Woodstack Pizza, Metuchen
When you know, you know.
As in the case when I recently walked into Woodstack Pizza Kitchen and immediately got the good restaurant vibes I am always craving.
Maybe it was the barn-house chic decor or the super sleek bar or perhaps just the look of their super fancy imported pizza ovens that did it for me. I don't really know to be honest. I just know that once I walked entirely through the space and was seated in my heated outdoor area, I simply knew this place was legit. The food would be great, the staff attentive and the atmosphere would keep us comfortable to chat and relax well past our bedtimes.
Yup, I just knew it and yes, by the end of the night my hunch was spot on.
There was a big group of us and so we all ordered a mix of things. Save to say, the whole party was smitten on their orders. I had the Tuscan Kale Salad that was tossed with a chopped farm egg, parmigiano reggiano cheese, country bread croutons and a super tangy charred lemon vinaigrette. It was quite the starter for me, I happily shared the wealth. I then chose the Jersey Garden pizza because why wouldn't I get a pizza at a specialty pizza shop? Their pizzas, cooked for under 2 minutes in ovens shipped straight from Italy, leave each pie with a uniquely satisfying char and a deep smokey flavor. The Jersey Garden sported caramelized eggplant, fresh mozzarella, ricotta salata and fresh basil. It had all the summer feels each one of us is looking forward to. Another hit of the table was the Prosciutto Pie. Although not standardly a gluten free option, the kitchen welcomed the request and my friend happily indulged in her beaut of a pizza. The color alone of the prosciutto had me confident it would impress. Speaking of impressing, the Burrata Pie was one for some high remarks. Think of a melt-in-your-mouth fresh ball of creamy mozzarella atop a crispy speckled crust smeared with roasted tomatoes, fresh torn basil and a drizzle of arugula pesto. Yes, that is your stomach grumbling!
Besides the pizza, their pastas, all homemade, shouldn't be overlooked. I can't vouch entirely for them as I regrettably didn't grab a bite, but I can tell you they looked like some good eats. On my next trip, I am for sure ordering a bowl. I think I'll go with the Spring Gnocchi, which is served in a roasted red pepper sauce with baby spinach, ricotta and toasted pine nuts. It hits all the flavors and textures I wish more pasta plates would offer.
House-made bread we also devoured. I know it is just bread, but you'd be surprised how many places serve mediocracy up with some pats of butter and call it a day. I truly admire a place that takes the time to give their guests something of quality the minute they are seated. Hospitality people, it's a thing.
After reading up on this place post dinner, I found out some noteworthy points. First, they offer a mobile pizza oven. Think about that......serving some outrageous pies at your next gathering, now that's being the Queen Bee of your hood'! Also, they now host private events. And from the looks of their place, I can for sure say, I'd love to be invited to a party there. The ultra high ceilings, circular bar, open-concept pizza making.....it's just a neat place to be. Another important note, they do brunch on Saturdays and Sundays and from a pal who has experienced it, you should get on that reservation stat. And finally, it is a scratch kitchen. Which means they make it all in-house, aka gonna-be-good. From the 48 hour fermented pizza dough to the pasta and to the bread basket at your table, it has all be made from step 1 in their kitchen. Bravo, Woodstock, bravo!
And while I should have mentioned this earlier in my review, I will inform you now. My time here was spent with my book club, a group of ladies who read books, drink wine and debate all of life together. We love each others' company but more so, we just love to get out and enjoy ourselves. We chose Woodstack as a place to bring us all together for last month's meet up and I must say Woodstack's founders' dream of creating a "perfect unpretentious environment to gather and enjoy a meal in a relaxed communal setting," has undoubtedly come true.
Woodstack Pizza oven can be found at 259 Lake Ave., Metuchen, NJ. Their other location is in Pinebrook, NJ. Their website, www.woodstacknj.com, has more information and be sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube for current events and happenings.