The first time I passed Wood I peaked in and saw a beautiful wood bar with more than enough seats, a serious line up of liquor and rich orange leather booths. I immediately thought, “This is the perfect spot for a cozy drink and meal on a winter day.” Glad I didn’t wait until winter because this 2013 Michelin Bib Gourmand winner has some of the best drink, food and service in Lakeview.
The day was beautiful so I sat outside on the 25-seat patio and was quickly greeted by our server with a friendly hello and menus. The menu consists mainly of small plates and depending on the restaurant this could turn out to be annoying. I am happy to report that the small plates here did not disappoint in size.
Executive Chef Ashlee Aubin is an Alinea alum and believes, “..that using only the freshest, most locally available ingredients not only produces better tasting meals, but also builds a sense of collective community and responsibility.” Dishes change by season so you receive what is fresh. It was difficult to choose what to order between the well thought out cocktails (Death’s Door Gin, El Diablada Pisco, Drillaud’s Violet Liqueur, Lemon, Rosewater, anyone?) and dinner items but with the help of our server we decided on:
House-made tagliatelle with house-made merguez sausage, tomatoes and nicoise olives. Perfectly cooked pasta with a rich sauce complemented by the lightly spicy merguez. I doubt you would be the first person to order seconds of this dish.
Garden Salad – local greens and vegetables with house-made cheese. This wins the freshest salad award. It had the most earthy taste I’ve ever had in a salad. It was hearty and had flavors that I haven’t tasted in beans, carrots and beets before. I was sad when this salad was over.
CHARCUTERIE – Pork Rillettes, Country Pate and Chicken Liver Mousse. I did not partake of the meat but I was clearly mesmerized by the buttery crisp bread. I wanted more but I had save room for the…
Fried Chicken with corn bread and kale and it had several things going for it. First of all these were two huge pieces of crispy chicken which is always welcomed with a small plate. Secondly, the cornbread was crispy on the outside and soft in the middle with a hint of spice with nothing but fresh corn used. Thirdly, kale is everywhere but you should only pay attention to it when it’s good and here is where you will find it. It’s not cooked behind recognition but enough to take the bitterness out. It sopped up the honey for the corn bread and chicken juices and tasted delicious.
No room for dessert this time but I look forward to visiting Wood again and working my way through the menu.