Moonrakers, a new gastropub in Iowa City, has now been open for more than one month. I managed by pure chance to be there on opening day, but I got there so late that ordering food was out of the question. I told myself that the next time I was in Iowa City I would try some of the food. Moonrakers is also run by the owner of One Twenty Six, a French American bistro and sits just above it. Also, Moonrakers can also borrow from the wine list at One Twenty Six. The menu for Moonrakers features nine starters, including Calamari, mussels, marinated olives, hummus Crostini, house-made potato chips, hand-cut fries, and an olive plate. In this second visit we ordered the Calamari as a starter. The Calamari was the usual baby squid but it was obviously fried in fresh oil. One pet peeve that I have is when restaurants fry everything in old oil. The food sometimes ends up with a brown crust with an assortment of flavors from the last fifty uses. Not here. This batter was crisp and tasty and the color was a very light yellow.
I ordered the crabcake sandwich ($11.99). This sandwich comes with house-made focaccia and a chipolte sour cream. There seem to be two different kinds of crabcakes in the world. Some are of the spicy Caribbean variety and some are of the Maryland variety. Both can have spices, but the Maryland variety is usually more mayonnaise and mustard than pepper. This Moonraker crabcake tended more toward the spicy Caribbean variety. It was tasty, and the sour cream chipolte complemented it well.
Other diners in our group tried the hamburgers and chicken. The Moonraker Burger ($7.99) reminded me of a large slider because of the harder bun. It was one of two available burgers though there are a variety of different toppings that you can order. The chicken sandwich ($7.99) was really, really tasty. It features guacamole and mozzerella. I will order that the next time I visit. Most of the sandwiches were $7.99 but you can order the crabcake or steak sandwich. The steak sandwich costs $14.99.
I finished my meal with a chocolate torte. It tasted as good as it looked. I assume that it was made in-house, since Moonrakers and the related One Twenty Six feature hand-made dishes. If you are looking for a nice gastropub where the food is as important as the beer, then give Moonrakers a try. The prices for the dinner sandwiches are relatively inexpensive and go well with the wine and beer served by the bar. Moonrakers also has the basic the ingredients for cocktails and martinis if that is what you are looking for. No jello bombs that I know of.
126 E Washington St
Iowa City, IA 52240
(Upstairs of One Twenty Six)
Enter door to the right of
One Twenty Six entrance