Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Wood-fired cooking at Woodwork

On a cold and dark Tuesday night we gathered to celebrate a good friend's birthday with dinner and drinks at Woodwork, located in the historic MacLeod Building in downtown Edmonton. Woodwork opened a little over a month ago and has been the source of many blog posts and tweets about their food.

The wood-fired oven leant a comforting smell to the restaurant, reminiscent of wood burning fireplaces but not over powering. On such a dark and dreary night, it was a welcome change from the cold. I had read a couple comments about the temperature inside the restaurant and was prepared to basically freeze my butt off in search of good food. Fortunately, this was not the case. Now, I am almost always cold no matter where I go. I pack lots of sweaters for trips to Mexico! But I found the overall temperature of the restaurant was really not an issue.

While we waited for our table, we crowded around the bar and ordered some bar snacks and cocktails. A lovely glass of pinot noir for me started the night off perfectly. The birthday boy was sad to hear that the kitchen was out of rye bread as he was excited to try the pork butter (Warm Molasses Rye Bread with Pork Butter - $7). However, the hickory fries (Hickory Frites, Tarragon Aioli - $7) arrived hot and well seasoned with a hint of smoke. The charcuterie board (Select Woodwork Charcuterie, Pickles and Preserves 120g or 240g - $16/$25) was not one of the most exciting I have ever encountered. The pickles were spicy and sour and the charcuterie selection was good. I should note that the bar server was excellent and provided a glass of champagne to my friend upon hearing it was his birthday.

We were moved to our table fairly quickly and were seated in the back by the kitchen. We ordered another round of those hickory fries because they were so darn tasty. Our server informed us that there was pork pie leftover from lunch available as well. Perhaps characterizing it as "leftover" was not the best selling point.

The seasonal vegetables for the evening was a medley of carrots, parsnips, and cauliflower in butter and herbs and served with bone marrow (MP/ $15 that day). DONE. This was hands down my favorite dish of the evening.

Seasonal Vegetables
My boyfriend and I split the hanger steak (Hanger Steak, Hickory Frites, Smoked Beurre Bercy - $24) and Cornish Hen (Cornish Hen, Pearl Barley Risotto, Roasted Cocktail Tomato - $27), along with the plate of veggies. Our server told me the steak would be cooked to medium rare and that it is first sous vide. 

The steak arrived perfectly medium rare and melt in your mouth tender. The fries on the side were as delicious as the previous two rounds. The butter on top was a bit unnecessary and I could have done without. Then again, is there really such a thing as too much butter?

Hanger Steak, Hickory Frites, Smoked Beurre Bercy

The Cornish hen had delightfully crispy and well seasoned skin and sat atop a delicious barley risotto spotted with little flecks of carrot adding some nice colour. My boyfriend, which I should say is an adamant carnivore and often avoids vegetables altogether, declared the barley risotto to be his favorite part of the entire meal.

Cornish Hen, Pearl Barley Risotto, Roasted Cocktail Tomato 

The pork shoulder and ribs were also ordered by others at our table. Everyone agreed that their meals were delicious. The portion on the pork shoulder was on the small side, but the diner (who said she isn't a huge pork fan) loved it. The ribs were a huge hit as well.

Pork Ribs, Baby Back, Nomad Baked Beans, Slaw, Half Rack $16 Full Rack $25
Photo courtesy of @

I did not sample any of the delicious-sounding cocktails on the menu, seeing as I am a wine girl through and through. The pinot noir they were pouring was excellent, though, and the rest of the wine list looked fantastic. However, the cocktails that were ordered all looked refreshing and beautifully presented! Two of the diners also ordered a peanut butter dessert and raved that it was just like a PB&J sandwich - in a good way! (Peanut Butter, Chocolate and Raspberry Mousse - $9)

According to the website:
The name WOODWORK pays homage to the intersection of our passions for wood-fired cooking and barrel-aged spirits.

The wood fired cooking was, without a doubt, downright delicious. The meal was a bit of expensive for a Tuesday night outing ($155 incl. tax and tip for two), so I am not sure I would make this a regular restaurant for us, but definitely worth the splurge every once and a while.

Note that you can book a table online through open table. It was packed at 8:00pm on a Tuesday night so I would definitely recommend reserving in advance. Also, the menu politely advises that substitutions/modifications are not accepted. But trust me, the food is good as it is. 


10132-100 Street, Edmonton

Woodwork on Urbanspoon