Posted February 28, 2011on:
So, after Friday evening, I can now say I’ve eaten at two Top Chef restaurants. And not just any Top Chef restaurants….those that are attached to the names Richard Blais and Kevin Gillespie. Both of them made it to the top three of their respective seasons, and after eating at their restaurants, I know exactly why.
Woodfire is expensive, especially since I am on a college student’s budget. But the dinner was a gift from my great-uncle, and definitely quite the treat.
Woodfire is located on Cheshire Bridge Road. Cheshire Bridge is an eclectic mix of sketchy buildings and some really great restaurants. Woodfire is a very unassuming orange building near where Cheshire Bridge intersects Piedmont.
The inside is wonderfully warm, cozy, and inviting. I loved the inside. It wasn’t pretentious, despite the white tablecloths, it just felt very homey. They had some pillows that I fell in love with on all of the booth seating. The restaurant is also a LOT bigger than it looked from the outside.
Everyone inside was very friendly. Our waitress was phenomenal, very nice, prompt, and knowledgeable. The service was really well-timed, and it didn’t take long at all for us to get our drinks and our starters.
Now, Woodfire has a great sounding 5 course tasting menu for $65, with full table participation. Andrew and I opted for drinks, a first course, and a third course so that we wouldn’t go overboard. And I’m glad we did, because everything we ate was amazing and very filling.
For my cocktail (Andrew got a Sweetwater 420), I had something they called the Botanical Garden. It was vodka, lavender syrup, pear liquer, something citrusy (I think, I can’t remember) and club soda. It was incredibly refreshing and delicious, perfect for Spring like evening in the middle of February (I love the South).
We ordered our first and third course, and the chef sent out an amuse bouche. It was beet and microgreens, and something else. Point is, it was the first restaurant I’d been to that served an amuse bouche.
We both ordered the potato and bacon soup for our starter. It was potato and bacon with creme fraiche and crispy potato skins. It was delicious. What I loved was that the potatoes were left in chunks, and not cooked down so much like other potato soups, so the texture was there to cut through the creaminess of the soup. What made it special was the crispy potato skins, but I’m not sure there’s a dish out there that can’t be bettered by crispy potato skins.
I ordered the wood-fire grilled hudson valley duck breast for my entree. It was hands down one of the best dishes I’ve eaten. I generally don’t like duck, but this was so good that my mind may be changed. I had it cooked medium, and the inside of the duck was oh so tender while the outside was perfectly crisped. The wood-fire grill gave it a great smoky flavor as well. The duck was served atop some black-eyed peas flavored with small pieces of sausage. The breast was topped with microgreens, crispy duck cracklings, and a citrus dressing. Everything worked so well together on the plate to create a dish that I might just obsess about a little.
Andrew got a wood-grilled beef striploin. I can’t say anything about it. Sorry, I was way too focused on my duck dish to even remember that he was eating. I might get him to describe it to me. I’ll see if he’ll write about it. And he just described it to me:
“It was some sort of beef with some sort of mint salsa verde, and a creamy sauce. And some vegetables. And it was good. Be sure to put that on there.”
He’s pretty awesome :)
All in all, Woodfire Grill was one of the best (if not the best) meal I’ve had in Atlanta. Kevin Gillespie is a fantastic chef, and definitely a top chef. His menu is brilliant and inspired. I love that he changes it based on what’s in season, only it makes me wish I could afford to return more times. But I’ll definitely be back as soon as I can.