Woods 416.214.9918 http://woodsrestaurant.ca/ closed Sundays, lunch & dinner Mon-Sat
Rules of engagement: do not come here for a loud or quick bite to eat. Chef Scott Woods has taken over Claudio Aprile’s Colborne Lane and transformed it into the stunning Woods Restaurant and Bar. Inside warm lighting, rustic décor and wall art gives one a feeling of dining in a forest. Well actually it’s a luxurious forest with comfortable seating, sultry cocktails and a carefully chosen wine list – not to mention a seasonally inspired, locally sourced fabulous menu.
The bacon salt-rimmed Woods Caesar ($10) with muddled tomato and fresh horseradish hits new heights, garnished with a deep fried pickle it could possibly be the best in the city. I have to mention the attention to detail: the straw resembles a birch tree – made just for woods. The bartender created a lovely citrusy cucumber infused cocktail on a whim for my friend (who showed up late I might add).
Chef Woods spaghetti and meatballs didn’t grace the cover of Toronto life for just looking pretty. Fantastic spaghetti comes with succulent meatballs stuffed with pecorino fresco, tossed in a simple tomato sauce that lets the herb flavour shine. Silky steak tartar ($14) diced with sour gherkins, onions and mustard delightfully sharpens with a side of house-made chips. Poutine ($14) is rich with gamy duck and Ontario cheese curds - it’s a textural wonderland. The frenched wings ($12)are playful with a savory blue cheese dusting and a side of compressed celery. East coast Digby Scallops ($17) buttery and browned to a crunch are a misstep – on the verge of being charred. Finishing the evening on a high note with warm made-in-house donuts plated just out of the fryer.
The cooking is wonderously refined, for the most part, with clear brilliant flavours and presentation.