Jonah and I had been wanting to go to the Woodsman Tavern for a while. When my dad and Darla came to town about a month ago, I was looking for places to eat, and saw that Woodsman Tavern has brunch. It’s a little out of town (east of 39th on about 50th and SE Division), so I figured it’d be a little less crazy than, say, Screen Door or Tasty n Sons. And it was. We still had to wait for a little bit, but there was no crazy line out the door or hour and a half wait. And the little wait there was was well worth it.
First, let me tell you about the decor. The whole restaurant is a beautiful dark wood, and the tables and chairs have a kind of industrial feel to them. The walls are covered with landscape paintings (many of them depicting the beautiful Mt. Hood). There are big windows along two walls, so the light was really natural and bright for brunch. It immediately felt homey but also chic.
The staff were all extremely friendly. Jonah and I waited at the bar, where we chatted with the bartender about their amazing vintage bitters bottles, our weekend thus far, and this cute puppy sitting outside. Our waitress was very sweet, and I was only mildly envious at how effortlessly she pulled off her white blond hair and bright red lipstick. She handled my dad’s sarcasm and schmoozing very well.
I decided to start the morning by indulging a bit and getting a mimosa, which the Woodsman does with grapefruit juice and some vanilla. It was a really nice simple twist on a classic. Dad and Jonah got the oven pancake with apricot preserves, ricotta, and pistachios. These pancakes were absolutely beautiful when they came to the table, big and light. And really tasty.
Darla and I both ordered with the potted egg with creamed greens, country ham (really more like prosciutto, which is my favorite), and a biscuit with apple butter. The egg and greens came in a little jar, with the biscuit and ham on the side. The egg was cooked perfectly atop the creamed greens (chard) and was all just really nice – it somehow was both light and comfort-food-esque at the same time. The biscuit was amazing: really flaky and crispy, and the apple butter was a lovely touch.
After brunch, we went to the little market they have next door. More of a specialty spot, they have a little produce cart outside, as well as some nice meats and cheeses inside (their breakfast sausage is really wonderful). The walls are covered with fancy oils, vinegars, sardines, salts… the list goes on and on. And in their little freezer they have containers of various stocks for sale as well as a small selection of Salt & Straw ice cream. The folks behind the counter were extremely nice and gave us tastes of various cheeses before we made our selection (to be used later for a midday snack). It was, overall, a lovely way to spend the morning.