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A New Spin on Food at the Brewery – Bread and Circuses at The Woods

Back in June we told you about the opening of The Woods in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood, the new and expanded tasting room for Two Beers Brewing and Seattle Cider Company. At that time, we mentioned that food was part of the plan. Then, in November, we told you that Bread and Circuses was ready to start serving food at The Woods. Since then we haven’t really told you anything else. Well here it is.

Bread and Circuses is now serving its unique take on upscale pub grub at The Woods. Not from a truck parked outside, but from within the tasting room itself, where Syd Suntha (owner, chef and ring master at Bread and Circuses) is producing some creative gastronomic treats.

Last night we attended a special media dinner at which we were introduced to the food plan that Bread and Circuses has devised for The Woods. Some of what we ate is already on the menu. Other dishes may or may not make it onto the menu. Seasonal availability and continuous creativity will drive the food selection moving forward. (Below, the current menu.)

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Here’s the Deal

First up, understand how this works. Bread and Circuses is a popular food truck that spends a fair amount of time parked outside local breweries. That will continue. The Bread and Circuses kitchen at The Woods supports the truck. Wherever the truck might be on any given day, the kitchen at The Woods will be pumping out food to pair with your beer or cider at The Woods.

Joel Vandenbrink behind the bar at The Woods. Proprietor, brewer, cider maker.
Joel Vandenbrink behind the bar at The Woods. Proprietor, brewer, cider maker.

It’s an uncommon arrangement. Instead of operating its own kitchen, The Woods invited Bread and Circuses to move in and use some of the space. There’s a window where you order your food and then they deliver it to your seat. The transaction for the food is with Bread and Circuses and not The Woods: they operate independently in that way. Obviously, there is some collaboration, especially as far as beer/cider and food pairing suggestions are concerned. Those will eventually be listed on the menu.

What We Ate

Let’s get right to it. To prepare the palate for that which it was about to receive, our meal began with an amuse bouche: Housi Pear – brie, rosemary, truffle oil and sea salt.

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The first course was a Brussel Sprout Caesar salad, paired with Seattle Cider Company’s Olympic Honey Cider, which is made using honey from an apiary atop Seattle’s Olympic Fairmont Hotel. The salad is already a popular item on the regular menu. Crispy prosciutto, Parmesan cheese, croutons, and a pepperoncini pickled egg. Pictured – we were served a sample-sized portion; the actual entree is plenty big.

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Next up, Beer Battered Unagi. That’s eel, for the under-informed. This unique take on fish-n-chips was the first time I’d ever had unagi outside of a sushi restaurant. I was surprised how delicious it is fried, sitting tender and juice atop a potato funnel cake and served with daikon slaw, yuzu tartar, and Thai chili syrup. Paired well with Two Beers’ Crooked Belgian Wit.

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For the third course, a Kalbi Short Rib served atop a cannellini bean cassoulet. Served alongside Seattle Cider’s Cold Brew Coffee Cider, this was an exceptional pairing. Odd, but compelling and delicious. When you first lifted the cider, the heavy coffee aroma suggested that the cider would overwhelm the meat, but the coffee flavor is restrained compared to the smell and complemented the dish perfectly.

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Now it was time for something that the faint of heart cannot appreciate: Seared Octopus. Two things I’ve learned about octopus, it must be prepared properly and even then it is an acquired taste. Lucky for me, octopus is a taste I acquired a long time ago. The octopus was served with a red radish, arugula salad, and atop puffed farro. They admitted that it’s a new dish and that they’ll continue to tweak it before (and if) it ever gets added to the regular menu. I enjoyed the heck out of it. “Are you gonna finish that?”

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Finally, the piece de resistance: a churro served with an espresso stout chocolate sauce. Not just any churro, but a churro fried with foie! Oh là là, muy bueno! And that chocolate sauce paired insanely well  with Two Beers’ Overhang Bourbon-Aged Imperial Porter.  Hopefully this one makes it onto the menu and stays.

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Now that Bread and Circuses is fully operational at The Woods, you can make it a dinner destination. Instead of stopping by for a beer or cider before or after dinner, make The Woods the focus of the evening. It’s a causal and fun way to enjoy food that tastes like you’re eating at some fancy-ass, overpriced restaurant downtown.

The Woods Tasting Room
4700 Ohio Ave S
Seattle, WA 98134
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