Wrought Iron Grill- Father’s Day the Sequel

For Father’s Day 2009, Chris and I took my dad to the Wrought Iron Grill in Owosso at which time I wrote a review and indicated we would certainly go back. And we did, this year for Father’s Day. Despite intentions, driving between Flint and Lansing scads of times, we never made it back in between. I went back to look at my review from ’09 and am sorely tempted to just re-use most of it. We ordered different things but the similarities were striking. Excerpts from 2009 are quote boxes.

We had a number of adventures this past weekend starting with a brief jaunt to Ft. Wayne for storm-chasing on Friday night. The night ended with me driving home through that horrible downpour/second great flood/electrical storm south of Lansing. Fun times!

In 2010, we had some adventures starting with a storm encounter on Friday night. This time, though, we went to Kalamazoo for pizza, stix with dill dip a wee bit o’ college flashback (for me) at Bilbo’s Pizza. Just as we arrived in K-zoo, a fierce storm came through with driving winds and flooding rains. After dinner, we drove around town a bit, tried to go to a movie and toured the storm damage that involved power outages and trees down. Fortunately, I was not behind the wheel for the drive back to Lansing. Even more fortunately, the worst of the storms were well ahead of us and missed our house. We did take a little wind damage to our tomato plants but no power was lost.

No particular adventures on Saturday this year, we spent our time figuring out how to make best use of some special Meijer coupons to buy a new tent, air mattress for camping and fire pit grill/grate. And I made those turkey meatballs…

On to Sunday:

My parents live in Flushing, just west of Flint. We live on the west side of Lansing. I didn’t really expect my dad to drive all the way to Lansing nor did I really want to drive all the way in to Flint considering I also had a paper to finish write from scratch for class, due before bedtime. …We arrived before my dad and, following the behest of our GPS, drove right past the place and around the block to come in from the side. The restaurant is located in an old factory building/warehouse and is surrounded by several other buildings of the same variety. This area is right near the train tracks and across from the grain co-op, apparently the commercial-industrial center of Owosso, in its heyday. We parked along the side and noticed the adjacent building is the (former?) home of the Owosso Casket Company.

No GPS to guide us this year but there is a detour so we had to go around via a few side streets and ended up coming in the same way. It looks pretty much the same as last year.

After a little confusion because the hostess wasn’t listening when we said we’d like to sit outside, we grabbed a table on the porch/patio. … The al fresco dining was perfect. The patio faces east so we didn’t have to worry about baking in the sun and it was neither too hot nor too humid.

We ate outside again. Earlier in the week, in discussing the plan with Chris, he said we should go later to avoid the sun and I said something along the lines of ‘doesn’t the patio face East?’ Guess I should have checked my own blog! The confusion came this year in that the server who told us it was okay to just pick a seat outside apparently failed to tell any other staff of our presence but a waitress did come by a minute or so later. Last year we got the mediciettes as an appetizer which were only okay in my opinion so this year I suggested the Lobster, Spinach and Artichoke Dip. We put that order in then made decisions on our entrees.

After our appetizer, we finally ordered our entrees. I went with the Seafood Risotto, Chris ordered the Wrought Iron Pizza and my dad had the salmon “burger.” … Its not uncommon for Chris to change his mind right when the server shows up to take orders so this could be significant.

In the interest of trying something new this year and not particularly feeling the pasta special, I decided to order the Duck & Wild Mushroom Pizza. Chris opted for the Pork Tenderloin: bacon wrapped and served with a Michigan cherry-jalapeno sauce, sweet potatoes and seasonal vegetable. Dad got the salmon burger again. He was pretty sure that he’d gone for the salmon entrée last year but now we know. I also ordered a glass of Starry Night Zinfandel.

I’ve never had this label before, I don’t know how since Van Gogh is one of my favorite artists and the name alone should have been enough to suck me in.

The Food

Right after we submitted our entrée orders, the appetizer came out. It was not at all what any of us were expecting. Dip implies that upon dunking the chip/vegetable/cracker/bread/finger in the container, something will stick. This Lobster, Spinach and Artichoke Dip did not stick. It was almost dry with very little cheese. We actually asked if this was normal and apparently it is. I don’t expect a cheese bonanza since I’m paying for lobster, spinach and artichokes too but you can go too far or in this case, not go far enough. That’s two poorly received appetizers in two visits for those of you keeping score at home.

About this time is also when the waitress returned to inform me that the kitchen was out of duck. And you can’t have Duck & Wild Mushroom Pizza without duck! She recommended the Wrought Iron Pizza instead but that didn’t really grab me. I vacillated between the Ahi tuna burger and the Seafood Risotto before I realized that there were actually two pork dishes so I ordered Berkshire Pork Chop with creamed leeks and roasted red skin potatoes. Despite the delay in having to re-order, the main dishes came out pretty quickly. The lack of fries with the burgers noted last year hasn’t changed but it was even more noticeable this time because my plate was half potatoes! Strange. I could not possibly eat all the potatoes and I love the starches. I opted to eat the ones with the crunchiest crusts. Tasty. The other half of the plate was dedicated to the pork chop on a bed of creamed leeks with brandied apples.

Brandied apples- reminds me that we have that apple brandy from Uncle John’s and I should use some more of it.

My dish was very good overall with the pork in particular being cooked well so as to remain juicy throughout.

I could tell right away that Chris was going to be somewhat disappointed in his dish. When I said seasonal vegetable up top, I bet you presumed asparagus. It is mid-June in Michigan after all; can’t get much more seasonal than that! But, no. The vegetable serving was skimpy and consisted of what appeared to be over-cooked steamed California Blend (cauliflower, broccoli, carrots and maybe onions). His pork was good although perhaps a touch dry on the end and he also enjoyed the cherry sauce. Later, he indicated that the sweet potatoes were not great either but was not specific on the issue. Today, I was checking something on the website and noticed a picture gallery that included several menu items. Although I can’t be 100% positive, the very first dish in the gallery appears to be what Chris ordered. Except it didn’t look anything like that dish aside from sweet potatoes on one end, vegetable on the other and pork in the middle.

On a follow-up call with my dad, he mentioned that he remembered the salmon differently the previous year. We think perhaps last year they served a fillet while this year was more like a burger, ground salmon formed in to a patty. Kind of implies pre-made, eh?

I didn’t order the risotto this year but let’s return to 2009, just because it’s risotto.

I love risotto. I still reminisce over the risotto at the Townsend Hotel in Birmingham (MI) which I had at the wedding of my now ex-boyfriend’s sister six years ago. Good stuff. I make it a lot at home, look through the archives here and you’ll find the recipe for the mushroom version we like best.

I will be making risotto tonight. Its phase II in a reverse engineering project to re-create something Chris picked up last week.

The wrap-up

In 2009 I said we would have to go back to the Wrought Iron Grill soon because the waitress told us the menu changes seasonally. Of course, we don’t know how since we went again at the exact same time of year! I do have some additional motivation to return before June 2011 in that we purchased 2 gift certificates from Restaurant.com during a big May sale. We used one on Sunday to save $25 off the bill. One thing about these GCs: in some, the fine print indicates that an 18% gratuity will be automatically added on. The waitress was careful to point it out which I appreciated. That is within my normal range of tipping for restaurants of this type. I will say that slightly friendlier service would have probably earned her 20%. Not that the service was bad but I got the distinct feeling that she was slightly irritated to have to wait on us up until and through closing time. Also, she never came back after delivering the credit card receipt and I still had ½ glass of wine left.

My wine was good enough that I ordered a second glass.

It’s a pet peeve of mine, when waitstaff don’t return to fill water or non-alcoholic beverages after the bill’s been paid. We were not keeping anyone from going home as a table of diners arrived about 15 minutes before closing and it was only a few minutes past 8 when we settled the bill.

For this night, it was just nice to have a good meal and let Chris and my dad get to know each other better

Ditto again. This time we talked about my dad’s newly started consulting business and tried to figure out how we could all have a four-hour work week (google it).


After dinner, Chris decided he wanted to find a Twisty Treat type of place with his first choice being a Dairy Queen. DQ is top priority because of Warren Buffett*. Thanks to the handy-dandy Droid phone, I determined that the nearest DQ was not too close but by this time we had detoured to check out the local airport which actually appears to be quite popular with the single-engine guys. Airport-related detours are quite common in our life. I indulge it and sometimes even surprise him with directions that just ‘happen’ to go by an airfield; the gazetteer maps are awesome for this. Anyhow, after the airport drive-thru we used the phone, again, to find a local ice cream store. He got a twist dipped in chocolate and I had cookie-dough ice cream on a sugar cone. As per usual with these places, the child-size was a full scoop plus which means the single is really a double, etc. Good price though at less than $5 for both.

Details

Wrought Iron Grill Website with Menu
317 Elm Street Owosso, Mi 48867 989-472-9025
HOURS: Mon – closed Tu-Th 11a-10p Fr-Sa 11a-12a Sun-12n-8p


*Chris deeply admires Warren Buffett and he’s been studying up on his investment theories. He also points out every time we pass a company owned by Berkshire-Hathaway among other things. I would be willing to trade unlimited Dairy Queen runs in return for denying a regular request to name any of our (future) children Warren or Buffett** or Charlie or any other related name.

**Actually I may be willing to use Buffett as a middle name. Most people would probably assume we meant Jimmy since Chris is from the Florida Keys. But I fear they would pronounce it buffet and wonder what sort of freak, food blogger not withstanding, names her kid after a type of meal. This would only be a question in the minds of people who don’t know me well though. My foodie friends would be perfectly understanding if I named a child Wusthof or Forschner or ahem, Alton. Right?

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