Woodward Table: Wonderfully Tasty Food

My reaction when I hear that Google Reader is set to disappear after July 1?  WTF!

WTF also comes to mind when one day I find myself driving to work, talking on the phone, and suddenly not sure if I am headed in the right direction.

Which is why I find it curious that Woodward Table, which opened in the space formerly occupied by Potenza last November, names its  fast-casual companion WTF.  This stands for Woodward Takeout Food.  Apparently owner Jeff Buben, of Vidalia and Bistro Bis, does not realize the meaning until it’s too late.  I depart Woodward Table thinking about those letters as they relate to my meal.  But not in a bad way.  As in WTF!  This food is a really nice surprise!

It’s not that I don’t expect good food from Chef Buben.  Both of his restaurants are well regarded in DC.  And although it’s been two years since I dined at Bistro Bis, I gave it a thumbs up in my blog post.  But it’s not often that nearly every dish on a menu appeals to me, and this makes me wary.  Can so many dishes that appeal on the page deliver on the plate?  Thankfully my five dining companions are willing accomplices in an attempt to sample as much as possible on Woodward Table’s  menu of seasonal American cuisine.

I hold my breath as I eagerly pull apart a roll from the kitchen’s hearth oven.  If  I like a restaurant’s bread, I often find it’s a precursor to how I feel about the rest of the meal.  The bread is warm and soft with just a touch of sea salt on top. Perfection. The rolls pass my taste test with flying colors.  They are hard to resist, even though I know there are flatbreads just ahead.

Woodward Table’s flatbreads are thin, perfectly charred, and extra crispy, just the way I like them.  Flatbread with duck confit, butternut squash, brussels sprouts, and manchego cheese is a beautiful balance of flavors.

Woodward Table Duck Flatbread

Woodward Table duck confit flatbread

I am not an anchovy-lover.  But my husband is intrigued by a flatbread special with pickled peppers, artichoke, arugula, manchego cheese, and anchovy tomato sauce.  He gets the go-ahead from the group.  The anchovy is subtle enough so that it doesn’t overwhelm the other ingredients.  It’s a hit. I’m beginning to think this kitchen could put anything atop their flatbread and I would be satisfied.

Woodward Table Anchovy Arugula Flatbread

Woodward Table anchovy arugula flatbread

Four salad options have equal appeal. We agree on two:  kale and chopped salad.  Kale salad is a sweet and savory mix of bacon, caramelized onions, dates and apples, with a pommery mustard vinaigrette.  The generous cubes of bacon and dates make for an irresistible dish.

Woodward Table Kale Salad

Woodward Table kale salad

The chopped salad has my go-to too often ingredients:  beets and goat cheese.  When will I stop ordering this?  But the addition of radishes, cauliflower, and apricots provide enough of a twist.  (Don’t tell the others but I stole a couple of extra bites of kale salad over the chopped salad, simply because it veers off my normal path.)  But both salads are winners.

Woodward Table Chopped Salad

Woodward Table chopped salad

I’m relieved when my friend agrees to split an entree.  I know this is the only way I’m going to make it all the way to dessert unscathed.

Seared scallops with kabocha squash puree, spiced pumpkin seeds, and caramelized pears is the ideal choice of entree. A recent run-in with undercooked scallops have left me wary.  Fortunately, I decide it’s time to try again.  This is the dish to restore my faith in scallops.  The ingredients could potentially result in a dish that’s overly sweet, but I find the combination to be just right.

Woodward Table Scallops

Woodward Table seared scallops

Other entrees at the table include a lovely pan roasted trout with king trumpet mushrooms, brussels sprouts and sweet potato as well as a tender honey glazed pork rib chop with braised greens, cipollini onions, and creamy grits.

Woodward Table pan roasted trout

Woodward Table pan roasted trout

Tom Sietsema of The Washington Post recently reviewed Woodward Table and has good things to say about some of the signature sides.  We don’t want to miss out, so we sample four of the seven options.  Woodward fries, cauliflower, mac and cheese, and brussels sprouts. None disappoint, but I personally favor the caramelized cauliflower with cranberries.

Woodward Table cauliflower

Woodward Table cauliflower

Many of the dishes at Woodward Table incorporate an element of sweetness.  Nonetheless, dessert is a necessity.  They stay consistent with the rest of the meal.  I’m enamored with the apple sampler which includes an apple cupcake,  apple upside-down tart, cider sorbet, and white chocolate apple mousse.

Woodward Table apple dessert

Woodward Table apple sampler

Others favor the pear tart with caramel pears, crisp pastry, blue cheese ice cream, and sea salt-caramel sauce.  Both desserts really are delightful.

Woodward Table Pear Tart with Blue Cheese Ice Cream

Woodward Table pear tart

We are one group of content diners, with everyone nodding in unanimous approval at the end of the meal. The Woodward Table team has given WTF new meaning:  Wonderfully Tasty Food.

Woodward Table, 1426 H Street, NW Washington, DC

Washington Post review

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Comments

  1. Barbara Klein says:

    We have reservations there this weekend and, after reading this, I wish it were right now! Everything sounds delish.

  2. Sarah C. says:

    I am so sorry to say that we had nearly the opposite experience at Woodward Table, and we might have even been there the same night! Outside of a couple of decent dishes, namely the asparagus salad & the scallops, our group of eight was disappointed with nearly everything about the experience. From the lackluster drinks to the most egregious error, which was trying to pass off trout as a sea bass special, the experience was certainly not one to repeat. And the service — it pains me to say that it was awkward & slow, and the entire staff had forgotten about us by night’s end (my personal pet peeve at a restaurant). I wonder if you ever find that your role as a blogger has an impact on your experience when dining out. Our dishes were not even prepared as requested, and some of the entrees were barely warm. The best thing that a member of our group had to say — “Well, my dish wasn’t as bad as your food.” We always tip well, so we did not take it out on the staff, but I am hoping that Woodward Table improves its consistency; I always want new spots to succeed!

    On a brighter note, Cedar was an absolute delight. A fun menu without being pretentious, great drinks, lovely service — all in all, a gem of a spot!

  3. Sarah,
    were you there on March 9? just curious. The staff at Woodward Table did not know that I am a blogger. I don’t ever reveal that I blog, and try to refrain from tweeting until after I leave a restaurant. I did see a tweet complaining about cocktails- so perhaps not their strength. We had wine rather than cocktails.
    sorry to hear about your experience, and glad you did have a good experience at Cedar. I am a big fan!

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