Saturday, January 21, 2012
The Woodsman Tavern Restaurant Review
Allyson and I really liked The Woodsman Tavern.
Let's start with a cozy atmosphere on a rainy, winter night. The building is a classic 1927 commercial building, with lots of brick, low ceilings, and great windows. The floor looks like it was created from reclaimed old wood, with darker and lighter pieces mixed up. The lighting includes dim, filament bulbs, and the bar features dark wood. Artful design touches that include large floral arrangements and a display of crab and clams on ice distinguish TWT from just any neighborhood bar where people have been spilling beers for decades.
The top-notch staff all look perfectly-Portland-Alt. Think of Abby from the television show NCIS. Each is really good at what she or he does; they are artfully tattooed; and they dress themselves. Please, no uniforms. TWT's theme is Portland and Oregon, not a Mexican village.
Barstools provided our front-row seats to bartenders who go above and beyond to mix a cocktail. The equipment used to make a hot toddy, with a flame below the glass beaker swirling the mix looked like something out of Breaking Bad. Iced beaker whirlpools took center stage for other drinks.
TWT's menu offers the raw seafood, hams, and very creative first and second plates. One of the plates included an apple-cabbage-slaw with grain mustard, which provided the perfect blend of sweet, savory, and texture. The trout was moist, flavorful and virtually without bones, despite keeping the rest of the fish, head through tail.
As I mentioned above, the staff could not be better: professional and positive, yet, still Portlandia. It's one thing to have a vision, it's another thing to have the money and skill to actualize it. Duane Sorenson did a great job with his second act to Stumptown: The Woodsman Tavern presents the winning trifecta of excellent atmosphere, staff and food.