I journeyed to the Rockridge area the other night to check out Wood Tavern, founded by Rich and Rebecca Wood—the former owners of Frascati in Russian Hill. Housed in the space that was formerly Grasshopper, it’s a shame this place isn’t in SF—it’s good eating and mighty good drinking.
The menu features American classics with a little haute-cuisine twist and a sense of humor. I tasted the seafood “chowdah”—as the menu had it—and found it delicious. Of course, nothing could really match this cro-magnon-sized pork chop with Chanterelles, corn and bacon. I couldn't quite finish the whole thing.
Anyway, on to the important stuff: It’s called a tavern, right? So let’s talk about all the good things there are to drink.
There are only five, but it’s a great selection—the classic Pils from Spaten, Racer 5 IPA (which is hot right now), the knock-me-down delicious Hennepin farmhouse ale from Ommegang in Cooperstown, NY, and the famous Moose Drool brown ale from Montana.
The menu is brief, but traditional and fresh. With excellent and fairly straightforward takes on classics like the Manhattan and the Martini, as well as a nod to local bartender, Dominic Venegas, with a Rye, Campari and vermouth concoction that the Wood Tavern calls Rye-Lentless.
The list is fantastic. Short and sweet, which is what I like. It’s just a page, and every selection is great and perfectly suited—from Ici/La-Bas Anderson Valley Pinot Noir to Movia Ribolla Gialla from Slovenia to a nice selection of sweet wines on the dessert list. The best part is there’s nothing over $100 (though we know Rich is stashing some good stuff in the back and will have to wait and see when he comes out with his reserve list).
Though it’s in Oakland, the BART ride to Rockridge takes about 15-20 minutes from the Embarcadero, and then it’s only a five-minute walk up College Ave. It’s as easy to get to by public transport as anything in the city.
6317 College Ave.