REVIEW: Reel Seafood, Woodstock, Cherokee County
Woodstock was like many other sleepy Georgia towns centered around railroad tracks until Atlanta’s suburban crawl enveloped it. Now, it’s considered to be a bedroom community for Atlanta professionals but it holds fast to it’s quaint, hometown feel. In the middle of downtown Woodstock is where we found Reel Seafood. Keeping it real, (pun intended) there’s just one word to describe this restaurant and that is PHENOMENAL!
I certainly didn’t expect valet parking when we arrived at Reel Seafood but that was just the beginning of what a wonderful evening we were about to experience. We were seated right away in their spacious and very comfortable dining room. Our readers have heard us mention chairs before, and this is another example of chairs that are sturdy and comfortable enough to enjoy a meal over several hours. Kudos to start with, right?
The dinner menu really looked awesome and we were having a difficult time making a decision. Our server was so kind and patient with us and let us know that the kitchen would be open to however we wanted our food prepared and whatever sides we liked. When our server left, Melanie and I talked for a while about how cool that was and how we dislike restaurants that won’t offer substitutions.
First, we got started with an appetizer – it was the easiest choice because when I saw Shrimp and Lobster Fondue, I was hooked! Let me tell you, dear readers, we enjoyed this dish immensely. It was full of lobster and tiny shrimp. Most of all, it was packed with flavor. No worries about running out of toast points – our server offered to bring a few more when she saw we were running short. This is one of those dishes that will make you lick the bowl it’s so good!
We like to begin our meal with a small salad and our server suggested we split the BLT Wedge Salad that comes with bacon, bleu cheese crumbles and grape tomatoes. The split was just the perfect size and the bleu cheese dressing that accompanied it was wonderful.
Melanie decided on the Ribeye with Grilled Asparagus. This is offered crusted with coffee but Melanie was a bit gun shy and asked that it be prepared without it. Melanie is normally not a big steak eater, preferring the salmon on most occasions. Melanie thought the Ribeye was one of the best steaks she’d ever eaten. Prepared with a red wine jus with a touch of garlic it contained plenty of delicious flavors. The asparagus was perfect, well seasoned and cooked tender, such a pleasure to enjoy!
I chose the Blackened Mahi Mahi. The dish comes in a bowl that has a small portion of anise-tomato broth, leeks and arugula with halved fingerling potatoes and the fish is placed on top. I really wasn’t sure about how the broth would turn out, but I was absolutely in awe when I tasted this. PHENOMENAL! This dish had such wonderful flavor and the elements complemented one another wonderfully. I checked out the fingerling potatoes first and loved how the broth, leeks and arugula worked together . When I cut into the fish, it still had steam coming out of it! Our regular readers know how important that it is to us to be served HOT food. The flavor – the flaky tenderness of the was simply FANTASTIC!
I also ordered the Grilled Asparagus and the word AWESOME is insufficient. We often talk about the need to cook seasonings in with a dish during its preparation. In an effort to reach the masses, many restaurants forego this practice to allow dinners to season to taste. While this does give each diner more control, when seasonings are cooked into the dish, the overall result is that you achieve a much better, fuller taste. This dish, and this meal, was just over-the-top goodness!
One side item on the menu that also captivated me was the Lobster Mac & Cheese. When you go to Reel Seafood, you CANNOT, I repeat, CANNOT enjoy a meal properly without ordering this dish. For a side item, it’s enough for 3-4 to share. I am quite certain that I have never, ever seen chunks of lobster so generously added to such a dish. The taste, the flavor – it is decadence in its truest form. Reel Seafood is a Midas of culinary – every dish served, turns to foodie goodness!
I can count on one hand the number of times that we speak to the manager before we leave, but after I had paid the bill we did just that. We just had to share what a great experience we had. I also wanted to find out if they had any inkling of who we were or the fact that we were food bloggers. The only reason I asked was because we got five-star treatment the entire time we were there – from the moment we walked in the door. I was sure our cover was blown and they were putting their best foot (and food) forward to us. But, the manager said she had no idea of who we were and assured us that the service and food we received was the same quality as they would have treated any other diner.
If you live in Woodstock or Cherokee County, consider yourself fortunate to have such fine dining available close to you. If you’re not close, consider making the drive – it’s well worth it. Reel Seafood is top-notch and I’d stack them up against some of the finest restaurants ITP. For such a mind-blowing meal and a super dining experience, we place them on our coveted MUST VISIT list for Atlanta diners. Guten appetit!