Let me preface this review with one thing. The beautiful mood lighting at Iris really limits what one can do with her sad iPhone 4, picture-wise.
Now, down to business.
A couple of weeks ago, the monkeys (Satchel, 11, and Jiro, 9) and I took my mom to Restaurant Iris for her 75th birthday. It was a pretty big deal as none of them had ever been before. My mom grew up in New Orleans so Iris is her kind of restaurant.
I really don't know who was more excited, Satchel or my mom. Satchel has always wanted to go to Iris. He's even gone so far as to recreate the building in Minecraft! Anyways, he actually said he was nervous as we walked up the steps!
We went on a Friday night, but we had a 5:30pm reservation. The monkeys are old enough to behave themselves (when they want to), but I'm sure most Iris diners don't want to see a kid anywhere near them on a Friday night.
When I made the reservation, I noted it was my mom's birthday, so they had our table covered with streamers and prepared a special menu. My mom was touched.
The kids were also impressed with the napkins, folded like fleur-de-lis.
Jiro's first question was, "Which fork?" Then, "How long is this going to take?" So, yes, he was a little less on cloud 9 than the rest of us, but he kept a smile on his face.
Tackling the menu was a bit rough. For me, because everything sounded good. For the kids, because they didn't know what anything was. "What's confit?" "What's moulard?" I did my best to answer their questions until our lovely waitress could break it down for us.
Once we ordered, they brought out a basket of fresh French bread that was a major hit.
Then out came the amuse bouche. (That was a fun concept to explain to the monkeys!) Official definition: a single, bite-sized hors d'œuvre. In this case a crostini with cream and blood orange caviar.
Satchel very bravely popped his in his mouth and quickly said, "That is delicious!" Jiro was very apprehensive, but tasted the teeny tiniest bit before giving it to me.
Admittedly we ordered way too many appetizers, and they all came out at once, along with the first course of Satchel's three course fixed prix meal. He just had to know what moulard was!
The rest of us noshed away on Rod Bailey’s raviolo with brown butter and mushrooms (YUM); a salad of brussels sprouts with Allen Benton’s bacon and sherry; and the lobster “knuckle sandwich” with tarragon and tomatoes.
Jiro declared these the best brussels sprouts he'd ever had. I'm sure the bacon helped.
I am a big fan of the lobster knuckle sandwich.
Jiro described it as "Kind of good."
My mom and I were really enjoying the monkeys' reactions. It was a hoot. The raviolo did not make it into a photo but it was stellar. The waitress alerted us to the fact that dipping bread in the sauce is a little slice of heaven.
Satchel polished off his moulard no problem. He said, "I'm spoiled now so the things I eat the next couple of days won't be good." Ha!
Jiro kept staring at the brussels sprout plate. "That appetizer was so good. I only like the brussels sprouts here," he said.
We easily could have, and probably should have, stopped eating then, but we still had entrees!
Out came the steak knives, and Satchel instructed us all to get our elbows off of the table. (Or maybe just me.)
The entrees at Iris are huge. Knowing this, I opted to split the “surf and turf ” of new york strip stuffed with fried oysters and blue cheese with Jiro. They brought it out on two plates and you'd never know it was half a serving! Jiro, of course, wasn't into the oysters or blue cheese, but he tore right through his steak!
My mom had the short ribs, which is what goes into the raviolo. She was quite pleased. They did not photograph well, but they were delicious.
Satchel's second course was a huge ribeye.
His ribeye was definitely bigger than his stomach!
I think it's fair to say we were all beyond stuffed and happy, but there was no way we were skipping dessert! In fact Jiro asked every minute or so, "Where is dessert menu?" It was cute. My mom was trying to pass on dessert, but I insisted she split something with me so she could at least blow out a candle!
We had the cheesecake, which wasn't like any other cheesecake I've ever had--it was so light and the crust was awesome. It was like a little pie. Of course, they made it look very festive for my mom.
Satchel's dessert was a pound cake, but not at all what you think of when someone says pound cake. It was almost like a molten lava brownie.
This is Satchel reporting, "This is literally the best dessert ever."
Jiro, who had been a very good sport all evening, was now 100% happy. He ordered cookies and ice cream--three flavors of homemade ice cream and four different cookies!
Before the last plate was cleared away, Satchel was aksing if we could come back to Iris on his birthday.
It really was a lovely meal. They made my mom feel super special, the service was great, and the monkeys couldn't have been cuter. I think I will totally suprise them with a quick appetizer and dessert dinner soon.