My husband and his friend, Vic, are regulars at Wood Tavern as is Buck, our accountant down the street. You won’t get into this place without their status or a reservation well in advance of your date and time. Wood Tavern is on a very popular block of College Avenue on the Berkeley/Oakland border. They’re on the Oakland side. My accountant one block up is in Berkeley. And the street addresses go from 63xx to 31xx, so it can be confusing. I made a little gallery of shops in the 6300 block of College Avenue here.
Michael Bauer of the San Francisco Chronicle describes Wood Tavern as ‘bold flavors, welcoming vide’. Prices are reasonable and food quantities are plentiful at Wood Tavern. Service is excellent. You’ll pretty much always see Rich Wood milling around, conversing with locals and newcomers alike. Rich is free to do so as he has Yang Peng at the stove as executive chef. I always wondered about the connection between our friend, Vic, and Rich who apparently have known each other much longer than Wood Tavern has existed. Turns out, the bartender tells us, that he and Rich worked at Harry Denton’s in The Harbor Court Hotel (long since gone), and Vic frequented that spot. These guys go back a heck of a long way.
Wood Tavern offers seasonable and sustainable local foods, but there are some staples on the menu. Their pastrami sandwich is piled high with pastrami on a baguette, with emmentaler cheese and tangy cole slaw. The Niman Ranch burger comes with outstanding shoestring fries. We had to have the fries. They are cooked perfectly and they are plentiful.
But on this day, the hub and I chose a different route. New to the Wood Tavern menu the day before we dined, is the short rib sandwich. The sandwich had pickled red onions, giving the mellow meat some tartness, beautiful greens and a secret sauce similar to thousand island dressing but more tangy. Excellent addition to the menu. A seasonal choice, which I had to try, was the egg salad and grilled asparagus sandwich with parmesan cheese, pickled radish and carrot on an Acme sweet roll with mixed greens and balsamic egg. Wow!! I never dreamed of combining asparagus and egg salad. It was brilliant – gooey and al dente all at once. The balsamic egg was purple on the outside and gooey on the inside – an excellent, big dose of egg.
Wood Tavern is a favorite place for many, and you might be their newest fan.
Wood Tavern Wrap-Up
- Innovative Food
- Seasonal and Local
- Friendly, Reliable Service
- Parking is Difficult
- Reservations are Required