For Christmas my wife and I received a gift certificate to the very recently opened M Wood Fired Oven in East Hyde Park. Having concert tickets for Friday night we decided to give M a try before hand. I made a reservation on OpenTable for 6pm and upon our arrival found an approximately half filled restaurant. The inside of the space is decorated in a rustic style and was much larger than I was expecting it to be.
We were immediately seated at a table adjacent to the front door. Fortunately the weather was unseasonably warm during our visit, as the front door was constantly opening throughout our visit, which would be an issue in colder weather. Plus the door doesn’t seem to close on its own, which is something that should be fixed right away. Many of the people entering the restaurant didn’t have a reservation and must have been given a lengthy wait time as I didn’t see many of them stick around and wait for a table.
Anyway, our server appeared at our table within a minute or two of sitting down to take our drink orders. The draft beer list was not on the menu, but our server was able to quickly run through the options even with a very brief description of each. After dropping off our drinks a handful of minutes later, she ran through the menu with us explaining that nearly everything is meant for sharing.
We ordered one item from each of the flora, gratin, and pizza sections, skipping the small plates and primal section that is filled with four different chef’s choice cuts of meat that vary each evening. We had requested that the salad come out first, followed by the gratin and pizza. After ten minutes or so our pizza and gratin were dropped off at our table before our salad. It seems that our salad order got lost and when we alerted the food runner a salad was quickly located and dropped off to our table as well. Our server and the manager were both very quick to arrive at our table and offered to remake the pizza and gratin so that it would be ready after we ate our salad. We decline the offer and decided to snack on all the plates together.
Our salad selection was not on the menu but was described as a pear and walnut salad by our server. All salads are $8 and though they were described as enough to share, we found the serving size to be fairly small.
Fortunately for us, through the mix-up with our order another salad was prepared for us and dropped off again by the very kind manager. This was the local greens salad with field greens, romaine, cherries, feta, toasted almonds, and creamy balsamic ($8). Again the portion was not really large enough for the high price. The greens were fresh in both salads, but the flavor combinations of both left a little to be desired. I’ve had similarly topped salads at other restaurants with way more flavor than what was served at M.
All pizzas are $12 and are plate sized, with enough to share as long as side dishes are ordered. The price of the pizza seems a little more fair than the skimpy salads. Our selection for the night was #3 with Parmesan custard, pickled chili, red onions, pistachios, and rosemary. This was a very unique pizza and the flavor combination was interesting and pretty good. There are five other pizzas on the menu, some of which have equally interesting combinations such as onion soubise, Brussels sprouts, raisins, and shallots.
The highlight of my meal was easily the cauliflower gratin with Brussels sprouts, pine nut crust, cream, and spinach ($8). This creamy dish of fresh veggies was delicious and the pine nuts added the right amount of crunch to the tender pieces of cauliflower and Brussels sprouts. They also offer eggplant, mushroom, and potato gratins but I would find it hard to skip out on the cauliflower.
For dessert I was really considering ordering their bourbon spiced apple pie with cheddar gelato, but our server suggested the pear pie with jalapeño gelato instead. I had never had pear pie before, but it was so similar to apple pie that I hardly could tell a difference. The jalapeño gelato had a nice amount of heat to it that really did compliment the spices in the pie. My only complaint was that the pie was cold, and I would have rather it been warmed up.
My wife went with the s’more cookie, which was served warmed. The middle of the cookie was soft and the chocolate nearly oozed out of the center, but the edges of the cookie were very crisp and impossible to eat with a spoon. I was expecting this to be a knockout desert but I actually enjoyed the pie better.
Despite the hiccups with our order, the service we received at M was efficient and accommodating. The prices are a little high on some of the items based on serving size. From my experience I would skip the salads in the future and focus on the pizza and gratins.