Where else would you expect to find a place called Iron Cow Cafe other than in the Milk District? Well, OK, maybe in the Rust Belt, but we're not there.
Iron Cow is rather a large place that in early evening hours (it opens most days at 6 p.m.) it looks like a big empty warehouse with a bar and kitchen set up on one side. Indeed, the business' own description calls it "a modern industrial warehouse merging food, beverage and music..." (Nothing comes after the ellipses, so I don't know what we're to infer from them.)
Only the food and beverage were evident when I stopped in. Although Iron Cow Cafe opened in December, it was still offering a "soft opening menu" in late March. You'd think a place with a name like this could harden that opening menu by now.
At the suggestion of the bartender, I ordered the Paul Reuben, which may have been for the man behind Pee Wee Herman, though his name is Reubens. (And by the way, if you're ever in a movie theater with Reubens, you want to be behind instead of in front of him. Just sayin'.)
Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, soft opening sandwiches. Most of the right ingredients were there, although pastrami replaces traditional corned beef here. But you've still got your sauerkraut, your swiss cheese, your thousand island dressing and your rye bread. However, they're presented as two open-faced sandwiches, giving you the option of closing the faces and making a pick-upable sandwich. It's up to you.
I found it mostly agreeable, and I thought the accompanying salad was very nice, with chopped tomatoes and hunks of onions and a creamy vinaigrette. I wonder, though, if the lettuce was labeled "triple washed" and the kitchen figured a fourth wash wasn't needed. There was a bit of grit.
The bartender was nice and helpful, and the gentleman working in what looks like a makeshift kitchen off to the side but what is most likely the permanent setup (soft opening or not) delivered the food himself and returned to ask how I liked it. Nice to have that kind of attention to food in a place that appears to be more focused on the beverage and, later in the evening, the music. (The bar is the most inviting place to be if you plan to have food; this isn't really a place to dine.)
I like the way the Milk District is forming and making an identity for itself, and especially like the new businesses that want to be a part of that theme.
Iron Cow Cafe is at 2438 E. Robinson St., Orlando. It is open for dinner Tuesday through Saturday, including late night. It does not list a phone number.