One of my favourite traditions is the annual birthdays’ dinner my friend Lana and I have. Sometime after both of our birthdays, we make a point to get together and go out for dinner somewhere fun, rather than exchange presents. We always have such a wonderful time and it’s just a great excuse to go out to one of Edmonton’s many, awesome restaurants.
Our reservation was for 7:00 pm on a Saturday night. Actually, it was the same night that What The Truck was on 104 street and as we were driving through downtown I couldn’t help but notice how vibrant and alive Edmonton’s downtown felt. It was great!
I decided on The Blinker, which is made with Bulleit Bourbon, Blackberry Preserves and Fresh Squeezed Grapefruit Juice ($12). The drink was fresh and delicious, but was definitely really boozy. You could certainly taste the alcohol in this cocktail.
Lana had been recommended the Gin Basil Smash, which was made with Aviation Gin, Fresh Basil, Lemon and Sugar ($12). The basil gave the cocktail a nice fresh, herby punch and the gin didn’t overwhelm the flavour of the cocktail. After trying a sip of Lana’s cocktail, I think I actually preferred it to the one that I had ordered.
For dinner, Lana chose the Confit Pork Shoulder served with French Lentils and Gribiche Sauce ($22). We had both heard good thinks about the Pork Shoulder from other friends, but I was not prepared for how truly delicious this pork was going to be. I’m not exaggerating when I say it was probably the best pork I have ever had in my life. Melt in your mouth, salty, fatty, porky deliciousness. I am not a big lentil fan, but I think I would be very tempted to order this dish, just for the pork alone next time I am at Woodwork.
After some deliberation I decided on the Steak Frites, which was Flank Steak, Hickory Fries, and Tarragon Aioli ($24). The dish is also meant to be served with a Truffled Beurre Blanc, however, I am not a big truffle fan (like… at all), so I asked for the Beurre Blanc to be left off. I don’t know exactly what it is about truffles, but I just don’t love them. I know they are often described as “earthy” but I just find they taste dirty… not a pleasant flavour to me.
The steak was excellent. Perfectly cooked to a delicious medium rare, and so tender. The fries were perfectly crispy and salty, and an excellent vessel for the delicious tarragon aioli. Sometimes there is nothing better than some really tasty steak and potatoes!
For dessert I chose the Tiger Tiger Ice Cream, served with Absinthe Anglaise, Aperol Marmalade, and Shaved Biscotti ($8). I remembered loving Tiger Tiger ice cream when I was little, it’s definitely an acquired taste however; orange ice cream with black liquorice chunks… that’s certainly not for everyone!
Lana decided on the Sticky Toffee Pudding which was served with Toffee Sauce and Whipped Cream ($8). The Sticky Toffee Pudding was so rich and paired perfectly with the sweet whipped cream and (slightly) salty toffee sauce. Perfection. Although I do think that this type of warm, rich dessert is even better during the fall or winter months.
Overall, I was really impressed with Woodwork. The food and drinks were innovative and delicious and the prices really weren’t too bad at all. A drink, entrée and dessert each for just over $100; can’t complain about that!
I really enjoyed the vibe at Woodwork; it felt young and alive. At the time, I said “it doesn’t even feel like Edmonton, it’s feels like I’m at a New York restaurant!” Then… I had to check myself. This is Edmonton! It feels exactly like an Edmonton restaurant, maybe just the new Edmonton. A city we shouldn’t be afraid to be proud of!