Nine years ago our daughter, Rachel, married this handsome gentleman, Troy. For their anniversary we took them to Woodfire Grill in Atlanta. They had seen the owner/chef on an episode of "Georgia Traveler" on public television and asked if we had ever tried his food. You've probably seen Kevin Gillespie on television as well; he was a finalist on Top Chef - Season 6. So I made a reservation using Open Table with our special requests and we set off to Celebrate 9 & Dine!
Upon arriving , we were seated in a private alcove just two steps above the main dining room. At each of our places was a custom made menu entitled "Happy 9th Anniversary" and all but 2 of the selections on this menu were Gluten Free! Seven years ago, Rachel was diagnosed with Celiac Disease and since then we are delighted to find dining establishments that offer delicious GF items on their menu. On this night, it seemed Chef Kevin specially planned and prepared these culinary works of art just for our party!
Our evening started off with drinks and a delectable amuse-bouche of macerated strawberries. (Sorry, there is no photo because it was only one bite on a lovely white porcelain spoon and by the time I got the camera everyone had swallowed it!) The ladies had cocktails and the men had beer.
The menu at Woodfire Grill offers three courses Ala carte and two Chef's Tasting menus. One 5-course (which can be vegetarian or pescatarian on request) and one 7-course Grand Tasting menu. As in all of the fine dining establishments we have experienced, the tasting menus require full participation from the table. Fortunately, the "Bride & Groom" wanted to choose from the custom made anniversary menu so, we got to see and taste all 11 dishes on our menu. Now our first course -
Rachel chose the Sweet Corn Soup (left) with peekytoe crab, toasted coconut, calabrese chile and cilantro. Troy had the Local Baby Lettuces (center) with pickled cucumber, lady peas, cornbread croutons and sugar snaps topped with buttermilk dressing and local early cheddar. While the parents of the bride had the Fried Green Tomato (right) with poached blue foot shrimp and avocado served on bacon-hot sauce aioli and micro celery. I ask you - have you ever seen a prettier Fried Green Tomato? I didn't think so...
For our second course, I chose the Crispy Pork Terrine (left) with chili and lime pickle, mint chutney and pickled watermelon salad. The "Groom" had the Pan-Roasted Carolina Trout (center) with brown butter, mustard greens and cranberry and snap pea succotash. And Guy chose the chef's signature dish, Wood Grilled Pork Belly (right) with bacon spices, brussel sprout coleslaw, carrots and scallion. All of these plates were beautifully constructed and marvelous, but Rachel's plate of Caramelized Mushroom Risotto with sherry vinegar, wild mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and chives was by far the most delectable. (But it was not photogenic at all.) If you saw the photo you would not want to eat it and you DO want to eat this!
For the third course, the "Groom" had Wood-Grilled Berkshire Pork Loin
with porcini braised potatoes, local watercress and charred onion salad.
The " Bride" chose the Pan-Seared Wild Alaskan Halibut
with lady peas, dill butter, potato emulsion and local chicory.
I enjoyed the Wood-Grilled Hudson Valley Duck Breast
with roasted hakurei turnips, puree of roasted beets, white beech mushrooms and pickled onion.
(It was divine!)
And the "Father of the Bride" chose the Chile Rubbed Natural Angus Beef Striploin
with cumin-orange vinaigrette, wood oven snow peas, radishes and brussel sprouts.
Earlier I spoke of the Executive Chef that intrigued us enough to travel to Cheshire Bridge Road just to eat at his restaurant...now let me tell you another reason, Brittany Emerson, pastry chef! She was responsible for the indulgent sweets pictured above. On the far left is Chocolate Cream Pie, which Guy declared the best he had ever tasted. Chocolate Cinnamon Custard with Coffee Caramel, Cinnamon Meringue and Pistachio Brittle - seriously! Next, Key Lime Pie - Frozen Lime Mousse with Toasted Ginger Meringue, Rose-Raspberry Anglaise on top of a Gingersnap Cookie - Troy said it was unlike any Key Lime Pie he'd ever had. Third - yes that's BACON on top of my dessert - Banana Pain Perdu with Vanilla Ice Cream, Salted Caramel, Banana Cream Anglaise and Candied Bacon. And finally a Mixed Berry Bavarian Cream prepared especially for Rachel, since all the other desserts on the menu contained flour. And when you have dessert here be sure to have the coffee prepared in a French Press. It was a dessert by itself - not that I just had the delicious coffee!
We thoroughly celebrated Rachel & Troy's 9th Anniversary! And Rachel even joined in the tradition of securing the chef's autograph on her custom made menu (she got the pastry chef's, too) and I snapped this photo of Kevin Gillespie surveying his dining room from his open grill kitchen. So, the verdict is...
5 slaps of table = EXTRAORDINARY!
Some of you may be wondering why only 5 slaps of table after reading this glowing review. Let me explain...Woodfire Grill is in a most undesirable section of Atlanta (in our opinion) and while the service was friendly and accommodating it was not the type of service (formal) you receive in a restaurant with similar prices. Woodfire Grill is definitely a Special Occasion place for us. (I wish the couple with the noisy 2 year old just outside our alcove understood that - apparently they have more money than sense!) Yes, I am holding the restaurant responsible for that intrusion on our dinner - we've dined in many places where children under 12 are not allowed in the dining room - honestly, that's what babysitters are for! At any rate, we strongly recommend this restaurant for your next celebration.
Details for you:
1782 Cheshire Bridge Road
Atlanta, GA 30324
Hours of Operation:
Tuesday - Thursday:
5:30pm to 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday:
5:30pm to 11:00pm
5:30pm to 10:00pm
Friday - Saturday:
5:30pm to 11:00pm