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Page history last edited by Mark P 15 years, 5 months ago

Woodward's Garden Review


Woodward's Garden served us healthy, well balanced plates of Californian cuisine. Attendees' assessments of it largely depended on how important they think dessert is in a meal--desserts were "definitely good." Note that the menu changes frequently, meaning the likelihood of being able to reorder any of the dishes mentioned below is low; you may want to skip ahead to last few paragraphs on service, decor, and stories.


Our meal started with fairly good quality, warm, crusty, kind of nutty bread with soft butter.


Our appetizers: 

  • "Chenel goat cheese fritter with [greens in a] roasted tomato-ramp vinaigrette." Eh. We liked the bread. We're neutral about the not-very-goat-y but rather very mild cheese.
  • "Mixed garden lettuces with French radishes, Rogue River smokey blue [cheese], and banyuls-shallot vinaigrette." We all liked the cheese. Oj was the only one who liked the salad; the rest of us were indifferent.


Our entrees: 

  • "Northern halibut in parchment [paper] with spring onions, peas, artichokes, pea leaves, French fingerling potatoes, and herbed bread crumbs." Very good; without a doubt the best dish of the night. It's fish on a bed of vegetables, wrapped in parchment paper and steamed. The fish, cooked well, was rich with flavor and melded perfectly with the vegetables.
  • "Bellwether Farms ricotta-green garlic ravioli with Bloomsdale spinach, lemon, and pine nut bread crumbs." Fairly neat: two big (six inch by six inch) pieces of ravioli with an intense flavor of green garlic. It generally appealed to us. The bread crumb mixture was on the side. It was okay, but we preferred the bread in the goat cheese appetizer.
  • "Lamb stew with new leeks, toybox carrots, mint, dijon, and turnip puree." Fairly good. Relatively standard.
  • "Grilled Niman Ranch pork chop with meyer lemon-lucques olive-almond pesto, La Quercia prosciutto americano, and giant white beans." With a crunchy exterior, the pork chop's flavor was definitely good, though many complained it was too dry. Nevertheless, the pork chop tasted better than I'd usually experienced and imagined pork chops tasting in the past. The chop was fairly salty. As for the sides, the white beans were so large they looked almost like chunks of potatoes! Also, the chop was topped with some roasted almonds and really good olives.


As for dessert, both were quite creative and got positive reactions. Oj rightly thinks that these were most memorable, best desserts we've had in a while. Neither was said to be better than the other. 

  • "Strawberry-brown butter tart with whipped cream and rhubarb-citrus compote." A crumbly tart, which some people were happy to observe wasn't crunchy/toasted, filled with fresh fruit. The thinly sliced orange and few scattered pieces of diced rhubarb that hide in the whipped cream were good as well.
  • "Nancy Silverton's butterscotch budino [pudding] with caramel sauce, creme fraiche, and walnut shortbread cookies with fleur de sel." The pudding was an unusual combination of sweetness and saltiness.


As for drinks, we had two glass of wine and coffee. People described the coffee as good--a higher rating than average--and hypothesized it was an americano.


Given that Woodward's Garden uses seasonal ingredients, it's surprising that its location is so strikingly disconnected from nature: it's located under a highway. We sat in the restaurant's back room, an open space with high ceilings, a fancy chandelier, many paintings of birds, white tableclothes, and tables with candles.


The kitchenware is distinctive. As we shared dishes (an unusual behavior in this restaurant), we appreciated that the waitress brought us rectangular plates that fit perfectly on our small table. Meanwhile, the knives were odd: both edges of the metal curved to the point, making it hard to tell quickly which edge was the sharp one. Steak knives were interesting as well. They were thin, unusually light, and with an odd bracket in the middle.


Quote of the evening: "I'm not opposed to experimenting with strangers."


The total was $42/person including tax and tip but not including drinks.


Original Announcement


It turns out they have room tonight at Woodward's Garden, a Californian restaurant in the Mission. (The last few times I tried to get us in there, soon after a rave review on Check Please Bay Area, they were booking weeks in advance for even mid-week reservations.)



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