Please The Palate Pick of the Week: Woodspoon LA

Downtown Los Angeles is a restaurant destination. When I was meeting a friend this past week to go to the final taping of The West Wing Weekly Podcast at the Ace Theater, we decided to first grab a bite to eat. I figured to make it easy, we would eat at the restaurant in the Ace Hotel. But he suggested we go to Woodspoon. I had never heard of the restaurant but gamely said yes and I am glad I did as Woodspoon is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

Woodspoon is an intimate little restaurant with only 12 tables. Nestled in the middle of 9th Street, between Broadway and Spring Streets, it is only a block away from the Ace Hotel. Inside the decor is simple and inviting. It feels like entering a friend’s chic living room.

Natalia Pereira is the Head Chef at Woodspoon where she recreates authentic dishes from her Brazilian hometown. Woodspoon has been open for 14 years! And from the vibe in the restaurant to the flavors of the food, it feels like everything is made with love.

Woodspoon offers traditional Brazilian dishes. But, this does not mean that people are walking around with skewers of meat to slice onto your plate. This is where to go to get a real taste for traditional, and lesser known, Brazilian dishes.

The menu is divided into four sections: Small Plates, Grelhas, Favorites and Side Orders. We started with a Mix Plate of small plates which came with a sample of traditional Brazilian street foods. The Croquette is made with potato and issdfghjk deep fried. Coxinh is Brazil’s most popular street food and is a creamy chicken salad inside a teardrop-shaped dough, battered and fried. Kibe are croquettes of bulgar wheat, mint and ground beef. Pastel Portuguese is a shrimp and coconut dumpling. Bolinho de Bacalhau is a cod croquette. The mix plate comes with WoodSpoon’s homemade dipping sauce made with mayonnaise, oregano, parsley, green chili and fresh malgueta peppers.

Grelhas are grilled meats (chicken, beef, chicken wrapped in bacon, fish or vegetable) served with rice, beans, plantains, collard greens, farofa and salsa. Farofa is a toasted cassava or corn flour mixture served as a side dish for meats, beans and feijoada (black bean stew).

Under the favorites section, one of the most popular dishes is the signature dish Empadao de Frango. A Brazilian version of a Chicken Pot Pie, the flaky crust decorated with a hand traced spoon is filled with a creamy blend of shredded chicken, hearts of palm, olives and corn.

While there is no wine list at Woodspoon, Natalia has a selection of rather intriguing wines on display around the restaurant, including the Julia Kemper Touriga Nacional from Dao, Portugal, which I was surprised but excited to see. I ordered a glass of the only red wine by the glass and it was a lovely Pinot Noir from the Santa Lucia Highlands.

It may have taken me 14 years to find out about this restaurant but I am definitely happy I did and that is why Woodspoon is the Please The Palate pick of the week.

107 West 9th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90015