After finding out their star item was the Pork Burger, We went back to the Brazilian restaurant Wood Spoon on the weekend at once.
Here it is: The Pork Burger, with roasted cabbage, onions, on toasted potato bun. It is SO delicious! The well seasoned pork patty is meaty but light in texture, very tender and juicy. The onion and cabbage taste light but compliment the pork so well. I savor every bite and didn’t want it to end!
Fish Sandwich: grilled fish, avocado, tomato, cilantro on french roll and yam fries. Very good too, though the yam fries are too soft my taste (I’d get salad next time).
Even though it’s a hearty meal, we didn’t feel greasy at all. Everybody’s right, the Pork Burger is something to come back here for again and again!
May 22, 2008
WoodSpoon (Los Angeles)
By Blogger Pepsi Monster
First thing that comes to my mind when I think of Brazilian food is the chuchurria or the all you can eat meat. Luckily I have experienced some good Brazilian meal today.
Based on other overwhelming positive reviews that I have from other blogs, I have to concur with most reviewers on their assessment about this place. Although I have to suggest the correction on the restaurant style that was mentioned that it was not authentic. Let me preface this, the place is an authentic BRAZILIAN restaurant, not Cuban or Caribbean.
The restaurant was a little tricky to find at first because it doesn't have a name on the big sign. Instead I saw a big wooden spoon on the front sign. You get it? Wooden Spoon! ....yeah, that was what I was thinking too.
The two big dishes that was overwhelming choice to eat in here are the Pork Burger or the Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie.
I took the liberty of ordering the Pork Burger. That thing although was delicious. It's also very humongous! The patty was very thick and fulfilling after eating half of it. Instead of lettuce, the burger instead comes with cabbage. Instead of potato fries, it's yam fires instead. It's sweet and have a different unique taste to go along with the pork burger.
Now, back to the pork burger. I thought it was going to be shredded meat or a pork chop cutlet. With the patty portion, because it was so big, I had to cut in pieces .
Even with that, I'll probably need to take two meals to finish that monstrosity of a huge burger. Definitely very fulfilling!
The appetizers are in two popular choices. The most requested seemed to be the Coxhina, which is a chicken in unique batter with special mayonnaise sauce. Also on hand was the Pastel Portuguese: which was a shrimp dumpling smothered in potato flavored batter marinated with pork sauce.
The restaurant is located in heart of downtown LA very near the Jewelery district. The service in this place was top notch as our server was excellent throughout the meal and was very knowledgeable in helping us decide. The chef also greet her guests warmly and was willing to take all suggestions that patrons might have. With service like this, it makes your meal more enjoyable
For an authentic Brazilian or any Latin American meal, I would highly recommend anyone check this place out as it is unique in not just the sense of its bright colorful decor, but they also have wooden benches for seats for people sit along with the walls. They also provided many different unique cushions to go along with it.
Remembered about thinking about eating alone? Wonder no more! There's a table set up for people dining alone right in the middle of the restaurant. Every table is against the wall, only except that one. Plus as you can see in the picture, the table setting and chair is only for one. I think someone should take the opportunity and sit in that!
Jul 21, 2008
By Blogger Hobson's Choice
WoodSpoon (107 W. 9th Street) is a relatively new spot in Downtown LA's fashion district. In the year and a half that it has been open, it has quickly become the heart of Brazilian culture in this part of town. But this isn't your typical Americanized Brazilian eats place. For one thing, it isn't a churrascaria. Though the menu does feature a "Brazilian Grill" section, it isn't all you can eat and the grill items are served with very traditional accompaniments - black beans, plantains, collards and farofa (toasted manioc flour, which is more popularly known as cassava). Rather, WoodSpoon is more an example of homestyle regional Brazilian cooking - the region being Minas Gerais, a state in Southeastern Brazil.
According to Bill at Street Gourmet LA, Minas Gerais is home to the best cachaca in Brazil, the sumptuous cheese that all of Brazil uses in Pao de Quiejo (cheesebread), and a variety of uniquely original and creative dishes that occupy a place in Brazilian cuisine similar to the place cajun and creole dishes from New Orleans have here in the US. WoodSpoon's chef, Natalia Pereira, is originally from the town of Betim in Mina Gerais.
Traditional Mineiran recipes represent an amalgam of Portuguese, African and Native Indian cultures, employing chicken, pork, beans, corn and other vegetables, commonly raised and grown in the back yards. The most common method of preparation in the region involves using a wood stove, which lends a great deal of flavor to the food.
From Street Gourmet LA again: "Minas Gerais cuisine was born out of scarcity, multicultural adventurers, and the voracious appetites of the miners and farmers that first settled the region. The price hikes on salt and other supplies from the ports of Rio, Sao Paulo, and Bahia in the 18th century forced Mineiros to use natural flavors like those found in Tempero Mineiro."
The restaurant itself is very sparsely decorated. It is a small storefront with sunflowers in the windows and very high ceilings. The front wall and the two side walls are painted white, while the back wall, with the entrance to the kitchen, is a dark brown. The tables and benches are the color of pine and each table has a small white vase with flowers. There even a a few recycled chairs thrown in for color.
... [WoodSpoon serves] some creative fresh squeezed juices, like strawberry limeade (photo on left below) and orange mango. They also have what Jonathan Gold calls the "best tap water in town: triple-filtered, no doubt, served sharply cool, and flavored with whole cinnamon sticks, which give the water a delicate fragrance and tint it the color of dilute oolong tea."
For our first course, we ordered the Pastel Portuguese, which were described as fried dumplings filled with diced shrimp and coconut sauce. They were cooked very well; nice and crispy but not greasy at all. The dumplings had a bright shrimp flavor and the sweetness of the shrimp was highlighted by the creamy coconut sauce. On the side, the chef served what seemed like a spicy herb flavored mayonnaise. It complemented the dumplings well and provided a good bit of heat.
From there, we dove into a few of the house "favorites." When we were first going over the menu, I have to admit that we were a little taken aback. The house favorites were a pork burger and a chicken pot pie. These are dishes that could be just at home at a country diner in Newton, Iowa as they are here at WoodSpoon. Not to worry, in the chef's hands, these are Brazilian dishes through and through.
The pork burger was delicious. The meat was well seasoned and cooked perfectly, which left it very juicy. The rough mouth feel of the patty made me think the pork was actually hand cut/ground back in the kitchen, but I could be wrong. The burger itself had a nice crust from being well seared and it had a very rich porky flavor. It was topped with roasted cabbage and onion and served on a toasted potato bun. For a side dish, you are given a choice of yam fries or a very simple mixed green salad. I went with the salad, but I want to go back and try the fries.
The chicken pot pie is another great dish. The handmade crust turns a rich golden brown and cracks under the heat of the oven. It tastes a lot like the crust from a baked empanada and it wouldn't surprise me if that or something similar formed the inspiration for this dish. The pie, itself, is filled with shredded chicken, hearts of palm, olives and roasted corn, all coated in a rich cream sauce. It is served with a side salad and makes for a very nice lunch, even on a warm summer day. Get there early though if you definitely want the pot pie. Pereira only makes a limited number by hand each day and when they are gone, they are gone. On the day we went, we just happened to get the last one.
All in all, the WoodSpoon is a great addition to the fashion district dining scene. It is a simple storefront restaurant with a chef that specializes in clean, fresh, homemade Brazilian cooking. The prices are reasonable and the employees are fun. One word of caution, Pereira generally tries to handle all of the cooking herself. This means that, at the height of the lunch rush, you could be in for a long wait. Of course, Brazilian culture seems much more relaxed than our own. The casual nature of the servers only add to the laid back vibe. As long as you go into the place expecting a nice, slow, casual, relaxing meal, that is exactly what you will get. If you need to be in and out in 20 minutes, I would pick someplace else.
Feb 27, 2008
By Blogger Street Gourmet LA
A taste of Minas Gerais from the welcoming kitchen of a real Mineira, Natalia, the chef and muse of Woodspoon.
Brazilian home cooking in Downtown LA.
It seems like every couple of months there is a new churrascaria opening up in the LA area. Matter of fact,
the entire world is going crazy for the gaucho and his panoply of grilled meats. I've enjoyed churrasco in LA
and on my many visits to Brazil. It's "otimo" "beleza"! But, I must say that when I hear about another churrascaria opening,
I feel about as inspired as a Pauly Shore movie. I long to experience the rich regional cuisines of Brazil like the African
influenced dishes of Bahia, or the earthy and sublime creations of the Minas Gerais state. Minas Gerais, home of the best
cachaca in Brazil, the sumptuous cheese that all of Brazil uses in Pao de Quiejo(cheesebread), and a variety of original
creative dishes unique to Minas Gerais. Its occupies an uncommon place in Brazilian cuisine in the same manner New Orleans
does here in the US.
When I approached Natalia about bringing my dining class to Woodspoon and then learned she was a Mineira, I thought,
"here's my chance."I proposed a Minas Gerais tasting menu around one of my favorites, "Xi com Angu", as it is known in
Minas, or just "Frango com Quiabo" (Chicken with Okra served with mush). Natalia came up with the rest, and what a treat
for the palate and soul.
Twenty-one of us enjoyed the following tasting menu:
Coxinha de Galinha (chicken croquettes) - This is a regular menu item and my personal favorite street food from Brazil.
I've eaten a couple hundred of these dreamy "salgadinhos" (savories) in lachonetes, street stands, and bakeries in Brazil
in recent years and hadn't found a version here in LA worth mentioning until tonight at Woodspoon. Natalia uses a family
recipe;there are as many recipes for Coxinhas as there are dancers in a Beija Flor Samba parade.
Bolinhos de Bacalhao (Cod Balls) - Another Brazilian classic that I've enjoyed form beach vendors in Rio. These are labor
intensive deep-fried snacks that are not easy to pull off. Woodspoon's version is a benchmark. The Bolinhos are originally
from Portugal, but have been adopted without modifications by Brazilians.
Next came the Mandioca Frita (Fried Yuca) and Linguica-Casava is an staple in Minas Gerais. Everyone raved about the fried
yuca and the linguica was the real deal.
Salada de Xuxu (Chayote Salad) - Chayote is used all over Latin America and this bright and fresh salad of tomato and boiled
chayote was dressed lightly just to accentuate the inimitable taste of chayote. This was also a hit with the gang and spawned
a few new adherents to the virtues of chayote.
Feijao Tropeiro, Arroz, Couve, and Lombinho de Porco (Trooper Beans, Rice, Brazilian Collard Greens, and Pork Loin) - Trooper
Beans are an homage to the brave troopers that tamed the hinterlands of Minas Gerais. This dish is Minas! Strained beans with
manioc meal, linguica, bacon, spring onions, and hard boiled eggs on top. Natalia gave as this amazing down home Mineiro dish with
the authentic accompaniments of rice and collard greens. Her greens have some aromatic quality that was so delicious, almost
like a hint of banana leaf. Refreshing. The pork loin was tender and bursting with simple and natural flavors.
Xi com Angu (Chicken with Okra served with Mush) - this is another definitive plate found in "Cozinha Mineira" (Mineira Cuisine)
that I've eaten at every opportunity in Brazil. Matter of fact, I will proably be running over to "A Mineira" in Sao Paulo in a
couple of weeks to have some more. The chicken was tender and the simple yet profound flavors of "Tempero Mineiro" (Minero
Seasoning-garlic, onions, bell peppers, spring onions, parsley and salt) meld so prefectly with the chicken and okra. Mix it all
up with the Angu (mush or Brazilian polenta) and you're whisked away to a magical evening in Belo Horizonte, MS. Natalia really
captured the essence of Cozinha Mineira with this uncomplicated gem. Well, I think it's easy if you are a great chef from Minas!
Arroz Doce and Cafe Brasileiro (Rice Pudding and Brazilian Coffee) - my Brazilian wife's favorite dessert was served with a slice
of cheese; the match of sweet and salt was so satisfying. The coffee was divine.
For drinks, Natalia gave us her homemade limeade which was delightfully sweet and tart. It tasted like a caipirinha without the
cachaca!!! I believe she uses the rind when she makes the drink which gives it that quality. Also, there were several flavored
waters served in carafes on the table, one with an orange rind, and another with cinnamon. Both were enjoyed by our party and
were aesthetically pleasing.
Minas Gerais cuisine was born out of scarcity, multicultural adventurers, and the voracious appetites of the miners and farmers
that first settled the salt and other supplies from the ports of Rio, Sao Paulo, and Bahia in the 18th century forced Mineiros
to use natural flavors like those found in Tempero Mineiro. Natalia has a wonderful restaurant and a true breath of fresh air in
the growing Los Angeles Brazilian restaurant scene. We were blown away by her efforts to make this special night happen. The food
was amazing, the service and pacing were deftly executed for having Natalia, and a waitress tend to our large group.
Can't wait to do this again.In the meantime, I will be returning for some more coxinhas and perhaps that Chicken Pot Pie.
Jan 23, 2008
WoodSpoon = Ausgezeichnet!
By Blogger DowntownContrarian
Tucked away in the Fashion District, in a small store front, is one of my new favorite places to eat. Wood Spoon. It’s a simple, straightforward take on Brazilian food. Hearty, warm and delicious. There were only two people in the restaurant. Chef and owner. Service is friendly and efficient. Everything is very home-y.
Surly and I split the Mix Plate as a starter. The mix plate included various and sundry fried tidbits. Coxinha, a fried dumpling stuffed with chicken. Kibe, bulgur wheat, mint and ground beef. Pastel Portuguese, dumpling stuffed with chicken and coconut milk. Portuguese croquette, stuffed with cod and potato. Fried potato croquette. The standout being the savory Pastel Portuguese, of which I wish I had two.
I had the grilled chicken sandwich. Grilled breast. Mozzarella. Pancetta. Corn. Potato bun. Yam fries. It was messy to eat, but seasoned well and had a great balance between the savory of the pancetta and the sweet of the corn. The yam fries are cut a little thick for my liking, causing them to be a bit soft.
Surly had the pork burger, the chicken pot pie being sold out. Ground pork. Roasted cabbage. Onion. Toasted potato bun. Salad. The portion of ground pork is enormous. So much so that Surly is too intimidated to finish. And her stomach is too small. Luckily, I got a few bites. The pork is wonderfully done, moist, and flavorful. Surly comments that the salad is salty. Are people salting salads?
For dessert, I had the hand made chocolate truffles. Delicious and chewy, you can see the gentle pinch marks from their creation. Surly had the coconut macaroons. I’m not a huge fan of coconut, but they were tasty, albeit a bit on the chewy side. We also finished with a cup of Brazilian coffee.
Overall Rating: Ausgezeichnet! Simple, well prepared, simple food served in a comfy setting. I’ve read about issues with the service online, but have made two trips and haven’t had that experience. It’s definitely worth your time.
Jan 18, 2008
By Blogger Penelope
At last I got to visit The Wooden Spoon, one of Downtown's newest culinary additions, and is what I believe to be the only Brazilian restaurant on our side of town. The food is honestly amongst the best we've had in downtown, and is definitely worth writing home about!
We started with the Pastel Portuguese (similar to crispy shrimp croquettes with a creamy coconut sauce), and the Calbreza Sausage & Yucca Fries, which are impressive! Our entree to share was the Beef Brazilian Grill, and was equally delectable. The lentil soup was piping hot and had some interesting spices, but was just average. Desert is not to be missed: the Bricadeeiro (decadent, rich chocolate truffles), and Passion Fruit Mousse. The cinnamon infused water hit the spot, and Brazilian coffee is perfect-I'm guessing a lot of cream and cinnamon. The coffee has kept me up late, but that won't keep me coming back for more.
The place was virtually empty upon arrival, and wasn't surprising to see it become jam packed with locals. The service seemed a little overwhelmed, but the price is right, and the atmosphere friendly.
May 10, 2007
By Blogger Pleasure Palate
Last month, after hearing so many raves about Wood Spoon, the new Brazilian restaurant downtown, I finally got my chance to dine there.
Before I even get to the food, I really have to mention their unique signage. While the words "Wood Spoon" were discretely placed on the restaurant windows, the actual sign above the restaurant entrance was a painting of a wood spoon. Cute, huh?
Upon entering Wood Spoon, I really liked the space. While minimalistic, the plain walls were broken up by two colorful paintings. With the yellow seats, yellow flowers on the tables and sunflowers on the windows, it really felt bright and airy inside.
So let's talk about the food now. I started my meal with fresh limeade and it was indeed fresh. They had made a batch just before we all sat down to order. While my personal preference would have liked the limeade to be a little more tart, it was still a very refreshing drink.
I started my meal sharing two different appetizers. We had the Pastel Portuguese and the Coxhina. The Pastel Portuguese was basically a deep-fried "dumpling" that was stuffed with shrimp cooked in coconut sauce and cilantro and came with a very addicting mayonnaise. What I liked about the Pastel Portuguese is that even though it was deep-fried, it had a lightness and delicateness to it that was surprising. The bread crumbs were quite fine and you could tell that they didn't overcoat the dumpling to death.
The shrimp had a nice texture and the e sweetness of the shrimp and coconut sauce went well with the "greener" bite of the cilantro.
I think the tear-drop shaped Coxhina used the same batter ingredients as the Pastel Portuguese and the chicken filling inside the Coxhina was great. The shredded chicken filling was moist, tender and delicious with or without the mayonaisse. I actually added a little bit of this Brazilian chili pepper sauce to the chicken and loved the kick it gave me to my tastebuds.
For my main entree, I opted for the Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie. My, oh my, that was the best chicken pot pie I've ever had. When the dish first arrived, I couldn't believe how big it was. I ended up taking half of it home. Other than the size catching my attention, I also thought it just looked gorgeous. The outside of the pie was golden brown and it had a great wooden spoon accent on the top of the pie.
The pie crust was also amazingly flaky and the filling which was made up of chicken with hearts of palm, potato, olives and roasted corn was absolutely delicious. I really liked the addition of the olives. It added just the right amount of saltiness without being overpowering. I also liked how the corn added a nice juicy pop in your mouth when eaten with the other ingredients. Overall, that pie was stellar and a must try.
Wanting to try the Pork Burger and the yam fries, I actually split an order with someone else in the group, not realizing how big the chicken pot pie was going to be. But the Pork Burger was also pretty big, even just the half. I took a couple of bites just to taste and took the rest home with the other half of my chicken pot pie.
Even with just those couple of bites, I can see why it's such a popular dish at Wood Spoon. It was moist and had lots of flavor. Just looking at the burger cut in half, you can definitely see the variety of spices they put into the meat. I also loved the roasted cabbage and onions that surrounded the burger. The roasted onions added a nice little sweetness due to its caramelization.
By the time the meal was over, I was pretty full, but I did get to try a Bricadeiro, which the waiter referred to as a Brazilian chocolate truffle. I think of everything that I tried that afternoon, this Brazilian chocolate truffle didn't do much for me. It had a chewy, taffy texture to it that wasn't to my taste.
As the meal was winding down, the owner, Nathalia, did come over to say "Hello" to the group was really nice of her and to see how everything went and how we liked the food. I'd have to say that she pretty much got raves from us as well.
Wood Spoon is definitely a welcome addition to the restaurant scene. The service was great, the wait staff was really friendly and the food was awesome. I really enjoyed my dining experience there and encourage you all to give it a try. You won't regret it.
107 West 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015
Tue - Fri:
11am - 2:45pm (times subject to change), 5pm - 10pm