Joanne and Amy write:
A new Wood N Tap opened in Vernon last year, and although we have both been to other locations, Amy and I put it on our list of places to try. The other night it was a convenient place for us to meet, so we did.
We were both ravenous, having eaten our school lunch at 10, so we ordered an appetizer to share while we made up our minds. We agreed on the fried mozzarella. Three large triangles of breaded fried cheese were delivered with a splash of marinara, garnished with unnecessary shredded mozzarella that took away from both the presentation and the taste. After we scraped off the shredded cheese, this was a tasty accompaniment to our red wine.
I tried their steakhouse salad and was disappointed. It sounded so good on the menu—“a blend of chopped greens with candied walnuts, crumbled bleu cheese, diced tomatoes, chopped egg, roasted red peppers, carrots and bacon tossed in a bleu cheese vinaigrette, topped with bourbon marinated sliced steak and frizzled onions.” It was delivered by a server other than the one who took our order, and unfortunately, when it was presented, the first thing I noticed was that the steak, which I ordered medium, was raw. And because it’s marinated, it looked bruised and raw. It distracted me from wanting to eat the rest, and it took several minutes until our “real” server passed and we could flag her down to send it back.
When it came back, it was no less disappointing. The frizzled onions were soggy at that point, and the salad was overdressed and limp. I’m not sure there were any roasted peppers, or if there were, they were clearly unremarkable. Overall the salad looked like soggy leftover bits from the crisper, rather than a crisp, fresh salad cut into bite size pieces. Our server never did a second check-back, and when she finally came to pick up our dirty dishes, she didn’t comment on the mostly uneaten salad other than to ask if I wanted it wrapped, which I certainly did not.
I was starving and decided to go with the half-rack of barbecue ribs that came with French fries and cole slaw. The ribs were falling off the bone, tender and well-seasoned, and the portion was a good size. I really liked the sweetness of “Uncle Fred’s secret sauce” because it paired well with the smokiness of the meat. The cole slaw was crunchy and creamy at the same time, and although I’m not a big slaw fan, I could see the appeal. Too bad that the fries were tasteless and limp, and therefore most ended up left on the plate.
After a very long wait with dirty plates, our server asked if we wanted dessert. She couldn’t find a dessert menu, so rattled off the four choices, highlighting the fact that all four are made in-house. We decided on the apple cobbler, it being early fall and all. What we got, however, was an unappetizing, unrecognizable mess. There was a large square of so-called cobbler completely covered in chopped nuts, way too much caramel and a scoop of vanilla ice cream. One bite revealed that that wasn’t just all we could see, it was all we could taste. The caramel and nuts overpowered any bits of apple or the topping usually found on a cobbler, and after only a couple of bites, we gave up. Then we sat for over fifteen minutes, again with dirty plates, waiting for our check.
The poor service shaded our meal. That is, if we had a great server who was apologetic about the salad, even just attentive, we might be willing to give Vernon’s Wood N Tap another try with a mental note to skip the sticky dessert. But even though Amy’s ribs were a hit, my salad was a miss on several points. And the service missing to make up for it.