Wood Tavern in Oakland - BIG thumbs up!
My Partner and I went to Wood Tavern on College Avenue on Saturday and were impressed in every way. The service was great - really nice front desk and wait staff. Everyone there seems to really enjoy their job. We were seated immediately and taken care of.
The menu had a little of everything. Great starters. I had an ahi tuna and spicy prawn tartare. My friend had a chilled tiger prawn and pesto with nuts dish. Dinners were an awesome duck breast with hominy and fava beans. Also, a succulent hanger steak and mashed potatoes. The only miss was a bland fishermans stew, that just missed the boat.
I would go back here in a minute and I hear serve a very nice Lunch during the day.
Any other feedback?
My dissenting view: I was ready to fall in love with Wood Tavern when I had dinner here about four weeks ago. My friend and I shared the tiger prawn starter, and I had the fisherman's stew. While both were fine, neither excited me. None of the flavors were memorable, though I really wanted them to be.
I found that I kept thinking of my dearly departed BenDean. From my first dish there I felt as though whoever was cooking (which turned out to be Lance Dean Velasquez) was communicating with me personally via his food. While everything at Wood Tavern seemed competent, that's all I could say about any of it. Additionally, my friend had the hanger steak and was disappointed by the serving, which was presented with the (few) slices fanned out on the plate. For the price, he said that he wished it were a more generous portion, although he was happy with the flavors. He's not a Flintstones size eater, so take his comments as you will.
I was there tonight (having been twice before for lunch, but never for dinner), and was wowed. That pork chop...I did not expect it to be that good. The pork itself was great, and then the succotash that came with it was just amazing (and I usually don't like succotash), but the morels and the sauce...I was chasing the rest of the sauce around on my plate with the bread. The only miss was the potatoes, which were bland and underseasoned, it needed either roasted or mashed. The pork belly appetizer was also really well done.
And Bauer wasn't kidding about that Manhattan. Yum.
Had lunch today (usually drop in after work and have the bar menu--boy do I appreciate a place that stays open straight through to dinner). The BLC was great! What, you may ask, is a BLC? Bacon, Lettuce, and (soft shell) Crab (w/ remoulade). Yum. At first I was afraid I wouldn't be able to get the whole thing in my mouth, but the bread was mercifully squishable. The crab flavor stood up to the bacon very well...a definite hit.