On Friday night my husband Mike took Amtrak from New York City, NY to Wilmington, DE so he could watch our daughter Tory and her softball team at the Delaware Invitational Tournament. I picked him up at the train station, which is near Wilmington’s waterfront. Leave it to Mike to discover Iron Hill, a brewery and restaurant within walking distance of the Wilmington Amtrak station. This location is one of, I believe, seven owned by a privately held company that prides itself on its hand-crafted beer and good food. The Wilmington waterfront neighborhood was hopping: people who had just come from work, people going out to dinner, people walking and running along the waterfront sidewalk. And the cheers of the fans from the near-by minor league baseball game added to the party-like atmosphere.
Mike was enthralled with the beer choices at Iron Hill. He pored over the beer menu as a gourmet might over a menu that featured fine food choices. He had a short discussion with the bartender and ordered a raspberry wheat beer. Mike took a draught, licked his mustache and smiled. The beer was a winner!
The rear of Iron Hill faces the Christina River; if you sit on the patio as we did, you have a restful view of the river and marshes yet can be entertained by the walkers, runner, strollers and romantics who use the meandering public sidewalk that hugs the river. Once we were seated Mike ordered a Vienna red lager; he sipped, he considered the taste and then he smiled. My beer-loving husband was in heaven.
Iron Hill’s menu is vast and varied. You can get traditional pub fare, pizza and any number of fresh-made dinners including some yummy-sounding seafood selections if your tastes run in that direction. I started with a petit baby spinach salad, one of the evening’s specials; the small spinach leaves, bacon, hard boiled egg, grape tomatoes, slivers of sweet onion and, in a nice twist, pieces of roasted yellow peppers made for a tasty whole; I loved the sherry and whole-grain mustard dressing, but the kitchen used too heavy a hand for my taste. That said, I shook my fork slightly to dislodge some of the dressing and ate the entire salad.
Mike ordered a Caesar salad. It too was heavily dressed, in my opinion, but Mike didn’t mind; he likes his salads heavy on the dressing. Mike commented, “It’s a pretty average Joe salad. If I was a Caesar salad aficionado I probably wouldn’t be impressed.“ That said, Mike ate most of his salad too.
For my main dish I ordered from the 600-calorie menu that the restaurant offers. The teriyaki-grilled chicken breast was well seasoned and tender, but the sesame-glazed asparagus, barely cooked, was only warm and seemed to be missing the glaze. The wasabi vinaigrette-dressed greens were delicious and pleasantly balanced the teriyaki flavor of the chicken. And I loved the fresh orchid nestled next to the white rice. All in, I’d order that meal again.
Mike ordered one of the “brew house favorites”: chicken potpie. It was large and piping hot. Mike cut into it and a creamy mix of corn, carrots, peas, chicken and potatoes popped into view. Mike, after eating for a while, said, “It’s a nice mishmash of flavors. I particularly like the corn.” Spoke like a true gourmet!
If you are in the Wilmington, DE area stop by Iron Hill: You can have a beautiful river view, great tasting beer and good food. After dinner, join others and stroll along the river.
For a description of Iron Hill’s current brews on tap, take a look at the photos to your right in Flickr!
P.S. Iron Hill didn’t ask me to write this review, nor was I compensated for writing it. The End.