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Dec 31, 2006 08:06 PM

AUS -- Anyone checked out Woodland yet?

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.