Ash, the New Iron Horse Hotel Restaurant, Opens on Oct. 18

The restaurant that replaces Smyth promises to be one of the most aromatic (think wood-roasted foods) destinations in town.

Ash, the new restaurant at the Iron Horse Hotel (500 W. Florida St.) opens next week – Friday, Oct. 18. It replaces Smyth, which closed back in May. According to the press release announcing the replacement’s debut, “If you can almost smell it, you’re ready for” Ash.

The theme reflects the name, which reflects the restaurant’s cooking device – a wood-fired hearth, which will be visible to those seated in the dining room. Unlike the Smyth kitchen, this dining venue features a wall of windows. Also part of the interior is a vintage bar salvaged from a historic Pabst Brewery tap room and a custom-painted rose mural. (The rose is the restaurant’s icon).

The culinary creatives behind Ash are restaurateurs/chefs Dan Jacobs and Dan Van Rite, who operate DanDan and Fauntleroy. The two work as consultants for the hotel under the name JVR Group.

Chefs-consultants Dan Jacobs (left) and Dan Van Rite. Photo courtesy of Ash.

The menu’s hearth-fired dishes are meant to be combined with hearty sides, as the press release directs. Starters include house-made spaetzle with bone marrow, poached egg and herbs; and pork belly and squash salad with scallion relish and spiced yogurt. Main courses include ginger/soy-marinated prime Bavette steak and head-on prawns with chile butter and hearth-fired toast. And dishes designated as “large format” include grilled short ribs and Peking duck in a Spotted Cow beer glaze, served with lettuce cups, sauces, grilled bread, scallion, cucumber, radishes and pickles. The aforementioned hearty sides range from smoked cauliflower with romesco sauce to grilled broccoli with tonnato (tuna) sauce.

Ash’s hours: Mon-Thurs 6:30 a.m.-9 p.m.; Fri-Sat 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Sun 6:30 a.m.-2 p.m.



Ann Christenson has covered dining for Milwaukee Magazine since 1997. She was raised on a diet of casseroles that started with a pound of ground beef and a can of Campbell's soup. Feel free to share any casserole recipes with her.