So recently I was introduced to a staple of Annapolis cuisine. Iron Rooster. Anybody from Annapolis probably knows about this place and is scoffing like an indie-rock band kid at this stupid new kid who likes their favorite restaurant. WELL I’M SORRY GUYS, BUT YOUR RESTAURANT IS TOO AWESOME TO BE A SECRET!
Anyways, Iron Rooster follows the new style of cuisine which is rustic gourmet farmhouse cuisine. You have breakfast all day, biscuits, gravy, and most importantly fried chicken. So basically, they’ve already knocked it out of the park when it comes to the menu department. The restaurant currently has two locations, I visited their original which is in Annapolis (near the bottom of downtown Annapolis near the circle). Parking can be a bit of a pain so you’re better of parking in the garage that’s a block or two away than trying to face finding street parking.
First, make a reservation so you can get a seat. When we went, they weren’t taking reservations so we had to wait, about 30 minutes, but it was worth the wait. The decor of the place is sort of a rustic chic look that many places are going for. What I love about this place is the lack of pretentious BS that seems to emanate from every snarky farm to table restaurant these days. No I don’t want to know what the personality type of my chicken was. Iron Rooster has a great homey feeling to it, families and couples alike fill the tiny rooms. I love that you don’t feel uncool or not hip enough to eat here, I hate that some places in the food industry think that it’s helpful to make your guests or possible guests feel like they don’t belong. *Sorry for the rant*
Iron Roosters menu is perfection, it’s filled with various rustic comfort foods that make you say, “OH MY GOD THEY HAVE THIS!” when you see it on the menu. We came for breakfast/brunch but I know that I’m going to come back for dinner.
We started with a brown sugar pop tart. Pop tarts are something that many new restaurants are trying to do, because who doesn’t love a warm breakfast pastry that fills you with excitement because you’re reminiscing about pop tarts from bygone years. The pop tart they make changes, on the day we went we were lucky enough to try the brown sugar pop tart. This may be one of the BEST desserts I’ve ever eaten. Yeah I’m calling it a dessert, but dessert before breakfast should be a thing anyways. Rather than trying to mimick exactly how a traditional pop tart looks, they made an oversized pop tart that is filled to the brim with a buttery brown sugar filling that has just a hint of crunch to it. This was warm and gooey inside and it really hit the spot. Honestly, the only thing that was missing from this was a nice cup of milk, because nothing goes better with dessert than milk.
From there we both ordered the chicken and waffles, because they were the sole purpose that we sought out Iron Rooster. The genesis of this whole trip was the fact that we had seen our wedding photographer eating said chicken and waffles on instagram and I had to have them. I’m a bit of a fried chicken junkie and I love any dish that incorporates fried chicken. For me chicken and waffles encompasses everything that I love about comfort food. It has fried chickek, some sort of breakfast item, potatoes, and a gravy. What else could you want in a comfort food dish? Maybe mac & cheese and some biscuits. Just maybe.
Anyways, the dish is literal perfection on a plate. Let’s deconstruct each facet of this dish so you can truly appreciate how delicious it is. The chicken pieces are large chicken breasts that are amazingly juicy and tender, while their fried coating is crunchy and flavorful. The gravy is creamy and flavorful, it coats the chicken perfectly and it works as a delicious sauce for the chicken and waffles. The gravy has a slight peppery kick that could be overpowering for some, but I actually enjoyed it.
The cornmeal in the waffles adds a subtle crunch to them that counter balances with the chicken. Meanwhile, their sweet flavor is an ideal partner for the salty savory fried chicken breast that you have. If maple syrup is your thing, it will only add to the deliciousness that are these waffles. Finally the potato hash, which quite honestly was the only average thing on this plate, it’s not that they were bad they were just slightly unimaginative. If they were crispier it would’ve been more satisfying, but ultimately you could do without the potato hash in their present form.
By the end of the meal, all I wanted to do was curl up on my couch and take a nap because I was so full. The chicken and waffles meal is plenty of food and if you wanted to share it, you probably could if you’re not a big eater. Otherwise, unless you love to overeat (like me) , you’re better off saving some for later which is never a bad thing.
Overall, Iron Rooster is one of the best restaurant experiences that I’ve had in a long time. The service is friendly and the atmosphere is inviting. The food is remarkable and all I want to do is eat my way through their menu. The prices are reasonable and not overpriced, which makes it a prime candidate for a return visit by me.
Final Grade: A+
If you’d like to try their famous chicken pot pie, you can try making it at home using this recipe.