I was charmed by the Woodward ever since my first visit. Located in Boston’s historic downtown, and an approximate 5 minute walk from my office, it’s the perfect central location to meet up with friends after work. It has this swanky VIP vibe that is somehow unpretentious. I didn’t fully understand it at first, I just liked drinking there; but after talking to the food and beverage manager during a complimentary tasting, Uzay, it makes perfect sense. They’re going for a contrast between modern and old time Boston; a posh hotel bar located right next to the Old State House — “Ben Franklin meets supermodel,” if you will. Everything from the menu inspiration to the antique display to the dim lighting fit within the theme.
Here are some of my favorites from Woodward’s winter menu…
The cocktails are a perfect example of the old/new theme; they’re modern takes on classics. The Bold Fashion (Bully Boy white whiskey, Maraschino, Reagan’s orange and Boston bittahs) and the Demon Does (Milagro silver with muddled jalapeno & agave nectar, fresh lime & crème de cassis) were the standout favorites. The Demon Does will sneak up on you, it’s so refreshing you don’t realize how strong it is. Take my word for it, I was definitely not sober after one and a half. Woodward also offers growlers of its own variety of beer specially brewed for them by Smuttynose Brewery!
It’s great to have on the table to sip on while you’re waiting for your next cocktail. It’s great to share.
Check out the interview Jacki did with one of Woodward’s leading mixologists, Jesse.
The salads are nice size portions that are perfect for sharing and I appreciate their unique ingredient combinations. Top left — smoked trout with frisee, watercress, pickled red onion and whole grain mustard vinaigrette, bottom right — Riesling poached pear with Great Hill blue cheese, field mache and spiced pecans. P.S. Saying the word “frisee” brings me more joy than it probably should. The flatbreads are standard, but definitely crowd pleasers, and we really loved the parsnip bisque with seared scallop, cranberry and juniper.
Everything I mentioned before was great, but all the dishes were upstaged like no other when these guys hit the table: short rib tortellini with Madeira and truffle butter. This is the most popular item on Woodward’s menu, and for a very good reason. Umami…in a homemade tortellini. For our entree we tried the cod with shaved fennel. I really liked it but wouldn’t recommend it for anyone who doesn’t like fennel. It’s heavy on the licorice taste, but the fish was perfectly cooked.
My favorite dessert was the least traditional of the bunch, the Greek yogurt panna cotta with lemon curd and Concord grape. The Greek yogurt made the panna cotta tangy, which was great with the concord grape. The sweet lemon curd was a nice balance.
My ideal Woodward experience consists of appetizers and drinks on a weekday, but I would recommend it as a great spot for a full dinner any night of the week. I also dream of somehow being able to stay in one of the hotel suites, they are PERFECT for hotel parties.