QuickByte: The Iron Press is off to a good start. It’s soft-opening week and they are cranking out waffles and serving up some of The OC’s best brews…
So I made it over to The Iron Press on Thursday night. I spent some time over at my friends at the Portola Coffee Lab, then waited for my friends Alex and Tim to arrive. Alex showed up a bit early and we headed over to get in line. the line actually wasn’t that long and it is a self-sign in for the waiting list.
So let me start by saying this is NOT a review. They are still tweaking the menu and figuring out service issues during soft-opening, so this will not be a formal review. I will return to The Iron Press in several weeks after their official opening (Saturday 4/21?) and do a proper write up.
There were only two others ahead of us, a party of 5 and then “Irene” party of 2. Irene, I thought. I looked up and gave the place a 360 degree scan to see if it was Irene Macabante and Shane Brouse, sadly it was not.
Alex and I sat ourselves in one of two corner waiting areas. While waiting for a couple of chairs to open up at the counter, I watched and tried to catch the ambiance of the space. Concrete, recycled wood, steel, industrial light fixtures and waffle irons. I’m still trying to figure out if The Iron Press is a bar than happens to sell Waffles or if it’s a Waffle place that happens to have beer.
So let’s talk beer for a second. They have 28 mostly-locally crafted beers. The list is impressive and they have a tap bar that is equally impressive.
The space is more long that it is wide and has a unique angle. There are no tables in the space, just two long counters with one part of the counter at table height.
There was definitely a buzz in the space tonight, but there was one thing missing. Amidst the rustle of the customers and the two large screen tv’s – the space was missing MUSIC. I think they could dim the lights down just a tad and have some indie bands playing in the background. So let me go back to my statement earlier about there being no tables. This is a bar for sure. Let me preface by saying that the sit down place will be the upcoming ARC Restaurant to open across the way.
We ordered three waffle sandwiches and of course, beer. We decided we wanted to sample the Prosciutto and Gruyere, the Breakfast Sandwich and the Fried Chicken waffle sandwich. We opted for the fried egg on the chicken sandwich. We also ordered some waffle fries with two dipping sauces: Jalapeño Maple Syrup and the Lucky Habanero Dragon Lips (from Jerry’s mom’s Salsa company). Alex and Tim didn’t care much for the Jalapeño Maple Syrup, but I have to say that I absolutely LOVED IT! A nice balance between the heat and the sweet. Just as an aside, they also have tater tots on the menu.
The sandwiches arrived and I have to say that my favorite of the three was the Fried Chicken Waffle Sandwich with the Fried Egg. There is also a cabbage slaw served onto the chicken that has a taste that I quiet can’t identify – but in a GOOD way!
Just some observations: dear waffle maker, smile, you’re the star! Put some flair into what you do and show that you enjoy it! The waffles varied in texture from sandwich to sandwich. Some soft, some crispy with a nice airy center. We didn’t have any of the dessert waffle dishes, but you know I’m going to partake of some goodness soon.
So get yourselves over to the South Coast Collection and have some brews and some waffles. Lenny Chan and Jerry Saenz have something good going on here. No updates on ARC or the Oyster Bar, so watch out for updates in the coming days.
The Iron Press
3321 Hyland Avenue
Costa Mesa, CA 92626
Facebook: The Iron Press