Open for just over a year, Woodblock has already established itself as a neighborhood mainstay in Downtown Redmond. Owned by Carolyn & Tony Scott, who met waiting tables 20 years ago, Woodblock is a realization of a friendly restaurant with great food and a bar program with some serious cocktails. The place was bustling on a recent Friday night, with Tony making the rounds and chatting with regulars in between serving drinks. The restaurant itself is modern and inviting, with a large bar, open kitchen, wood finishes, and an array of large pendant lamps.
Photos by: foodolish.com
The New American menu is accessible and rotates seasonally to highlight the freshest ingredients. We found the menu encourages sharing, particularly with the array of snacks and small plates. We started off our night with the scotch egg, which consisted of a pork sausage wrapped cage-free soft-cooked egg, panko breaded and fried golden, on a bed of caramelized onion and baby greens, and served with currant-grain mustard aioli. The egg was amazing and perfectly soft-cooked. When we cut into the crispy panko breading, the egg yolk oozed out and mingled harmoniously with the currant-grain mustard aioli. While delicious, we found it a bit under-seasoned, but the accompanying caramelized onions and charred red bell pepper added some additional flavor.
Next up was the mac & cheese and brussels sprouts! The rigatoni mac & cheese casserole was packed with four cheeses (asiago, fontina, parmesan, and provolone) AND blue cheese truffle sauce. Crazy satisfying with a nice earthy flavor thanks to the mushrooms. The addition of green apples also helped cut through the creamy cheese sauce and we really picked up the underlying truffle oil. Our only complaint was that the topping/crust could have been a little crispier. The brussels sprouts were nice and crispy, and served piping hot with crisp bacon, pickled grapes, and a generous sprinkle of freshly grated parmesan.
Woodblock’s charcuterie board offered us a little of everything, including their house-made chicken & duck liver mousse. The board was beautifully arranged, with the aforementioned mousse sealed with a layer of clarified butter, coppa, finocchiona, soppresata, Humboldt Fog chevre, Rogue blue cheese, and Beecher’s flagship, and accompanied by house-made olives, pickled vegetables, fruit, relish, and mustard. The toasted rustic bread was the perfect vehicle for the charcuterie, and we could picture snacking on this with a cold beer after work.
We ended our meal with the house-made gnocchi with red wine braised beef brisket, and the seasonal pan-seared halibut. The gnocchi arrived in a bland tomato sauce, with chunks of brisket, arugula, and sprinkled with parmesan. The gnocchi were on the large side, and the sauce lacked any discernible flavor. The brisket also seemed out of place, and may have been better if braised directly in the sauce to impart depth of flavor to the sauce. Since each part (sauce, gnocchi, brisket) was cooked separately and combined, this dish didn’t really come together for us. The hazelnut crusted halibut arrived with a nice sear, chive potatoes, grilled scallions & peppers, and a romesco sauce to tie everything together, but was also woefully under-seasoned. The halibut was overcooked on the ends, but the center fared much better and had the right doneness. Halibut is extremely easy to overcook, even for the most experienced chefs. The grilled scallions and peppers gave the dish a nice smoky flavor and the hazelnut crust paired great with the halibut.
Since there’s such a strong bar program at Woodblock, we couldn’t leave without trying a few cocktails. We had the Amaro Sour, made with four roses yellow label bourbon, averna amaro, egg white, lemon. Served up in a coupe. This was easy to drink and extremely smooth, while the egg white float lent a nice creamy finish. The Oh God Yes, made with peloton de la muerte mescal, velvet falernum, green chartreuse, lime, peychaud’s bitters was also served up in a coupe, with strong smoky flavor, bitters and a dash of lime. This cocktail isn’t for the faint of heart, and you really have to appreciate the smoke forward aspect of the mescal for this to be your cocktail.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal at Woodblock, and found under-seasoning to be the biggest issue. If the dinner crowd is any indication, we’d say Woodblock fills a much needed neighborhood niche here in Redmond and the food and cocktails are fantastic enough to keep people coming back.
Woodblock |16175 Cleveland Street, Suite 109, Redmond, Washington 98052 | Open 7 days a week