As a StL-raised Boston hound, recently back in the Lou for a visit, I wanted to do my due diligence and post on Iron Barley -- a joint that was chosen thanks in large part to various StL Hound threads.
It was terrific!
I was in charge of arranging an early-evening dinner on New Year's Eve for our group of 16 friends, and was looking for somewhere that (a) had great food and a range of choices, (b) wasn't too froofy or pricey, (c) had a great vibe, and (d) where our large & sometimes loud group (including a toddler) wouldn't annoy other diners.
The folks at Iron Barley were awesome and so accommodating. By all rights, they could have been irked, as more than half the party showed up 20 min late for our 6:30 resv (like herding cats, I tell you). Our server, whose name I believe was Rachel, had mad skillz. She was patient, super helpful, and was in a great mood (a direct counter to the whole 3rd-string servers working on holidays thing).
The food, of course, was the highlight. Oh, and the beer. The cask was an O'Fallon IPA, which was delicious. With 16 people at the table, I can only report what they said as they stuffed themselves -- I didn't get to try all the dishes. So, RAVES for the seafood barley risotto, the special steak (a delmonico, I think), the barley bread pudding, the barley paella, the side of smashed potatoes with gravy, and the green beans. I personally tried and enjoyed the potato pancakes special app, the bbq shrimp, the schnitzel and spaetzle, the smoked salmon, and the smoked trout (which was my entree).
The trout was really great, I loved the uber-smokiness (but even so, by the end of the meal it was a bit overwhelming). The accoutrements did a great job of counterbalancing the smoke, though, and I especially liked the interplay of the crispy shoestring-like potato sticks and the sweet corn/red onion relish.
The atmosphere of the place was spot-on, and the live music (harmonica & banjo combo) was great. I can't speak highly enough of Rachel, our server. As is common for large groups dining out for a special event, we were a noisy (but happy) disorganized gaggle of people, and we were so thankful to find a venue where the food and drink were excellent, and where we felt comfortable as we caught up with far-flung friends during our once-a-year group date. The Iron Barley folks made it perfect, and we made sure to get out of their way as they set up for the 10pm New Years Eve Fixed-Price dinner buffet & party.
So, a big shout out and THANK YOU to Iron Barley, and to you StL Hounds for pointing me in the correct direction.