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Monday, August 8, 2016

New Restaurant Review: Ironwood in Laguna Hills

Recently tried out the new Ironwood Craft Cellar in Laguna Hills. Ironwood opened a few months ago to much hype, especially since their sister restaurant, Vine, in San Clemente is a south county favorite. I've been to Vine several times and agree it's a great place with consistently well made flavorful dishes & fabulous craft cocktails. Needless to say I had VERY high hopes for Ironwood as it's a much closer drive from Tustin to Laguna Hills. ;)

Upon first arrival, the location itself is a bit of a let down as it's located in a typical suburban
shopping center, parked in the corner and easy to miss unless you were actually looking for it - which of course, we were. Once inside though, it's a whole 'nother story as the interior is decorated with stone and reclaimed wood accents which make for a very warm and inviting dining ambiance. As you walk back to the dining room, you have to walk past the bar area which appeared quite popular on the Saturday night we were there with lots of people sitting at the high top bar appearing to have a good time. The dining area itself is lined with booths and tables in the center.  There is also a wrap around covered patio that looks perfect for a romantic evening with lovely views of the nearby hilltops - not a ton of seating out there so make sure you request that when you make a reservation if that's your preference.

Chicken Schnitzel
At first glance, I was quite happy to see that some of the signature items from their sister restaurant were included on the menu here. The pork schnitzel is something I often crave on the menu at Vine as it's cooked perfectly which just the right amount of breading and the perfect seasoning. Trust me, it's not easy to find this German favorite done so well! At Ironwood, they do a version with jidori chicken which is equally amazing and well done - HIGHLY recommend this dish folks! Also borrowed from Vine are the highly revered crispy duck wings and the yummy fried green tomatoes w burrata cheese. You can't really go wrong with either of these favorites!

English Pea Agnolotti

Noteworthy items exclusive to Ironwood that we tried included the Enlish Pea Agnolotti which translates to handmade little bags of perfectly cooked pasta bags filled with sweet English peas tossed in a decadent brown butter sauce and topped with goat cheese & little slivers of basil. These were amazing and are a MUST order for the table as starter. 

Fabulous Bone-In Ribeye
Entrees we tried included the bone-in ribeye served on a bed of smoked blue cheese mashed potatoes and lovingly topped with a flavorful sauce bĂ©arnaise. The sauce is what sets this dish apart here as it pairs really well with the marbled meatiness of the rib-eye. Yes, I know rib-eye should be able to stand alone and it does here as well but the sauce just adds that extra little bit of 'umph' to each bite.  

Greek Seabass

We also tried the pan roasted Greek sea bass which was served on a pillow of Russian banana potatoes and topped with a lovely almond, picholine, orange and coriander vinaigrette sauce. This was a great option for someone looking for a slightly lighter dish that's still packed with a huge punch of flavor. 
All in all, I was really impressed with Ironwood and would highly recommend a visit here folks! I'm looking forward to returning soon myself to try out more of the menu!

Ironwood Cellar is located at 25250 La Paz Rd in Laguna Hills.
More info can be found on their website:

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