Review: meticulous dishes and whimsical decor at Woods in St. Lawrence Market
45 Colborne St., 416-214-9918
Chef Bruce Woods, who made his name with precise Italian cooking at power restaurants like Centro and Modus, has opened his first solo place in the room formerly occupied by Colborne Lane, which closed last February. While many hip new menus highlight offal and bone luges, Woods has designed a comparatively conservative lineup: luxe chicken cordon bleu, dry-aged rib-eye, spaghetti with oversized meatballs and a thick, six-ounce Alberta bison burger on a pillow-soft milk bun. His cooking is assured and exacting, as when he balances the brine of a seared Digby scallop with an earthy parsnip purée and salty cubes of corned beef cheek, or ratchets up the indulgence of foie gras with a sweet Saskatoon berry compote. The decor—banquettes upholstered in forest print, a tree-branch chandelier that could have been airlifted from the Shire—suggests even the straightest-laced chef can’t resist a little whimsy.