The real first impression happened when my friends and I were greeted by a beautiful wooden trough of fresh oysters and lemons on ice upon entering the restaurant. Good move Woodsman, good move. The five of us were seated around 7:30 pm on a Sunday night without having to wait even a minute (apparently this is not the norm) and I must admit I was sort of freaking out inside as I looked around and took in the thoughtful ambience. It's clear that Sorenson's hypothetical resume has "attention to detail" toward the top of his skills list, and I'm all about detail - so much so that my friends came back from the bathroom insisting I go in just to see how cool it was. I went to wash my hands and the soap dispensers alone (nerd alert!) are worth a trip to the baño if you appreciate design/style in any way, shape or form. I'll let the pictures do the talking because I know my words won't do the place justice, but I'll briefly describe The Woodsman Tavern by saying it's a sort of fantasy world of Portland-style idealized. We all wish we could look this good.
Now of course the food is probably what everyone really wants to know about. As much as style and design influence my opinions, the food is most important; some of the best barbecue brisket I've ever had was out of a small town gas station. I ordered a dirty martini, and it was top notch - perfect with oysters, which I had three of ($2-$3.5). Our server was great at describing the various options, because lord knows that as much as I love oysters I have no idea what the difference is between a Shigoku and a Chelsea Gem. My friend Hannah ordered one of the cauliflower "first plates" ($11) and I admit I was a tad envious; I judged it on looks alone and I know it tasted incredible. But for me the best was yet to come: I made one of the greatest decisions in recent memory and went with the Grilled Bavette Steak and French Fried Potatoes ($28). Best. damn. steak. of. my. life. And I'm from Texas. A ton of flavor, the perfect amount of tenderness, and the potatoes came with sriracha aioli on the side(!!!).