Review: The Woodlands

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If you’ve been to any of the popular dinner and dance parties at the Woodlands recently, you know they leave little to be desired. That is, they’re close to perfect.

I’d heard from quite a few friends who attended the Woodlands’ packed New Year’s Eve dinner and dancing celebration a few weeks ago. They told this curious writer the food was so delicious that they savored every piece of their surf and turf before hitting the dance floor.

That said, when I saw a recent e-mail talking up the Woodlands’ Valentine’s Day Dinner 2018, I was immediately interested.

Why, you might ask? What makes this a different kind of dinner dance?

For starters, I’m a fan of white-glove service. Something about being catered to and treated to a meal filled with a delicious five courses in an upscale style is right up my alley. So, whether you have a significant other or not (consider even taking a friend), a classy dinner dance on Valentine’s night is a special way to spend a night with any type of loved one.

On the menu Feb. 14 is a bevy of options: a land-and-sea combination of filet mignon and a crab cake for $69, a lobster tail for $59, chicken Neptune for $39 or zucchini lasagna for just $29. With such a variety of entrees and price points, there’s an option for a multiple palates and budgets.

Earlier in the week, I was fortunate to have the opportunity to taste test the menu in question.

While everything sounded delicious, I opted to have the chicken Neptune – a sautéed chicken breast with medallions of lobster tail topped with lemon chive sauce. It came out accompanied by roasted potatoes and a vegetable medley of cauliflower, carrots and broccoli. The chicken was fresh and delightful, enough so that – while even though I was full by the end – I wanted a third piece after I finished off the already-devoured two breasts that made up the meal.

The entrée was of course toward the end of my delicious meal; prior to that, the baked French onion soup, wintery strawberry salad and angel hair roulade were served.

I slowly bit into each dish, wanting to truly capture the distinctive tastes that will be featured on Valentine’s Day.

For starters, the baked French onion soup had an abundance of cheese covering the tasty onion broth. A light amount of onions was within – perfect for this cheese lover whose favorite part of French Onion Soup is savoring the cheese that’s made it ever-so-popular.

The strawberry salad with poppy seed dressing had chunks of fresh strawberries, tomatoes, and nuts atop colorful green and red cuts of lettuce.

It wasn’t difficult to finish off both of the starters, especially with my glass of house Cabarnet that my waiter quickly brought over upon taking my seat.

The Cabarnet paired especially well with the angel hair roulade – a light serving of pasta with a sweet sauce. On Valentine’s Day, though, visitors can expect a “house made vodka sauce” that we were told is a special blend of amazing and prepared specially by the executive chef.

While my formal meal tasting was over, I’d be remiss not to mention Crescenzo’s – the restaurant nestled in the back of the Woodlands that’s known as much these days for its exquisite brick-oven pizza as it is for its popular after-work happy hours and expanding menu.

Once billed as a pizza place with an espresso bar, Crescenzo’s now includes popular items such as fish-n-chips, quesadillas, wraps, Ahi Tuna burgers, cheesesteaks and more.

“The daily specials are the best,” said a Crescenzo’s regular diner as she settled in at the cozy bar for a weekday lunch.

“That’s a big plus for people who like home-cooked meals,” she said, mentioning the beef wellington dish the chef is known to prepare from time to time.

Another favorite, bartender Julia said, is the margherita pizza with its homemade sauce and just a little bit of kick to it.

Besides the bar, a few tables of ladies filled another dining area nearby, overlooking the snowy Skyy Vu Deck Bar, which in the summertime is known for its popular musical acts, special bartender happy hours, and feel-good vibe.

But, if formal ballroom meals or home-cooked food dishes aren’t for you, perhaps the sushi at Shogun (half-price Monday-Saturday from 11am-3:30pm and Sunday from 11am-9:30pm) or hibachi are for you.

At the Woodlands, there’s a range of dining options and special events weekly that make it a both a food and entertainment destination, no matter your flavor of choice.

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