I used to enjoy Potenza restaurant and I was disappointed when it closed last year. However, news surfaced quickly that Jeffrey Buben of Vidalia and Bistro Bis was going to be taking over the large expanse with a new concept called Woodward Table. The daunting concern with this beautiful space is the massive size– with over 10,000 square feet it’s hard to imagine any restaurant being able to keep the place packed. However, last week as I ventured to Woodward Table for the first time, I noticed that Buben has essentially divided the restaurant into three distinct spaces: the bar and lounge, the sit down restaurant, and WTF (Woodward Takeout Food) which is a small area with a separate entrance which allows for breakfast and lunch meals in a grab-and-go format.
The bar area seemed to be quite busy which is to be expected given the location and the fact that it was a Thursday night. Many young professionals were enjoying drinks, and Woodward Table offers great happy hour deals Monday-Friday from 4-7pm including $5 beers, tap wines, and specialty cocktails. I arrived around 6:15 looking forward to a great evening with an old friend. We were seated immediately at a very comfortable table, and we had a partial view of the kitchen which I always enjoy. The atmosphere is very warm, and it felt like a perfect place to park for a few hours on a cold January evening. I started to peruse the menu and was immediately taken with the high-quality wine list. Many people might scoff, but I went straight to the $17 glass of Patricia Green Pinot Noir. I am a sucker for Pinot Noir’s from the Willamette Valley and it was well worth it with the lovely cherry flavors.
I really like the menu options at Woodward Table. It’s sophisticated American food, and there are so many delicious fish and meat dishes. I immediately was drawn to the arctic char with wilted greens, rutabaga, potato gnocchi, and a lemon brown butter emulsion. All of the components were calling my name, and I also ordered a side of the brussels sprouts with blistered grapes and almonds to go with my entree. My friend Carley started with the chopped salad and went for the crab cake sandwich– I should note that Woodward Table is a certified True Blue restaurant along with Vidalia and Bistro Bis which means all of their crab is sourced locally from Maryland and recognized by the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
I really loved the arctic char. The sauce tied the fish, veggies, and pasta together with its sweet touches of brown butter and spike of citrus. The brussels were nicely browned and the crunchy nuts were a great addition. I was really pleased with my meal at Woodward Table but I will note that it is a bit on the expensive side. I think for a restaurant of that size it might prove to be challenging as the actual dining room was not full at 6:30 when we sat down and still was a bit vacant close to 9pm when we left. It’s still in the beginning stages and many are not aware of the new spot and its offerings, but I will say that the food exceeded my expectations. I think it’s a great place to take a client, somewhere my family would enjoy on a trip into DC, and a place worthy of nice night out. I am looking forward to seeing how Woodward Table evolves over the next few months, but so far they are off to a good start with high quality food.
1430 H Street NW
Washington, DC 20005