I ask this question every year just to see if people agree with my choice. Usually there is a close spread between a few top choices, but this year there was only one restaurant that received more than a couple of votes. It is Woodsman Tavern. Once again, I agree.
You can see all the Reader Survey 2012 winners (or losers) here.
I have been there 3 times now and the experience has been quite similar each time. There are some things that are terrific (raw bar and the ham plates have always been top notch and the trout has been sublime), some things odd (the chairs are really uncomfortable and we kind of caught some shit from our server for inquiring why they chose them) and there has always been one dish that was frightfully misprepared in some way (usually drastically overcooked). I like the atmosohere, the wine list is good, the cocktails are decent and there are lots of food items that work. There are some misses that I think are correctable. I wouldn’t say I don’t like it but it wouldn’t be the first place I would think of going to.
I think myself and others would be interested in your general comments on your experience(s) there.
Food Dude says
Sure. Here are my random, unformatted notes:
The positives… great waitress, knowledgable and confident. She properly directed us to wines that would compliment our meal. Unfortunately she wasn’t the one setting the food down. Other servers came, set the food down and didn’t explain anything.
The energy and atmosphere was very nice. There were several (well behaved) young children early on. Lots of french fries going around. The Old Fashioned with Buffalo was great.
The trout had three strips of green scallion and the scallop had the same mignonette as the oysters. That flavor minus the shallots was the base for the duck wing. Trout was sorely lacking substance, stuffed with nothing. Four sun dried tomatoes at each corner. “Crazy sauce” was suspiciously in the same taste zone as the other sauces/water with the scallops and duck. Watery and nondescript. Such a long skinny guy looking forlorn on the plate.
Duck drumette was more like a duck jerky (which would be ok if that’s was I ordered). The kumquat sriracha sauce was thinned out to the point of being nondescript.
Lacinato kale caesar with the Meyer lemon wheel rye crouton and parmesean could have been much better if the kale had been more of the ‘inner circle’ giving a tender leaf texture. This dinosaur kale was tough large leafed and needed knife and fork to tame it. The Meyer lemon wheels and rye crisps are quite tasty and a hit with the table
The “scallop” missed it’s mark. These were bay scallops and dry segments of dried out orange. The dressing/sauce was much like the dressing on the duck drumette. The scallops were over marinated and tough. The roasted duck and with lentils didn’t go over well here either. Lentils were mushy and salty, the ‘patty’ of duck breast was a salty bust as well… over frisée. The thigh and drumstick overcooked and dry.
New York ($34) steak was flavorful but chewy. Sure didn’t look like a NY. Thick cut. Rappini was on the side. Nothing special.
I wanted to like this place, but we all thought this was blah
I was spurred on to the Woodsman after seeing it rated as the 7th Best restaurant in America by a national magazine within 6 months of opening. Along with 2 friends who also love to eat we set out to the Woodsman and had the best meal I’ve ever had in PDX during my 6 years of living here. The trout was amazing and yes the chairs are atrocious! Back 4 times to take friends and visitors I have not been disappointed and I’m thrilled with the consistency. Thought I’d like it, but I LOVED it!
Have to say I just wasn’t impressed with dinner….at all. However, brunch was a whole different matter – much better.
Hunter, I had the same experience. And I really like the small market they opened next door…small selection, but very well curated.
Live To Eat says
It sounds like one of the main problems is inconsistency. I went for brunch. The trout wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t worth the price. The chicken hash was horrible.