Credit: Alexis Steinman
Credit: Alexis Steinman
The recently opened neighborhood spot, Woodblock, located in the Seattle suburb of Redmond, is a dream-turned-reality for owners Tony & Carolyn Scott. The amiable couple’s aspiration to own a restaurant began 18 years ago when they began working at the now-shuttered Painted Table. After pursuing other careers, moving to Redmond, and having kids, the Scotts have finally transformed their dream into a delicious reality.
Woodblock offers rustic, innovative Pacific Northwest fare that is both comforting and indulgent. Chef Rodel Borromeo — formerly of Ray’s Boathouse and Café Juanita — offers creative dishes such as crispy calamari served over a chickpea purée; a rich, house-cured duck confit and pear salad; and a succulent braised oxtail risotto. Its standout burger includes a classic tomato, lettuce, cheddar combo which is then made even better with a thick slab of house-smoked pork belly on top.
The menu is peppered with local purveyors like Taylor Shellfish and Maple Leaf Farms. While the dishes rotate depending on the season, the Scotts assure me that their “non-negotiable” standbys will always be on hand. Such staples include Tony’s Scotch Egg, which is a breaded & fried sausage-wrapped soft-boiled egg that is popular in the U.K., but hard to find stateside. Carolyn swears by the Woodblock’s blistered Shishito peppers, which she affectionately dubs the “Russian roulette” of peppers due to their fluctuating levels of spice.
Loaded with an extensive selection of local and artisanal spirits, Woodblock’s bar is a big draw. Bar manager Bryce Sweeney crafts cocktails that are both classic and creative. I adored the True Blood, a pretty in pink mix of Oola Gin, Amaro Nonino, roasted beet and tarragon shrub, and fresh-squeezed lemon. Tony handles the rotating beer list, which features the best local brewing talents like Holy Mountain Brewing. Barrel-aged cocktails are also on hand — Campari-lovers will dig the Negronis and Boulevardiers currently on tap.
Woodblock is located in the heart of downtown Redmond, just 20 minutes from Seattle. An open kitchen anchors the modern space, which is bathed in natural light thanks to the wall of windows. Stylish pendulum lamps hang from the high ceilings. In addition a range of seating, from communal high tables to kitchen-side seats, reflects the diverse mix of customers including couples, families, and co-workers gathering after office hours.
While typically the “something for everybody” menu lacks quality in attempts to try to please all diners, this is not case at Woodblock. Children chow on buttered pasta from the kids menu as adults sip Syrah with their roasted duck legs. Twice-a-day happy hours offer $8 martinis (normally $12), $6 wine, and discounted grub — $9 mussels and $10 burgers — from the regular menu.