The Downtown establishment will offer carry-out amid the current dine-in eating ban
Editor’s Note: We’re going to continue running weekly restaurant reviews, with the stipulation that featured restaurants will offer carry-out and/or delivery options, because we think it’s important to highlight these businesses amid this current coronavirus-driven turmoil. First up is the Woodbury, a Downtown diner that posted on social media yesterday that it would begin operating as a carry-out only eatery beginning today (Monday, March 16).
On the menu at The Woodbury, asterisks draw extra attention to unconventional-sounding dishes such as Chicken Hotcake Tacos and Kimchi Meatloaf. Expounding on these featured items, the key at the bottom of the menu nudges readers: “Because why not? Don’t be afraid to try our favorite ‘twist’ selections.”
If you like twists, you’ll get them at The Woodbury, a Downtown diner that’s so newfangled and attractive that you might say it looks like a million bitcoins. The latest trendy restaurant from Olde Towne Partners — the group that producedPecan Penny’s, The Walrus and Olde Town Tavern — The Woodbury blends a colorful, 1960-style-diner aesthetic with a cooler 21st-century sensibility.
Booths colored deep blue or light red with geometric patterns offer fabric-covered seating. Yellow fabric makes stools at a long counter even more inviting. Placid shades of gray play off these brighter tones throughout the distinct dining areas, some of which border garage-door windows within the stylish eatery.
Enhancing the breezy mood fostered by the sleek-and-chic design scheme is a soothing-yet-upbeat soundtrack that often features instrumental tunes. Recently, this meant hearing music from The Meters and “Hang Tan,” by Toubab Krewe, aka the theme song to “Milk Street Radio,” an NPR show that explores how food intersects with culture.Get news and entertainment delivered to your inbox: Sign up for our daily newsletter
At The Woodbury, food and culture intersect best in the served-all-day breakfasts. For example, tacos twist into chicken-and-waffles territory in the wacky but worthy Chicken Hotcake Tacos ($13) — two huge “tacos” fashioned with pancake “tortillas” wrapped around exemplary fried-chicken planks garnished with a tangy aioli, plus tart strawberry salsa and served with Ohio maple syrup.
The Thit Kho Thom Hash ($14) riffs on Vietnamese dishes of caramelized pork partnered with pineapple and egg. This hybrid composition features largely sweet potatoes mounded high and punctuated by pork-belly nubbins and pineapple bits. On top is a fried egg and (in my case) limp greens. Mild Vietnamese flavors and a syrupy sauce tie everything together. Verdict: A pleasant enough main course that might work better as a shared side dish.
It would be harder to share the Biscuits and Gravy ($8). The Woodbury’s best breakfast side dish impressively teams two warm, buttery, relatively light and appealingly salt-edged biscuits with smooth, creamy, tangy and peppery gravy.
If a cocktail is calling, The Woodbury shakes a solid Bloody Mary ($9) brightened by what tastes like pickle juice. The Margarita ($11), made with fresh citrus, is at least as good.
I was glad I tacked on one of the hefty, tricked-out side salads ($4) to the dinner items I tried because my evening entrees were notably smaller. That aforementioned Kimchi Meatloaf ($15) comes on Texas toast and is topped with mashed potatoes embellished with cheese, sour cream and bacon. The combo is undeniably comforting, but the moist and umami-happy loaf bore scant evidence of kimchi and all I could discern of its “Asian BBQ sauce” were faint soy notes. I liked the mixed peppers in the provided side of buttered corn, but I would’ve liked more seasoning, too.
Although it might sound confounding, Ravioli Lasagna ($14, served with old-school garlic bread) is just sausage ravioli ostensibly treated like lasagna. The modest serving of ravioli I received was heavy on a perky, good tomato sauce, but light on sausage and cheese.
Initially, I thought the PB&J Fried Wings ($14) might be influenced by Indonesian satay. After biting into delightfully crisp chicken encrusted in toasted nuts and tossed in a peanut-butter sauce drizzled with jelly, the dish seemed more influenced by the late-night munchies.
Such quirky recipes presented in a retro-mod setting by self-policing servers — when things were moving slowly, I was gifted with an inhalable banana muffin and (on a separate occasion) an unrequested little discount — mean that twists in The Woodbury are usually interchangeable with fun.