Wooden City was opened in August 2018 by co-owners Abe Fox and Jon Green, who kept driving south — past Seattle — seeking the perfect home for their venture. They settled on the site of a historic printing shop, bringing the space back to life by exposing the original brick walls and employing industrial-chic décor and lighting to create an inviting, comfortable ambience for their patrons.
Fox, a Washington native, has spent his career in the restaurant-management industry, and Green honed his culinary skills under James Beard Award-winning chefs Michael Anthony at Gramercy Tavern in New York City and Thomas Keller at Napa Valley’s famed The French Laundry — the recipient of three Michelin stars.
“If I don’t crave every single dish on the menu on a regular basis, then I know it’s time to change something,” Green said. His inventive smoked salmon toast appetizer is a case in point. “I cure the salmon as simply as possible — salt, sugar, dill. Then I think about what goes with cured fish – crème fraîche, lemon, dill, pickled onions, and eggs. Those pairings are as old as time. We make a silky, smooth mousse out of egg yolks, pickle a red onion, make a simple relish with beets and pickled onion juice, garnish it with dill and radish slices, and serve it on toasted sourdough, because I like eating things with my hands whenever possible.”
The result is not only beautiful, but it’s a hearty, satisfying treat that has us craving it, too.
Ditto that for his uber-inventive ravioli filled with a creamy beet purée and finished with pistachios, basil, and toasted breadcrumbs, which had us licking our forks. “If you love beets, you’ll love them even more after you eat this dish. But if you don’t think you like beets, try this and you’ll reconsider,” a server said.
As you might expect, simple comfort food, like the tavern burger or pimento cheese with garlic toast, has been elevated to three-star status by Executive Chef Rob Lepse’s attention to detail and thoughtful presentation. The creative cocktail menu, Fox’s brainchild, deserves a mention as well — there’s something for everyone, from the classics to more trendy libations. woodencitytacoma.com