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Wood Tavern B+ [Oakland]

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Good but not perfect meal @ Wood Tavern.

The noise level was impossibly loud. We thought it would get quieter as the evening wore on (we had a late-ish res.), but there was a brief dip and then a rise again. Couldn't hear each other to have a conversation. And just plain unpleasant.

Wine selection was good. The bread and butter were, as always, great.

Long wait for first course..

My little Gem salad was, as always, brilliantly conceived--leaves of lettuce, chunks of avocado, slivers of fennel, and sections of satsuma. But the avocado was a tad over-ripe, such that the texture was almost mushy. And the seasoning on the dressing was understated and flat. My husband really liked his scallop crudo. The bite I had of his, I thought, was a bit too acidic.

Mains. Again, my husband really liked the bouillabaisse. And my pork chop was good, but not great. A gorgeous piece of meat, thick and enormous. But unevenly cooked, such that most of it was a shade over-done (could have stood to spend 30 seconds less under the flame), And a more serious mistake: the part next to the bone was raw. The server came by to check, just as I came upon the raw section. I mentioned it; and she offered to take it back to cook a little more, but I hesitated, since I didn't want the done pieces to be over-done and figured it was such a big portion, I'd just not eat the raw parts. Not a good choice on my part, having the raw section on my plate the whole time. In addition to the cooking time, the seasoning was again a little off, this time in the too-salty direction..

Ice cream for dessert was very good: a lovely Earl Gray tea flavor and a second scoop of vanilla chocolate chip (my husband, who's not a vanilla fan, wished it were more chocolate-y, but I thought the balance was right).

The service was mostly very good. At the end of the evening, our server disappeared (it wasn't that the service suffered--new folks brought dessert and settled our bill).

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  1. I had the bouillabaisse last night. The broth was fantastic, as good as any I've had in France. The shellfish and fish were impeccable but paled by comparison. A+.

    Got there around 9, the place was almost full with a few parties waiting, noisy but no problem conversing.

    1. If you have ever cooked a thick (bone in) pork chop at home, it's almost impossible to have it cooked evenly throughout the whole chop..especially next to the bone. If you get the part next to the bone to be just right, the outer parts will be a bit overdone.

      2 Replies
      1. re: Diving Chef

        So this bumps us to a conversation bigger (meatier? bonier?) than a pork chop....

        You're absolutely right that that kind of uneven-ness happens with some regularity in my home kitchen--although I'm no slouch at the stove, I'm no professional either.

        But when I go to a nice restaurant--and I would think that the chef @ a really good place like Wood Tavern would be the first to agree--I expect them to nail the details that elude the likes of me and nail them with consistency, every single time.

        1. re: sundeck sue

          I was referring to the science of cooking a piece of meat like that..at home, in a nice restaurant it does not matter. The heat is not going to penetrate as quickly near the bone. The days of pork food illnesses are long gone..they did offer to fix it for you.