(Updated 10/6/2021) Description and review of Woodlake Tavern, located in the Del Paso Heights neighborhood of Sacramento. NEW: See UPDATE below for the latest – “The Atrium at Woodlake”.
There were six of us dining out on a cold and rainy evening prior to attending the B Street Theatre at The Sofia production of House on Haunted Hill. A friend had suggested we try the Woodlake Tavern – and we were all very glad that we did.
Woodlake Tavern serves BBQ and a variety of “comfort” foods – and it definitely is not your typical tavern. The location has seen a variety of businesses come and go – most recently Ettore.
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We had reservations, and four members of our group were already seated at a round table to the right of the door when the last two of us arrived. It was a Saturday night and the cozy restaurant was doing a brisk business.
A Bit About Woodlake Tavern
The interior of the Woodlake Tavern is attractive, and the staff is friendly and attentive. We all ordered beverages and proceeded to look over the menu. It was not long before we all settled on our selections and placed our order. Our server was helpful and very knowledgeable about the menu, answering questions and making recommendations when asked.
As we sipped our drinks the disadvantage of our location so near the door soon became obvious. Each time the door opened, which it did frequently as patrons entered or exited, our table was subjected to a blast of cold air. At one point before our meal was served I looked over at the friend on my left to make a comment when I noticed she had put her gloves on! I unfortunately did not have gloves with me.
One friend remarked, and we all agreed, that some type of barrier to protect the interior of the restaurant during inclement weather was needed, perhaps a heavy drape on a track suspended from the ceiling.
I took advantage of the time before our meal was served to look around the restaurant and take a peek at the outdoor patio in the back of the restaurant. Woodlake Tavern has two patios – one in front street-side and the one in back of the restaurant. The patio in the rear is very good-sized, and looks to be a delightful place to enjoy Sunday Brunch or dining al fresco on a nice summer evening.
Menu & Review
Between the six of us we ordered quite an assortment of dishes (small plates, salads, sandwiches, BBQ):
- Korean Sticky Ribs (sweet soy-ginger glaze, pickled peanuts, green onion) ($11)
- Oxtail Croquettes (Yukon gold potato, white cheddar, truffle aioli, chives) ($12)
- French Onion Soup (garlic croutons, brandied beef broth, bruleed cheese) ($10)
- Smoked Beet Salad (herbed fromage blanc, toasted hazelnuts, roasted grapes, local greens) ($12)
- Small Salad (baby lettuce, radish, carrot, feta, pecans, balsamic vinaigrette) ($7)
- Brisket Grinder (South Texas BBQ sauce, focaccia, jalapeno slaw, aioli with choice of small fries or salad) ($15)
- Impossible Burger (vegetarian patty, red leaf lettuce, tomato marmalade, crispy onion, aioli, brioche with choice of small fries or salad) ($16)
- BBQ – 12 oz. Angus Beef Brisket (South Texas BBQ sauce, served with pickled vegetables & cornmeal biscuit) ($18)
The majority of the dishes received very high marks. I had a taste of the Korean Sticky Ribs and the oxtail croquettes, and I would certainly order them on a future visit. The salads, brisket sandwich, and BBQ beef brisket were also greatly enjoyed. One minor criticism was made – the Impossible Burger, while it was said to be good, was served well-done as opposed to medium as requested.
The big disappointment of the evening was the French Onion Soup. Soup and salad had sounded like the perfect combo on a cold, rainy night – but the soup was excessively salty – so much so that I could not eat it.
As we finished our meal we asked for the bill as it was time we left if we were going to make the show on time. Our server noted that I had only tasted my soup, and when she inquired I explained the situation. She apologized and when she returned with our individual bills she had taken the charge for the soup off my bill, a gesture much appreciated. The fact is I would have felt very comfortable advising her sooner and asking for a substitute dish if our party were not on a time schedule.
I should note that I did not walk away from the table hungry as a friend on the keto diet gave me her cornmeal biscuit – and it was delish.
To Sum Up
To sum up, while Woodlake Tavern is off the beaten path the food and the attentive and friendly staff impressed me. I look forward to returning to Woodlake Tavern – perhaps to dine on the backyard patio in the summer.
(10/6/2021) The owners of Woodlake Tavern have recently opened an event space “The Atrium at Woodlake”, in what had been the location of the Woodlake Tavern.
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Woodlake Tavern Snapshot:
- 1431 Del Paso Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95815
(916) 514-0405 Closed Monday Happy Hour: Tuesday – Friday (4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.) Dinner: Tuesday – Friday (4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.); Saturday (5:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.) Brunch: Sunday (10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.) Parking: Street Parking Outdoor Patio Dining (seasonal music)
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