for myself, but there weren't many smaller tables anyway.  Not to mention my server, Charlie, made me feel welcomed from jump.  I should have assured him I'm no regular one-top, and I'd probably be spending as much as a four-top would anyway.


After looking through the menu, I needed to have savory and sweet.  It was a clear necessity, despite the "sweet" aspect being severely overpriced.  (Just like the $5 chocolate milk I ordered that was served in a cup smaller than a kid's cup.)  I opted for one of their famous Benedict dishes, the "Fried Chicken Benny", as well as the "Big Belgian Waffle".  The "benny", complete with buttermilk-marinated fried chicken, housemade biscuit, poached eggs, and a black pepper pan gravy, is a generous dish that is accompanied with hash browns.  They've put all their work and concentration on the main aspect of the dish, because the hash browns left so much to be desired.  They were pretty soggy with no seasoning, however, what they lack in hash browns, they make up for in a homemade biscuit.  The best part of the dish - the fluffy and moist biscuit, paired with the spicy and crunchy chicken tenders and the gravy on top, came together with a perfectly-poached egg to create a well-balanced, well-seasoned dish that I devoured!  Subsequently, my $10 waffle was a waffle.  It was slightly overcooked, making it tough and crunchy, while I prefer soft and fluffy.  It did, however, come with a maple-bourbon butter that I would happily slather on my shoe and eat it.  So, I wouldn't pay $10 for a waffle again, but for the extra $6, I'd gladly pay $16 for a huge homemade biscuit, two eggs, two pieces of chicken, scratch gravy, and hash browns.  And maybe some toast with that delectable maple butter.  Yes, please.

This is the type of special place you take your out-of-town family members, or a group of your girlfriends for an awesome meal and cocktails, but it's not somewhere you can frequent on a regular basis.  Unless you have a separate savings account dedicated to brunch.  Which, if that's the case, call me.  Let's be friends.  Ultimately, Iron Rooster is all things I believe it strives to be.  According to their website, they aim to provide "a new twist on traditional comfort food, legendary hospitality, and a real sense of community."  I don't think they have much to worry about in the way of comfort food, their service was quick and friendly, despite the packed-house, and their sense of community will continue to shine through, so long as they keep choosing really great locations -- and I doubt Hunt Valley is the last place you'll see these guys pop up.  I'll keep you posted on going back for lunch or "supper".






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