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AUS -- Anyone checked out Woodland yet?

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The hub and I were strolling down S. Congress yesterday and noticed that Woodland (in the space where 7 used to be) has opened. We peeped at the menu and saw that the dishes looked interesting and the prices weren't usurious, so we figured we'd check it out on our next date night. Has anyone been yet? If so, your thoughts on your experience?

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  1. We went to Woodland tonight. There were 8 of us there to meet for drinks & dinner before strolling down SoCo for 1st Thursday. First off, they're waiting on their liquor license so the drinks are free. However, you only get a choice of 2 reds (barely drinkable), a white (didn't try), and a beer (Live Oak on tap-choose that). The atmosphere's nice-not too loud, great lighting, enough room between the tables you can walk around without hitting someone, and the tree & shingles work. However, the hostess has a different idea of how many people can comfortably fit around a table than we did. For 8 (which was supposed to be 9) she wanted to put us at a 6-person round. I asked her if she thought we could all eat there & she said they had before. I respectfully disagreed and we ended up at a 1/2 round for 5 with 3 chairs on the other side. We were definitely hitting elbows during dinner but at least we were all good friends.

    The food was hit & miss. The mini-cornbread muffins they start with were cold and unremarkable. I had a starter salad with citrus dressing (waiters fave) and the dressing was pretty tasteless although the romaine was crisp. A friend ordered onion soup which I didn't try, but she was surprised at how sweet the onions were. Probably would have been okay if she expected that. The hit was the fish. A friend ordered drum & it was cooked to perfection. A little crust from searing on the outside and melted in your mouth on the inside. Perfect! I had the stuffed tomato, which needed s & p, but otherwise was good. My only disappointment was that it was swimming in cream which wasn't mentioned on the menu. Since I only eat fish I didn't try the rest of the entrees but I heard rave reviews about the burgers (the fries were perfectly crisp).

    All in all, the service was great, the prices are very reasonable, and I'd definitely go back to try them again.

    1. We went to Woodland last night and I really liked it. My husband and I ordered the beer-battered onion rings for an appetizer, which I loved because they had a tempura batter. We both got pot pies -- he got the chicken and I got the beef. They're not really pot pies, per se, as they are just crusts with soupy filling poured into them, then topped with a pastry "lid." The fillings were tasty, but the pieces of meat could be bigger and more generous. In our estimation, pot pies should showcase the meat, not the soup.

      Our pies came with side salads that were unremarkable with the exception of the citrus vinaigrette dressing, which was lovely.

      We skipped dessert, as we had movie plans, but the chocolate peanut butter pie sure did look tempting!

      The staff were friendly and capable, and our server was friendly and efficient. Still no liquor license, though; we bought a lovely Shiraz ("Final Cut") from Farm to Market next door.

      1. On the experience: We went, service was not so hot. The waiter was flaky, the hostess had a bit too much body odor for me (woodsy) and the manager was aloof. They are still doing BYOB. It was really drafty and cold. And it is by far one of the loudest places I have been too (#1 loudest was Hyde Park Grill-South). Also, they were out of bunch of things (coke, mashed potatoes which would have come with the meatloaf we ordered -- they did substitute mac & cheese which was good).

        On the food: The oysters were done just right, the mac & cheese was close to what mama makes, and the burgers were one of the best I have had in Austin.

        1. I haven't eaten a full dinner there yet, but I did go there for a private happy hour party recently. The pork empanadas served with a green dipping sauce were absolutely delicious. The sweet seasoned pork inside was delectable and I loved the green sauce. Since it was a happy hour, they also served a few items that don't appear to be on their menu, including some delicious goat cheese and sun-dried tomato quiche. The crust was delicious, homemade, warm, soft and flaky. Hopefully they use this crust on their homepade pies and pot pies. If so, you would be in for a treat.

          We had a martini made with tequila that was pretty strong (I maybe should have known better). However the traditional mojito was very decent.

          1. Long wait, so-so service. The food was fine no, real complaints but after the long wait, I wanted a little more our of my meal. One of my dinning companions got a burger and loved it. Just not my thing.

            1. Been a couple of times, once for brunch and once for dinner.

              The dinner I had was so-so, ordered a broccoli and cheese soup and the chicken pot pie. It was a cream overload. I ordered poorly but did expect a little something more from the pot pie. Too much sauce and not enough substance. The flaky crust was good but overall it was nothing to write home about. At the time they were still BYOB, which was perfect with Farm to Market open right next door. Of course, they've gotten a liquor license since then.

              I had brunch there several months ago (I think) and I can't remember what I ordered! (And the online menu isn't giving me brunch, so no help there). It fared better though, and was good for a group of 6. Haven't had to wait either time I've been there. And I think the ambience is reasonably good.

              I will probably go back and try their burger. But with Enoteca, Vespaio, Polvo's, Habanero, Curra's, South Congress Cafe and Buenos Aires all within walking distance, it's not likely to make the top of the list very often.

              1. I went on Saturday night (7ish) and was seated immediately. The scene is slacker/hipster/diner/comfort food. An unusual genre, but a growing one. The B Side in Cambridge comes to mind.

                Service was attentive and up to task. We weren't very demanding, so that's not a high hurdle.

                Love the selection of Live Oak.

                Our salads (Woodland and the Endive) were great. The Woodland was the better of the two. Her meatloaf was average, but my Roasted Chicken Thighs were crispy and moist. The roasted beet side was quite yummy. Creamed spinach (in a cup, gladly) was creamy but otherwise non-descript.

                Overall, it was a fine meal for the price. Cost less than the appetizers and wine that we started the evening with at Vespaio.

                1. Went to Woodland last night with a friend. The place was empty when we arrived at 6:15, but was on a wait by the time we left at 8:00. The service was pleasant and the atmosphere comfortable for a casual dinner.

                  The corn muffins serves that he beginning of the meal were dry and lacked a notable savory or sweet flavor. The corn fritter appetizer was also disappointing- golf ball-sized balls of dough with only about 3 kernels of corn in each one. I truly expected more corn in a corn fritter. I ruled them a waste of stomach space.

                  My friend ordered the Sloppy Joe, which is really a pulled pork sandwich served on a large bun with shaved onions. She let me sample her dish and the pulled pork had the same sweet one-dimensional flavor you find in the pre-cooked BBQ pork in the tubs at the grocery store. It lacked depth, but the meat was tender and not stringy or overly chewy. The fries that came with her sandwich were very good. They had a light, crispy exterior and a very soft interior...no grainy underdone potato issues here. They were seasoned well (no need to add salt) and there were very few "reject" fries (too tiny, mushy, burnt).

                  I ordered a cheeseburger with cheddar cheese. The patty appeared to be on the generous size of 1/3 pound and was ordered medium rare. When served, I was pleasantly surprised to see that they use white cheddar although the cheese was not as sharp as I would have liked. The burger did not have the warm red center I was anticipating, but one bite and I was happy. The patty had barely-crisped exterior with a moist interior. It was evident that the meat was high-quality freshly ground beef. Additionally, the bun was very nice...it almost had a potato bun quality to it. Overall, it was a great burger. For me, it was one of the top 5 restaurant burgers in Austin. My burger came with the same delicious fries I mentioned above.

                  Then we ordered pie....apple a la mode for me and pecan for her. My apple pie was stuffed with a mountain of very thinly sliced apples, but no caramelized effect or gooey filling. The apples were so thin, that after being baked they took on an almost dehydrated quality. The top was a cinnamon dusted lattice-top crust that was too crunchy. The ice cream was vanilla bean and had a strong floral quality to it that I did not like with the apple pie. The pecan pie was a little better, but suffered from too much corn syrup and molasses. The pecans were hard and almost candied. I found the pie too sweet (and this from someone who grew up eating sugar and butter sandwiches). Both pie slices were of average size and were absolutely not worth the $5. The pies varieties were listed, along with Hummingbird cake and root beer floats, on the chalk board without corresponding prices.

                  I ordered an order of mac and cheeses to-go to take home to hubby (who loves mac and cheese and samples it wherever it is offered). It is ziti with a creamy cheese blend and some breadcrumbs on top. I found the sauce creamy, but bland. I prefer my mac and cheese to have some sharpness to it. Once getting it home, I added some kosher salt and fresh pepper. That helped, but I would not order it again,

                  Would I go back? Yes, for a burger and fries. The burger was wonderful but I would not waste money or calories on anything else.

                  1. Despite the lukewarm reviews on CH, a friend convinced me to give Woodland a try. I no longer trust this friend in matters of restaurant choice.

                    We decided at the last minute to give Sunday brunch a go, arriving slightly after noon. No wait for a table, but that really didn't matter. After placing our order for standard breakfast/brunch fare (eggs, sausage, bacon, grits, biscuits, etc.), I gave the staff the benefit of the doubt (nearly an hour) before asking our server how long the gestation period was between insemination of the poultry and the food actually making it to the table. Shortly thereafter, we receive what can only kindly be described as mediocre to tasteless food. And there was no reason–based on the preparations or number of patrons–that it should have taken so long. I quite literally suggest not wasting one's time with Woodland.