Stepping inside the Iron Horse in Royal Oak is a befuddling if not gastronomically satisfying experience, according to Metro Times critic Michael Jackman. The restaurant seems to struggle with a crisis of identity, in name and menu. Does "Iron Horse" refer to trains or to the life-sized Evel Knievel atop his motorcycle that presides over the dining room?
The reviewer also finds plenty to ponder on the "gut-busting" menu, which features American cuisine, tacos, burritos, and a long list of well-executed cocktails. The initial starter, a sizable helping of nachos topped with steak and chorizo, was hardly half devoured before the main courses arrived. While the Angus Prime Burger was neither a hit nor a miss and the meatball sub was quite "dainty," the tacos were what impressed:
Better still were the tacos, which were quite good, all the more impressive for the use of white onions and cilantro. (They sneak the cheese in between the doubled-up corn tortillas, a neat trick that holds them together and hides that bit of Americanized heresy.) The mahi mahi taco we had was probably the best and simplest ever, devoid of all those tricky adornments (think jicama slaw, habanero guac, garlic aoli) you sometimes find elsewhere. Our single complaint is a strange one: The wedge of lime was too dry to coax even a drop of juice onto this taco.
Overall, he concludes the Iron Horse lacks a specific identity but makes up for it in "artfully prepared cocktails" and generous servings.