Ok, I’m bringing back Elle Woods. Wednesday, EZ and I went for our annual 01/20 “day-between-our-birthdays” dinner at Woodfire Grill and I think a Pro-Con-Pro is in order. (if you are unfamiliar, please refer to a previous Pro-Con-Pro by clicking here)
I KNOW you know how excited I was for this dinner. I’m a Top Chef FREAK, I am overly excited by any kind of celebrity (especially Kevin Gillespie and his beard)… …I ADORE hype, and I love food and fancy restaurants more than probably anything else in the word (except handbags and lip-gloss. Duh). I have to tell you, the food at Woodfire did NOT disappoint, but the chances of my return are slim. (I just deleted “to none” when I remembered the restaurants proximity to my condo. It’s CLOSE.) Here we go: PRO: The restaurant itself is awesome. It’s in a really unexpected location (Cheshire Bridge. Not 7-8 months ago did Lindsay drive me to where I left my car on CB to find a full-fledge police hold-up happening ON. MY. CAR. Luckily, Taqueria is close and there’s not a whole lot a stiff margarita can’t cure.)
The interior is very cozy and homey and chic all at the same time and I absolutely adored it. It’s earthy and warm and very simply decorated. The crowd was pretty (EZ and I saw a gorgeous woman in a fabulous romper. A ROMPER, y’all!), and these super slick .com guys from Cali bought us some incredible vino. Plus, it is very difficult to get a reservation, and you know how I dig that sort of thing. (That is, if I can score a reservation myself.)
CON: I am just going to say it: the wait staff was a liiiiiiiiiittle obnoxious and pretentious. Sorry. They were. I was sad about it because on Top Chef, Gillespie always seemed really down-to-earth. The perception is that he’s just this super nice guy from Georgia with a natural talent for cooking who just wants to make delicious food and help elevate the national (international?) opinion of American Southern cuisine.
I thought the experience (read: the wait staff) would be equally earnest, but it wasn’t. I’d have to launch into a whole new pro-con-pro to tell you about the hostess’s customer service skills, but to make a long story short, we ended up eating at the bar. (Which is fine, I love to eat at the bar. It worked out.) Anyway. The bartender who was serving us was so condescending. In a voice my sister used to use with her Kindergarten class, “this menu is different than anything you’ve seen before. It has the date on it. It was printed today.” (Thank you! Good to know. They don’t do that at McDonalds!) and when we asked about various items on the menu she felt the need to repeatedly tell us that “everything is executed perfectly.” My general opinion is that if you need to tell everyone how great you are, you probably aren’t. (And for some reason, this chafed me more than if you ask a server about an item and they don’t know anything about any of the menu items) Plus, no lie, she actually used the term ” je ne sais quoi.” With a straight face. Woodfire wait staff: if I have one piece of advice for you, it would be to focus on connecting rather than impressing.
Pro: The food. The food was inspired. Brilliant. We adored our food and weren’t at all disappointed. First of all, I can’t remember what it was, but we were served a really refreshing amuse-bouche, phenomenal house-made bread and delicious herbed butter. Then we shared the foie gras (pan seared with braised pistachios on foie buttered toast), the sunchoke risotto (fried sunchoke. Celery “salsa.” Toasted walnuts. TaDIEfah!) and the duck (Grilled. With warm farro salad. Insane.) Our foodie bar-neighbors-turned-dinner partners were equally impressed with their meal. It was just a perfect flavor combination, perfect portion size…everything on our plates was JUST PERFECT.
So I guess the Q+DD is that this is a situation where I can’t wait for the hype to die down. I hope that Woodfire survives this little bout of celebrity and endures as one of our city’s fabulous little restaurants. Please, someone just let me know when that happens, I like to dine with a bit less ego…
1782 Cheshire Bridge Rd NE
Atlanta, GA 30324-4922