The Iron Horse Brewery pub in Ellensburg is now serving food. We told you about the plan back in January, but last weekend we actually experienced the new food menu for ourselves. In short, we loved it. They’ve actually been cooking for a while now but didn’t want to announce a big grand opening event. Instead, they’re just letting people trickle in and letting the word trickle out.
In addition to opening the kitchen, they expanded the space. There’s a new room in back which is a bit more like a restaurant, while the front room remains very taproom-like. Forward or aft, you can order food wherever you find yourself sitting.
By design, the menu is not what you might expect in Ellensburg, a town where there is no shortage of hamburgers and pizzas. Instead there’s more interesting and tasty stuff on the menu. For instance, stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, roasted bone marrow, Oaxaca quinoa salad, and Cajun prawns and grits.
It’s all good, really good as a matter of fact, but the whole experience is not as fancy the elevated menu makes it sound. After all, we’re talking about Ellensburg and, more importantly, we’re talking about Iron Horse; serious is not their strong suit.
Also, the portions are large. So large, in fact, that it caused me to comment, “Why are you giving me so much food? What exactly are you trying to say?” They politely explained that city slickers like us might be accustomed to small portions, but people in Ellensburg actually work for a living and expect to be amply fed.
What We Ate
We started off with the Cheese and Grains Board ($14), which featured lots of local product, including Irish Death cheddar cheese and cured meats from Owen’s Meat Market in Cle Elum. Super tasty and enough food to provide appetizers for a table of four, at least.
Next, we dug into the Curry Chicken Salad ($9). It’s not really too much different than other curry chicken salads you’ve had, but it’s very good. And there’s a lot of it. A share-size plate, in my opinion.
Moving on, we nom-nom-nommed happily on the Korean Short Ribs and Kimchi ($16). For me, the kimchi was the star of the show. The ponzu-marinated short ribs were very good, but the house-made kimchi was outstanding. Just the right amount tang and plenty of heat.
Finally, we dove into the Pickled Chicken Thighs and Potato Salad ($13). I know it sounds weird, but they brine the chicken in pickle juice and then pan fry it. The result is some seriously tasty chicken, unlike any other fried chicken I’ve experienced. The three fried thighs are served atop a bed of potato salad. Again, ample portions fit for sharing. Exactly what are they trying to say?
Cheese, curry chicken salad, ribs, fried chicken. Mmm! Don’t you judge me! We didn’t eat it all. We just wanted to make sure we sampled a good bunch of food before recommending it, or not recommending it. This post is intended to do the former and not the latter.
Next time you’re in Ellensburg and you’ve got the hungries, stop by the pub and get your eat on.
Iron Horse Brewery’s Pub
412 N Main St
Ellensburg, WA 98926