Coconut prawns at Woody's on the Water
I took another detour into happy land last week with a visit to a waterfront restaurant that a few TNT Diner readers recommended – Woody's on the Water. (For my recent Happy Hour blog posts, see this story here, here and here.)
Happy hour is 3 p.m-6 p.m. daily at Woody's, with bar eats half off during that time. TNT Diner reader gmaglenda raved about the coconut prawns ($5 during happy hour) at Woody's, and I can see why – the flavors were a complicated meld of spicy, sour and sweet.
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The prawns wore a sweet breading coated in coconut, and fried just to the right degree of crispy yum. Sweet, plump shrimp were jacketed inside. The orange sauce was chunky with threads of sweetened orange zest and dotted with spicy red pepper flakes. A vinegar-marinated salad with cukes and red onions offered a sour pairing to the spicy-sweet orange sauce. This is a dish worth double ordering.
The spinach and artichoke dip ($3.50) was the best bargain of our visit. The creamy, cheesy, gooey dish overflowed with spinach and artichokes and came with a generous pile of fried flour tortilla chips. Some of the chips flew overboard as our server dropped off our plate, and she returned with garlicky crostini to finish off the dip. She noted that we already had fried flour tortilla chips with the shrimp ceviche and thought that we would appreciate the garlic crostini with the spinach-artichoke dip. And she was right – we did. The crostini was just the right texture for the gooey dip. Be careful not to let the dip cool too much, the cheesy layer on top congeals into a solid cheese casing. Beware of solid cheese casing, it requires a knife to get inside to the good, gooey stuff.
Some of the fried flour tortillas with the ceviche ($4) were just a touch overdone, and tinged with unsavory bitterness. The ceviche actually was just cooked bay shrimp marinated in a lime, onion, tomato and cilantro sauce – not a traditional ceviche dish with raw seafood "cooked" in a citrus bath. Woody's version was good in a shrimp-lime salad kind of way, but it had nothing on traditional ceviche.
The trio of slider burgers ($3.50) – in flavors of cheddar, barbecue and onion straw - probably would have been far better had they been watched on the grill. Two of the three buns were burned, and the meat was overcooked on all three. Liberal smears of mayo on the cheddar cheese slider helped along with dryness of the patty, but the barbecue sauce on the second slider did nothing to salvage it from drysville. The onion straw slider was OK, but needed some kind of extra dimension of flavor. Actually, I bet the trio of sliders would have been more palatable if the cheese, barbecue sauce and onion straws were on all three of the sliders, not separated into individual sliders. I wouldn't order that one again. In fact, I really didn't want to order the sliders to begin with. What I really wanted to order was the bacon explosion burger ($3.50), but they were out. Our server described it to us as ground beef wrapped in sausage and bacon. Sounds like bacon heaven.
Tenderloin tips ($5) were another bargain. Meaty pieces were happily swimming in a zippy, deeply flavored merlot peppercorn sauce that provided a scoopworthy companion to the crostini. It was paired with a meaty portion of deliciously chewy quinoa on our visit, but usually it's served with garlic mashed potatoes, our server told us.
More deals at Woody's: Half-price martini nights on Mondays and half priced bottles of wine on Wednesdays.
Your turn: where else around town should I be visiting for happy hour deals? I've got Harmon, Crown Bar and Matador on my list, all suggestions from TNT Diner readers. Please comment here with your recommendations.
Woody's on the Water
Where: 1715 Dock Street, Tacoma
Happy hour: 3 p.m.-6 p.m. daily
Info: 253-272-1433 or http://www.woodystacoma.com