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Apr 14, 2009 06:52 PM

Iron Abbey in Horsham

A friend and I tried Iron Abbey for the first time tonight. The bar was well appointed, but not overdone -- nicer than your average bar, but nothing spectacular. The beer selection, however, was incredible -- any beer I could think of -- including my favorite, Chimay, was available, some in different varieties. The beer menu was descriptive and would be helpful to people wanting to experiment with different ones. The food, however, was a letdown. We were very excited to order the Sweet Potato Beignets, but were told by our waiter upon ordering that they were no longer available -- the chef who had originally designed the menu had since left Iron Abbey and the new chef was unable to prepare that appetizer. So, we ordered the Guilho Shrimp, the Grilled Calamari, and the Cheese Plate. The shrimp were plentiful, fresh, and tasty -- small shrimp coated with garlic, olive oil, and a dash of hot sauce. The cheese plate was also good -- plenty of cheese, crackers, and grapes, with a date sauce for dipping. While the menu stated we could pick three cheeses, the waiter told us we could not, but in any case, the cheese was tasty, and while not too exotic, -- a mix of cheddar, gouda, and pepperjack -- it was good. Our third appetizer -- the Grilled Calamari, was just plain awful. The calamari were soggy, tasteless, and seemed as though they had been prepared the day before and barely reheated to room temperature when they were served. My friend and I each had one and then couldn't eat any more. The salad they were served on top of was fresh but still nothing stellar, and while the menu had stated watercress, we actually received arugula. However, the aoili it was served with was tasty. For our entree we decided to share the Carne na Pedra -- thinly sliced sirloin that we cooked on a hot lava rock brought to our table. When we ordered the waiter did not ask us what sides we wanted. He came back a few minutes later to find out which ones we'd like, but we had no menus so we asked him what was available. He said he had no idea and went to get a menu. When he returned, he could not find the page that listed that sides. He quickly thought of two sides -- mashed potatoes and asparagus -- and we said those would be fine. When the entree arrived, the meat was fine -- what we expected, fresh, nothing out of this world, but good. The asparagus was steamed well but had little flavor. The mashed potatoes were something else -- they had NO flavor. The consistency was like paste and the taste resembled flour mixed with water -- barely any taste at all, almost completely neutral. As a side note, when we got our menus back to order dessert, which we wound up not getting, we noticed that asparagus and mashed potatoes were not the only sides -- there were many other sides we could have chosen from and would perhaps have enjoyed more. It would have been helpful to know those prior to ordering! Overall, I would return for the beer menu and get a few snacks, but I will not be having dinner there again.

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    1. Where is this place? I'd never heard of it, and would love to try it (not for dinner though)! We need some good beer bars in the area!

      6 Replies
      1. re: AmblerGirl

        AmblerGirl- Its on 611 opposite the Willow Grove Airfield, out front you will see a sign for a Brazilian Steak house, and the entrance to Iron Abbey is on the side. Its in what used to be the old Julie's Steak house. I haven't tried it yet either but have heard good things about the beer list there.

        1. re: cwdonald

          I mss Julie's!!! For the longest time there you could just get a steak and potatoes. Any frou-frou sides were extra. My friend loved to get a whole rack of ribs. My only complaint was that cheese automatically was included on the garlic bread.

          1. re: givemecarbs

            How long have they been open? Is this a British Pub, or something else? Anybody tried the wings?

            1. re: hillster

              They opened April 3rd. Right now open 4:30 daily. In early May they'll be open for lunch. A bunch of us were there opening day and they were working out a lot of kinks with service and their computer system. Iron Abbey is a gastro pub in the front of the building, with a Brazilian Steakhouse (forget the name) in the back. The food we sampled was hit or miss and a bit pricey. Their wings were very good though. As mentioned beer list is great (24 drafts and 200 bottle varieties) and inside decor is real nice. They are going to have a beer fest there in Sepember with a band out back. Hopefully they get all bugs worked out in the next couple weeks.

              1. re: geoheim

                Awesome info! Thanks. Weird about the Brazilian Steakhouse in the back of an English Pub, but I can't wait to check it all out....

                1. re: geoheim

                  interesting. Thanks for the update, would love to go to their Beer Fest.

        2. I can't speak for the food, but I have to agree the beer selection at Iron Abbey is excellent. I finally don't have to travel into Philly to go to a good brew pub with great beers!

          If you're looking for dinner, give the Brazillian Steakhouse, naBrasa, next door a try!! If you are a meat eater, you MUST go! For about $35pp + drinks, tax, tip, you are provided with an all you can eat soup/salad bar complete with cheeses, meats, veggies, rice, beans, etc. They also bring you three warm sides (fried plantains, fried polenta, mashed potatoes). But, the best thing is the meat! Waiters come around with all kinds of different cuts ..... filet mignon, chicken, salmon, sausage, pork ..... you name it. Make sure you go with an empty stomach, because the food is so good! Definitely just as good as Fogo de Chao in the city, but for half the price and free parking! Make sure you make a reservation though, the place gets packed!

          1. We did try the Iron Abbey last night. We had wanted to go for a while but it has been really crowded every time we tried to go before. But I heard they had a chorizo burger so, crowds be damned, we went last night. First I have to say they did an amazing job on the renovations, the space is beautiful, beautifil tile floors, granite bar, wood beams on the ceiling. The decor did not essentially scream belgian or european pub, but it was beautiful none the less.

            The menu was varied, and you could tell they borrowed alot from the brazilian steakhouse next door. There were alot of brazilianband portguese items and influences on the menu, combined with some "mildly" belgian dishes like mussels. It was an odd mix but I love portugese food so it all looked great to me. Though I do think that more belgian dishes would better accompany the beer selection. I got the chorizo burger and it was the best burger I've had in a long time. Beef mixed with chorizo, hand formed and huge on a portugese roll. So good. It was served with a really good deli pickle (to me pickle quality and bread quality are key to a good sandwich). It had some really good seasoned fries, but I was kind of surprised it was not served with belgian style frites. My husband had a chicken sandwich topped with chorizo, proscitto, and mozarella. Again served on great bread and also great (though my burger was better!).

            The beer list was really extensive, aimed towards beer geeks (like my husband!). He found the new Brooklyn Ladder 2 beer that just came out that he was looking for and loved it.

            Prices were varied. You could easily walk out spending less than $15 for a sandwich or small entree. Their pub grub had some tasty looking options for around $12-15, sandwiches were around $10, entrees were reasonable at around $15-$20. Apps were a a bit on the higher side running around $10. And the beer certainly was not cheap, but it depends on what you order (our bar bill, for just my husband, was much higher than our combined food bill!). I do want to go back and try the entrees, hopefully they have improved since the original post.

            My only complaint, if any, is that it is more of a bar than a restaurant. It is crowded and very loud (between customers and blaring music) and there are few "real" tables, primarily high top bar tables.

            Overall I'd definitely go back, though I bet its a bit better on a weeknight than a crowded weekend.

            1. I went to the Iron Abbey last week with some girlfriends. It was actually very nice, although I thought it was a little loud (we sat at a high-top table just as you walk in). Plus, I think the air conditioning was broken because it felt pretty warm inside. My friends all enjoyed their food, and I thought my dinner was delicous, but it could have used a little extra with it. I don't remember the name of it, but it was a little casserole dish with beef, chicken, shrimp and clams in a Portugese sauce. That's it - a bowl full of meat. No veggie. No starch. Just meat. I should have ordered a side salad to go with it. I'll know for next time. All in all, the food was good, our waitress was very helpful (I'm not a beer drinker so she was very kind to help me with suggestions), and prices weren't terrible. I loved the decor of the place. They obviously spent a lot of time and money to redo the place. I'd go back.