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Return to Woodfire...

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Return to Woodfire...

Postby bob_rx2000 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:09 pm

On the spur of a kid-less evening, Mrs-Bob_Rx and I betook ourselves to the Woodfire in Dowagiac last night (shades of the 1970’s Firesign Theater album, Everything You Know is Wrong, there…) for an evening repast. It had been a while since we had been there, and in our recollection the place was loud, but the food was great. Our memories proved accurate…

Woodfire is located in downtown Dowagiac in what was clearly an old feed store of some sort, as some of the floor hoist equipment still exists as a decoration. There is a reasonable amount of on-street, free parking available with no time restrictions (South Bend, take note here…) and we had no difficulties with finding a nice parking spot or with seating, which rather surprised me at 6:30pm on a Friday night and not having reservations. The décor is comfortable, with original art on the walls, some of which might be acceptable to those of us with conservative tastes…

We were seated in the main dining room at a booth about half way up the room. Entertainment consisted of two folk guitar singers who were appropriate for the evening, covering a variety of the 1960’s and 1970’s folk songs, with the occasional oldie thrown in from the 1940’s and 1950’s. Billed as an Italian trattoria, the elegance of presentation, the cost and the entertainment combine to give you an adult crowd, but an eclectic one ranging from younger folks out for a special night to what I took to be “lake people” visiting a good restaurant while on holiday.

Table service was reasonably prompt and efficient, starting with a selection of Mediterranean olives, bread and oil, and quick, efficient bar service. Mrs-Bob_Rx was keeping away from the adult drinks, so I felt free to indulge in a very dry, traditional martini. It was delivered quickly, was delivered as I asked for it (1 olive) and was mixed correctly. Woodfire has a large menu of non-traditional martinis that involve spirits other than gin, which is in my eyes an abomination. As an aside, I also think that men should never, ever drink something that is neon blue and billed as a martini. But I digress.

We had an appetizer of “Woodfire Steamers”, a mix of clams and mussels steamed and served in a tomato-garlic broth that was simply outstanding. There is both a generous helping of seafood, and a generous helping of fresh garlic toast to help sop up the broth. Honestly, they could upsize this a bit and serve it as an entrée. The broth is spicy and has quite a few vegetables in it, and would be a good, if spicy soup.

For an entrée, I had a daily special of a ribeye steak grilled with gorgonzola cheese and mushrooms, served with a mixture of sweet and garlic mashed potato and fresh roasted asparagus. Many of you know that I like my beef rare, and this was done very well, a truly rare steak, nicely seasoned and grilled, and it arrived still slightly sizzling, so I knew it didn’t spend much time waiting to be served. The steak was excellent, cut cleanly and almost with effort, and had that melt-in-your-mouth rare taste that is not always found even at high-end, expense account restaurants. The asparagus was also perfect, but needed just a hint of salt, and I won’t comment on the potatoes, simply because I skipped them. Perhaps I’m aging, or perhaps the portions are exceptionally generous, but I couldn’t quite finish this meal and ended up taking about 1/3 of the steak home. Mrs-Bob_Rx had the mushroom pasta, which she pronounced to be wonderful, and again, far more than she could consume.

I was pleased with the service at Woodfire, which was very well done and attentive without being overwhelming. Our server ensured we had water, drinks and that food arrived in a timely way without gaps. I thought she might have had too many tables as she was hustling hard to do all this, but she pulled it off and was an excellent waitress.

Entrees are priced between about $13 and $30, with wine and my martini both coming in at about $7 to $8. Our total for the evening, with a 20% tip, stayed just under $100 and the steak was at the top end of the entrée pricing, so I should imagine that two people could easily have dinner and drinks at Woodfire and keep the tab to $75. Dowagiac is a nice little town, and there is a Civil War era statue in the park, so if you’re looking to escape the barrier of South Bend for an evening, keep this place in mind.
Bob_Rx2000
"Because, Gentlemen, I don't trust you..." Gunning Bedford, U.S. Constitutional Convention
"First God created the idiot. That was for practice. Then he created the School Board." Mark Twain
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Re: Return to Woodfire...

Postby Happy Mom » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:52 am

Outstanding Bob and welcome back to the Bob_rx2000 reviews!!! That made me want to take Dr. Happy up there immediately! :clap: :clap: :clap:
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