Foodie Adventure: The Woodsman Tavern

Since I started chronicling my foodie adventures, my dinner date requests have increased exponentially. It was no surprise that my sister Amy was quick to ask if we could go on a foodie adventure when she was home for Christmas. As my list of must try restaurants grows daily, I was happy to oblige. My wonderful roommate Melissa was along for the ride(And she did literally drive us. Thanks, Mel!) for our adventure to the high brow hipster joint, The Woodsman Tavern. Next door to the original Stumptown off of SE Division this “tavern” is so popular we had an hour and a half wait for a table for three. There sure are a lot of high brown hipster lovers in Portland!

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The menu is separated into separate specialties and plates. It includes drinking snacks, raw & chilled seafood, country ham, first plates, second plates, and side plates. It is quite a menu, but it doesn’t hold a candle to their drink menu. Pages and pages of bottles, glasses, and tumblers. I went with a glass of Montepulciano, while Amy and Mel each chose a glass of white. I don’t drink white wine, so I don’t keep track of it. I believe drinking white wine is for sweltering summer evenings or beginners. If you want to prove me wrong, go ahead. You’re buying.

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My sister and I started with some raw oysters: a Kusshi and a Shigoku each. While Mel started with a deviled egg, which I didn’t actually see. It was eaten before I got back from the ladies room, so it must have been good! While their oysters were yummy I got a glimpse of their $80 grand seafood platter. This tiered platter of glory is the reason I will be returning to The Woodsman, and I’m recruiting now to find my eating partners for the the shellfish extravaganza.

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Next we moved on to a country ham plate. We figured since their ham was allotted it’s own section it was a must try.  I’m pretty sure we got the broadbent… but since it’s taken me almost a month to finish this entry I can’t really remember.  But whatever ham we had it was like something I’ve never had in a restaurant.  Sliced thinly like you normally see prosciutto it was served with sweet butter and baguette.

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The rest of the meal consisted of Brussels sprouts, sunchokes, catelvetrano olives, and anchovy vinaigrette, Manilla clams, with grilled octopus, artichokes, and chorizo sausage in broth, and Beef Brisket with acorn squash, heirloom grits, and red-eye gravy. By far my favorite was the manila clams and I’m pretty sure we all agreed on that. While Mel didn’t really like the octopus it was the highlight of the dish for me. Soft and salty it melded with the flavor of the clams and added to the weight of the seafood so as not to be overpowered but complimented by the chorizo. Yeah, it was awesome.

Not so awesome, the brisket. Maybe it was the fact that everything preceding our final dish was amazing and the brisket was just okay. It lacked the complexity of the other dishes and didn’t have that melt in your mouth delicacy that I find to be the je ne sais quoi that makes a good brisket amazing.

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Highlights of the meal included: country ham plates, the octopus in the clams, and seeing the grand seafood platter. I’ll go back, but next time I’ll have a reservation.

Want to go to The Woodsman Tavern?
http://woodsmantavern.com/

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