Friday, March 11, 2011

Woodlot. A perfect restaurant for me.


Woodlot, a restaurant where everything is started, cooked, or finished in a wood burning stove.  A place that has a great bar (with only homemade sodas served, not Pepsi or Coke products).  A place that has a communal table where you can watch everyone cooking and all the food coming out.  A perfect place for two people that LOVE food, love watching food be cooked and LOVE oogling everyone else's choices!

There are a TON of reviews out for Woodlot, most of them good to REALLY great.  A few thrown in there where a dish is too rich, or too BIG or just not to the person taste, but still good.  Woodlot has only been open since November, and has huge buzz in the Toronto Life, the NOW magazine and in paper after paper.  I happened upon an article of the 10 best new places for reasonably priced food in Toronto a few months ago and that night, Graham and I went.  We couldn't have been happier at that moment.

I have been dying to go back ever since.  Graham loved all of my food choices so much when we went, that he knew he wanted to order the same thing when we came back again.  In Toronto, with so many choices, a meal has to be REALLY good for us to want to go back time and again.  I have been asking to go back at least once a month since the first time we went.

Tonight, we were SO happy to show up and find that there were 2 seats left at the communal table in front of the kitchen and wood burning stove, and the waitress remembered sitting us there and how much we enjoyed our meal, back in December!  Man, she's good.  PERFECT!  It's where we ate last time and it's exactly where we wanted to be again.  What's better than seeing all the yummy food come out of the kitchen and watching the chefs put every last finishing touch on each dish right in front of your eyes.  That and since we ordered before everyone else at the table, they all watched out food come out and were dying to know what we ordered, as we were so excited about it when it came.

Tonight we opted to share, so that we could have room for dessert and not feel so full, we were sick. :)  It was a perfect choice.  They start you off with this red fife bread, which is perfectly fluffy in the centre and nice and crusty on the outside, a great move by baking it in the wood burning stove.  They hand churn and delicious whipped butter that as a butter HATER, I SLATHER on, as it's just so creamy and yummy.

We then ordered the main I had last time...the pork cooked in cider with caramelized apples, panchetta and sage.

I forgot to take a picture, but here's a link to one!

Pork with caramelized apples

We then had the potato gratin, made with an aged gruyere cheese, which again, was so heavenly and cheesy.  We were taken aback at first by how small the side seemed to be, but it was perfectly split by the two of us.

Lastly, we finished with what is the most incredible dessert I have ever tasted in my life (and I am a creme brulee ADDICT)!  It is just every bit of anything you'd ever want.  A delicious lemon tart.  Not just any lemon tart, but a shortcrust cookie pastry shell, with a blueberry coulis lemon tart, topped with a marshmellow topping, blowtorched and served warm.  Now the great part about this dessert is not just the perfect balance of buttery crust, sweet blueberries and tart lemon, but the WOW factor when you crack through the marshmellow to the crust and the coulis starts oozing out!

I love this dessert so much that I HAD to make a comment to the waitress or the chef, or both, or I don't know anyone!  Everyone on our table was oohing and ahhing over it and I was happy to tell them how incredible it is!

Our waitress brought the bill and I asked to borrow her pen.  I wrote a little note on the back that said...

"That lemon tart... THANKYOU!!!!!" underlined 5 times.  The waitress brought it to the chef and he looked over, while I mouthed Thank you so much!  He shouted over and asked if I had room for another one, to which I replied "Trust me, I already considered ordering one, and if I had more room, I'd squeeze in another, it was incredible".  He came out, took the note and posted it on the aluminum frame at the entrance to the kitchen.  I almost wished I signed it :)  He looked so proud and I felt so honoured that a simple compliment, can make a professional chefs day, as much as it can make my meal!

I went to the bathroom, Graham got our coats and when I came out, the waitress handed me a box with a lemon tart to go!  She said the chef wanted me to have it for a late night snack or a naughty breakfast in the morning!  If my night wasn't already made, this did me in!  I left so thrilled and so giddy, Graham just kept laughing at me!

and the chef!

No one in the kitchen is over 30.  They are precise and work really well together.  The wait staff, bar staff and kitchen staff are all really friendly and make your dining experience even more enjoyable.

So....GO!  Now!  Drive from wherever.  Well, maybe don't go now, they'd be closing soon...but seriously go here and seriously enjoy it.  Order a few dishes and share, because you will want to try as much of the menu as possible!


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