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Woodward Table, Owner Jeff Buben Replaces Joe Harran with Chef Eddie Moran

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On 6/20/2012 at 5:31 PM, 'DonRocks said:

Potenza is closing on August 18th, to be taken over by Jeff Buben (and its sibling restaurant Zola is closing on June 30th, to be taken over by Think Food Group).

 

Jessica Sidman of Washington City Paper reports that Woodward Table and WTF (Woodward Takeout Food), is now open.

Has anyone heard anything about the opening Chef de Cuisine?

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I haven't been yet, but having been to Potenza I think the space has a lot of potential and I like the idea of them having a separate area for take out. Looking at the menu, a lot of things sounds good - but I have to mention something that struck me. Does $8 for a side of fries sound like a lot to anyone else??

http://woodwardtable.com/menus/wt/menus/lunch

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I haven't been yet, but having been to Potenza I think the space has a lot of potential and I like the idea of them having a separate area for take out. Looking at the menu, a lot of things sounds good - but I have to mention something that struck me. Does $8 for a side of fries sound like a lot to anyone else??

http://woodwardtable.../wt/menus/lunch

And a romaine salad for $11.50. At lunch. Folks must be more flush than I am...

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Duck confit reuben sandwiches (grilled, messy, good) and a cream of cauliflower soup for lunch that was more cream than cauliflower. I miss the gelato but the food so far seems like a nice splurge for workaday folks.

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Duck confit reuben sandwiches (grilled, messy, good) and a cream of cauliflower soup for lunch that was more cream than cauliflower. I miss the gelato but the food so far seems like a nice splurge for workaday folks.

I had this reuben awhile back, and really enjoyed it.

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Turtle soup was creamy but surprisingly tasty (think lobster bisque but with turtle). The bread was ok & tasted good dipped in the soup.

Lamb ribs were fatty, gristly, not much meat but had good flavor.

Sweetbreads were fine, but were portioned too large and were a but unwieldy; didn't care for the accompanying slaw.

Scallops sounded flavorful and fresh on paper but were watery, flat, and gristly/sandy tasting upon arrival.

The service was very friendly, but the prices will keep me from going back and giving them another chance.

It's a seemingly cavernous space (looks like Potenza but with changed upholstery), but was pretty empty when we visited on a Friday night.

I've heard mixed things about WTF.

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Luckily for me, Woodward Table is right across H Street from Nantucket, so I could walk right on over with my new X-treme do (I look like a combination of Ivan Drago and a pencil eraser).

It's happy hour from 4-7, with draft beers and wines (they have four draft wines) all $5. My gregarious bartender, Fred, took care of me as I was an early bird, and one of the few people there when I arrived (it was packed when I left).

Woodward Table, despite its huge bar, has a very disappointing wine list, featuring lots of mass-produced, easy-to-source names at something slightly over double-retail. I could not find a single glass of wine I wanted to order, so I went instead with a happy-hour draft special, NxNW Riesling by Horse Heaven Hills in Washington State ($5, usually $9) which was decent, but without enough acidity to support its noticeable residual sugar. A second glass later into the meal was also a draft from Washington State, the Millbrandt Chardonnay ($5, usually $9), relatively pleasant for a cheap Chardonnay. About all I can say for these wines is that they were cheap at happy hour, and easily identifiable as Riesling and Chardonnay (which is better than you can say about some). I couldn't quite finish my Chardonnay, and ended up surrendering to a Bombay and Tonic ($7.50). Ahhhh, crap. I just dug out my bill to find out the price of the drink, and now I realize I was undercharged for an item.

Sometimes as a gesture of respect, I will immediately put my credit card on top of the bill when it arrives, without checking it. In this instance, I wish I had looked at the itemized charges. My apologies to the restaurant, and also my outstanding bartender, Fred, for not noticing this and therefore shorting them both on the bill and the tip. I will remedy this the next time I go in.

I wanted to get the drinks out of the way so I could focus on one particularly outstanding item. In fact, it may be the single best bagel-based dish I've ever eaten. On the bar menu, the most expensive item (except for the burger) is The Fishmonger's Board ($15.50). If you like bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon, this is the platter of your dreams. Enough for two people to split, this wooden plank is a bounty of smoked, marinated, and house-cured fish and shellfish including two types of salmon, two types of scallops, two types of spreads, smoked trout, an array of wonderful pickled vegetables, and four mini-bagels, conveniently split. It is nothing short of astounding, wonderful, and I hope and pray for everyone that Woodward Table is featuring this on their new Brunch menu - they began serving brunch on March 31st. Do yourself a favor and get this, and be hungry when you do. It's fantastic! And I finished every single crumb.

After this magnificent platter, I was pretty full even though I hadn't eaten all day long, but it was early, and I knew I'd be hungry at midnight if I didn't get something else. So I ordered off the regular menu, which had a little list of daily specials attached to it. How do you not order the Benton's Own Flatbread ($12.50) with smoked ham hock, country ham, bacon marmalade, and aged cheddar? As good as it sounds, with deep flavors of country ham and baked, aged cheddar, it's softened by a little arugula (I think it was arugula) and a squirt of balsamic, the sweetness of which counters the saltiness of the ham. It's a wonderful flatbread, and although I couldn't finish it, I made sure to rip off the toppings and not deny myself any ham or cheese. If this is on the specials menu, I highly recommend it as well.

On the way out, I realized that - wine list aside - I was going to be writing a glowing report of what is essentially "bagels and cream cheese" and "a pizza." Such is the drift of DC-area dining in recent years, and as unfortunate as I find that, at least Woodward Table does it well. There are plenty of standard items here also (rockfish, arctic char, pork, etc.), but these two had hypnotized me with their siren song.

With the exceptionally talented Joe Harran as Chef de Cuisine, presumably while Woodward Table continues to get up and running, the time to go here is now, before he has a chance to go back to Bistro Bis.

---

Lucas is not forgotten, and never will be.

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Are reviews like this useful? :(

Immensely.

Why don't I make any money doing this when incompetent attorneys make multiple six figures salaries?

I like to think of myself as "uniquely competent." ;) Believe it or not, the practice of law may be the most ethical enterprise in the United States. A lot of attorneys act like a-holes, but usually it's to advance their client's aims . Tthere are ethical rules to prevent anyone from getting too far out of hand. And I choose to believe that, like me, the majority are lovely off the clock. Sadly, not all live up to the ethical cannons to which we subscribe. But I think our batting average is good.

As for the lack of money in being a critic, I'll leave that to others. I have no idea what Kilman and Sietsema make, but I'd guess that the latter represents the high end for this market, given circulation (if he makes six figures, which I hope is true, he may be one of he few with a market large enough to support that salary). Beyond that, it's all about DonRockwell.com, which is really popular. That's good, because life on the Internet is about eyeballs, eyeballs, and eyeballs, at least for the people with the checkbooks. But the reason this website is popular is because you"re all about content, content, and content (with the occasional, rather prurient, joke). Fortunately or unfortunately, quality has always been your driver. That doesn't help you much. The Internet is either about volume or revenues, and both are modest at this point as compared to websites will millions of visitors.

So, really, all you need to do is (1) make a lot of money; (2) get a s***t load more viewers, or (3) convince the world that merit (as defined by your reviews and those of the other, learned, cast of characters here) has intrinsic value beyond (1) or (2).

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Thanks to this board, I just had lunch with my brother from New York at Woodward Table. We shared two specials -- grilled ramps and a softshell crab BLT -- and one item from the regular meny, the wild mushroom flatbread.

My favorite was the flatbread, which had very intense mushroom flavor. The grilled ramps were an extravagance at $9.50, but hey you only live once and the ramps, served with garlic butter, were delicious. The BLT, which included two strips of Benton's bacon, was sort of dull and for $20, nothing special. Good fries, though.

Service started off good, then tailed off when we were ready to pay. I think the guy expected us to order more food.

The menu is full of interesting contemporary american dishes, and I will return.

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I just had the saltiest dish I have ever eaten at Woodward Table. I ordered a bibb salad (decent, if not exciting) and the "spring peas". The spring peas turned out to be pea shoots (basically leaves) with raisins and pine nuts. They were so oversalted I ate one bite and left the rest (which at $6 or so, seemed a waste). I like salty food, but, wow.

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I just got back here from lunch and was planning to come here and inquire why there wasn't a thread full of praise, but I see that we have one and I clearly missed it.

The Knife and Fork Pork sandwich is as good as any sandwich I've had in DC since the glory days of the Chivito back when Fast Gourmet first opened. It is $11, which is not cheap, but I challenge anyone to eat this whole sandwich, a bag of chips, and a milkshake in 1 sitting. I think Joey Chestnut might have tapped out at my lunch today, as I barely made it through half of my great sandwich and threw away the last quarter of my shake. Overall a fantastic experience, Buben is using this space the way Potenza should (but never quite could) have.

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Lunch today at Woodward Table - Summer Vegetable pistou a nice soup but kind of meh, despite the fun pesto and cheese garnishes and fancy, lift-the-dome presentation. It really does taste like minestrone. The corn that was fresh cut off the cob had a nice crunch. My tagliatelle special with lamb's tongue, belly ragut, fava beans and basil was a large portion - well enough for lunch and a substantial snack later. It was buttery with the fatty belly and the lamb's tongue was an interesting taste - much more delicate that beef tongue. I'd love to try this on a flatbread or deli sandwich.

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I went for a salad. The Knife + Fork Pork Sandwich was the special, so I got that instead. Different from the last time I had it, with a cilantro dressing instead of fresh cilantro (which I would have preferred) and a different, more pedestrian slice of ham. There was a subtle amount of heat to the sandwich, but I could not detect its origin through all the runny egg and mess. The pork was fried perfectly.

Despite these nitpicks, this is the greatest sandwich I've ever had. It's not even close.

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Okay, I get it, Restaurant Week is sort of uncool on this website, and not many of us admit we take advantage of it. The thing is, the brunch at Woodward Table for $20.13 looked too good to pass up, and I was right. This was a ridiculous deal for great, abundant food. Started with the shrimp and grits--four medium-sized but perfectly cooked--with a mild but tasty andouille sauce on, well, the best grits I've ever had. This was the star of the meal, right off the bat. Bob's steak tartare was a fine rendition, if a bit mild--a bit of horseradish sauce on the side might have perked it up a bit, but the pickled veggies were good. For entrees, I had the chicken and waffle--a fluffy, nearly platter-sized waffle with a perfectly fried breast on top, a pair of large asparagus spears and bacon slices criss-crossing below and above, syrup and a black pepper gravy on the side. Bliss! Bob's brunch biscuit of smoked ham, scrambled egg, and more of that andouille sauce, now with crayfish added, was much larger than the description and delicious as well. Desserts were specials not on the regular menu--a pistachio and raspberry chiffon cake for me (more fluffiness), and a peach upside-down cake for Bob (denser). The lemonade spiked with ginger and mint is another winner if you forgo booze. This is my new go-to RW brunch, assuming they do it again (hell, I'd go here regardless of the deal). And definitely consider this as an alternative to Old Ebbitt's for out-of-towners. I haven't been here before, but this has the feel of a place that may be starting to hit its stride.

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I haven't been here before, but this has the feel of a place that may be starting to hit its stride.

The last time I went was several months ago, and I had a wonderful dinner.

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We stopped in for a pre-theater meal a couple of weeks ago.  Solid-to-good food, to which I would walk, but not run, back.

Arriving first we had a drink at the bar, which is a very handsome bar area...good spot for a hour hour that calls for something fancier than a bar.  I would imagine it is a good downtown date spot for when you want to meet for a drink and impress without being someplace overly formal or stuffy.

We started with the crudite, which was a nice collection of later summer/early fall vegetables.  The promised caper/anchovy dip seemed to be straight up blue cheese dressing.  At $5.75 it was a good sized plate for two people to split.

The tuna poke ($13.50) was a beautiful presentation - The cubes of tuna looked litle deep red cubes of watermelon, but none of the accompanying elements really stand out to me anymore.  It was a pretty little dish, but perhaps not something I would necessarily order again.

I had the Charles Farm Duck (ordered medium rare) which was flabby, the skin not crispy, overcooked, and somewhat chewy.  Not the best piece of duck I've ever had - which at $27.50 was disappointing.

The Hearth Baked Potato Gnochhi ($22.50) was one of those perfect Fall dishes that called for a fireplace and nice glass of wine.  Rich on rich on rich in the most delicious way.

The star of the night was the massive fillet of Carolina Trout ($23.50), although the accompanying brussel sprouts and sweet potato hash were rather meager.  Unfortunately, the bite of Seared Rare Tuna ($27) was ordinary and not very exciting.

So there were some hits and some misses, but at these prices you would hope for mostly hits.  Being near the office, it is a place I would try again -- and go for the trout and the gnocchi. 

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I wanted to get the drinks out of the way so I could focus on one particularly outstanding item. In fact, it may be the single best bagel-based dish I've ever eaten. On the bar menu, the most expensive item (except for the burger) is The Fishmonger's Board ($15.50). If you like bagels, cream cheese, and smoked salmon, this is the platter of your dreams. Enough for two people to split, this wooden plank is a bounty of smoked, marinated, and house-cured fish and shellfish including two types of salmon, two types of scallops, two types of spreads, smoked trout, an array of wonderful pickled vegetables, and four mini-bagels, conveniently split. It is nothing short of astounding, wonderful, and I hope and pray for everyone that Woodward Table is featuring this on their new Brunch menu - they began serving brunch on March 31st. Do yourself a favor and get this, and be hungry when you do. It's fantastic! And I finished every single crumb.

Seven months after I previously got The Fishmonger's Board ($15.50) at Woodward Table, I ordered it again, this time positively raving about it to my young dining companion on our way to brunch. It was this dish that pried us away from Mintwood Place, our other consideration.

While still a good value at $15.50, it's no longer a "bagel-based" dish; the four mini-bagels it came with in April have shrunk in number to two. And while the amount of seafood is about the same, the quality of what was on the board went noticeably downhill, and it was essentially now a fork-based dish for which the precious two mini-bagels are best conserved as food-pushers - they need to bump this back up to four bagels, even if it means leaving out some seafood.

A pile of small, flavorless, hard (surely defrosted) shrimp typified what was on the platter now, which went from being "the best bagel dish I've ever had" to "an ordinary cold fish platter." There was smoked trout, pickled herring, smoked mussels, mini-scallops in what seemed like a hollandaise-based sauce, etc., but there was nothing special here, there were too many vinegar-based items on the board, and it was not a dish I would go out of my way for (which I did) - what a disappointment this was.

I had it alongside my Diet Coke ($3.25, cheerfully refilled without me asking).

The better of the two items ordered was the Kentucky Hot Brown ($14.75), a regional sandwich (that I haven't seen in the DC area) with turkey breast, several generous strips of Benton's bacon, grilled tomato, and mornay sauce, served closed-faced (this is traditionally open-faced) on "toasted brioche" which Matt astutely recognized as "French toast" which is what it was. Highlighted by the piping hot mornay sauce, this was a natural topping for the turkey, and was a very satisfying sandwich - knife-and-fork all the way.

The disappointment of the Fishmonger's Board outweighed the pleasant surprise of the Kentucky Hot Brown, but this was still a good, satisfying brunch. At around 11:30 AM on a Sunday, parking at 15th and H Streets was surprisingly difficult, and the food took longer than expected to arrive, so this turned out to be a longer expedition than either of us had expected.

Woodward Table is maintained in Italic, but mentally downgraded by me, just a bit.

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I was there on Friday night.  I had the corned beef bisket with vegetables which was a good-sized portion which was easy to cut with even a fork.  My companion had the trout which she claimed to enjoy.  The place is huge and seems to accommodate all types of people and, importantly, seems to be rather quiet and conversations can actually be held calmly.

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Why has no one reviewed this restaurant in almost a year? Recently went for the first time and it was wonderful!!! It was Valentine's Day dinner and we had a great meal. Started at the bar with some great cocktails based on the friendly bartender's recommendations - Jungle Punch for the lady (rum punch drink with grapefruit juice that made it nice for winter, vs. your typical summer rum cocktail) and Aviator for me (I like my cocktails smooth and a bit on the sweeter side which this was). Then, off to a nice table near the open kitchen - nicely spaced for some privacy and not too noisy to easily have a conversation, but still some background hum to not feel like a museum). The bread was really good - biggish parker house rolls with coarse salt and good butter.  We started with a 3 cheese plate.  I think we chose the milder cheeses so they were good quality, but lacked a bit of flavor - but the accompaniments made up for it.  The cheese plate had 3 different types of toasted bread or cracker - all good and 3 tasty toppers - roasted hazelnuts, cranberry compote, and apricot mostarda (our favorite).  Then we shared the wonderfully varied House Salad - apricot, beet, cauliflower, radish, goat cheese, champagne vinaigrette - a real nice blend of crunchy, sweet, peppery.  It was hard to choose as all of their salads have interesting compositions.

For mains we had the atlantic snapper with gnocci, veggies, and saffron broth - very good (albiet the snapper piece was a tad on the small size). I had the gnocci main which was great - larger quarter size gnocci that were like little pillow of deliciousness. The gnocci comes with earthy mushrooms, apples, butternut squash and a lighter but creamy sauce.  Our waitresss also steered us to the different, but good roasted cauliflower side.  Simple nice roasted cauliflower but with the added sweetness of ver jus and tiny grapes - good if you like sweet.

For dessert, we shared the Apple Tart which was huge. It is about a 5-6 pie and rich - could easily be shared by 2-3 people.  It was pretty good - might have been better if the caramel sauce was thinner and easier to pour over the tart.  I really did like it with the vanilla creme fraiche - a bit more tangy than normal whipped cream to balance the apple sweetness.

We also had some very nice glasses of wine which I don't remember the names.

Most of the main entrees seemed to be on the larger size (especially some of the steaks we saw which were humongous) so a relatively good value for a higher end restaurant.

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My most recent visit was lunch this past week. I posted the tasty and clever skate club sandwich I got on the "Where did I dine?" thread. Also had an excellent root-vegetable (I think? It was green. Can't recall.) soup and my dining companion really enjoyed an "Oyster Po'boy" after clearing up the confusion over it being a salad rather than a sandwich.

Consistently good in my experience.

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EatRunEat, my family and I went to brunch on Sunday a few weeks ago.  We were right on time and were greeted immediately by the two hostesses.  Since we had a large group we expected to wait a bit while they put together some tables and got things set up...but not forty minutes.  I wondered what the deal was as there were a LOT of empty tables and what looked to be sufficient staff.  Once seated, we waited about fifteen more minutes for the waiter to come over.  He took everyone's drink order - well, everyone except mine - and returned about ten minutes later with the drinks.  I then ordered my drink and he went to get it.  He came back to the table, dropped off my drink and asked if everyone was ready to order.  We said yes and he replied 'oh good', at which point he walked away and took care of another table.  He came back ten minutes later and was ready to take our order.  He took the order swiftly, but had a little trouble grasping the concept of wanting one of the specials to be shared with the table as an appetizer.  About half an hour later the appetizer came out followed by the main courses half an hour after that.  At this point it was almost four o'clock and it started to feel odd to eat an omelette.  The food was very good - the chicken and waffles were especially popular at the table - and the portion size was generous.  

By the time we settled up it had been almost four hours since out arrival and on the cusp of the early bird special at the retirement home.  I was pretty upset as there were things that I wanted to do that Sunday.  Don't get me wrong, I really enjoyed spending time with the family, but four hours at the table with them dwarfed the amount of time I spent with them at the table during Thanksgiving.  

This was the worst customer experience that I've had at any place in the city sans the nightmare EatRunEat and I went through at Alba Osteria and will not be going back.  Especially since there are so many other good brunch destinations.  

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On 2/16/2015 at 2:33 PM, KeithA said:

Why has no one reviewed this restaurant in almost a year? Recently went for the first time and it was wonderful!!!

I am not sure why I didn't write reviews for this place, for some reason I thought I did?  Anyway it has now been several months ago we went three times over the winter for various family occasions.  Everytime we went we tried to get the noodle rabbit dish, but they never had it.  I am not sure if you don't have a dish for over 3 months why you would keep it on the menu- they shouldn't put rabbit on their menu in the future as they obviously can't stock it.  But the food we did have was all good, nothing special, but everything was good, large portions.  We did have some really slow service at two of the dinners, things were just paced really slowly and we all ended up being exhausted at the end and wanting to go.  This place is great for a large party though one of the few places that seems to consistently have space for a large party and we have never had someone dislike their food or selection, so it was great for some large family meals we had.  

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We went to Woodward Table after a KenCen show last weekend.  I thought the menu was much less exciting than it had been last year (although maybe they resolved the previous sourcing issues that way).  We were there right when the restaurant opened, but it seemed very empty for such a large restaurant.  Their parker house rolls might be one of the best things we ate all night.  Hubby had the fried chicken- he was REALLY disappointed with this dish.  It was three very small pieces of chicken, a biscuit, a small cup of "creamed" kale that was not very good- it was like they didn't cook the creamed kale enough and it was like cooked kale with cream overtop.  Their prices are not cheap- so this was especially disappointing to him.  I wanted to get the cacio epepe, but for $23.75 that just seemed outrageous.  I had the pork shank which was huge with brussels and butternut squash.  It was good- no complaints.  The side of roasted brussels was very good.  The rest of the table had steaks- which came out with a roasted garlic head- I am not sure if this was supposed to be garnish, or eaten- it was a bit strange in presentation.  The steaks were served on toast which I also found strange.  The desserts were all good.  The cookie plate is a misnomer which I think they are doing themselves a disservice with.  I thought from the cookie plate description- it was cookies (as one would).  It turned out to be a large plate of nine mini desserts and was more of a dessert tasting.  Which I would have ordered in a heartbeat- and I think others would likely order.  We weren't disappointed it wasn't cookies, it was just a bit odd because some people might expect cookies, and for people who like a little bit of this and that, they could totally sell the dessert tasting to that person.  Service was very smooth.  Last year I thought this place had an interesting menu, but was general purpose enough that it was great for taking family, etc.  This last trip was fine, but I feel like they have lost a clear vision of who they are and where they are going.  

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