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On Friday, December 11, two days before restaurants would be shut-down for on-site dining again, I decided to check out the newly opened restaurant, Woody’s at the Airport. Chef/owner Tim Wood landed on his feet here as the new operator after being dismissed from his long-time post at Carmel Valley Ranch. https://www.montereycountyweekly.com/...
The previous Monterey airport restaurant, The Golden Tee, was one of our favorites for lunch with Mom. https://www.chowhound.com/post/golden... Beloved by locals with a comfortable 19th hole kind of bar, this was the spot to watch the action on the runway from the second floor of the terminal while feasting on old school Monterey specialties such as sanddabs or prime rib. I figured it would be easy to walk-in at 4:30pm. Nope, the barkeep waved me off saying that everything was reserved! But the hostess saw me, asked if she could help, and when I said I was only a party of one, offered me a table if I would vacate by 5:30pm. This existing patio next to the runway was almost fully enclosed with only minimal openings for air circulation under the canopy, so I was happy with my spot next to the open end of the outdoor dining area. That was the safest table. I had forgotten about the findings in the Korean study showing the pattern of COVID-19 transmission inside a restaurant and should have sat with my back to the other diners.
As my last sit-down meal before lockdown would commence again Sunday night, I wanted the kind of stuff that doesn't survive take-out. Fresh French fries, fried Monterey Bay calamari with a trio of sauces, $10.50 . . . turned out to be good though needing more salt, but I kind of OD'd on this much fried food. I’d started with a cup of New England clam chowder, $6, described on the menu as “East Coast Woody’s Style”, which turned out to be milky, minimally thickened and included chewy clams and big cubes of potatoes with a sprinkle of fresh parsley. Pretty good, but oddly tangy and acidic. The plate of sautéed sanddabs, $22, served up FOUR flour-dusted thick fillets as a massive portion over a mound of whipped potatoes though I’d selected French fries as my accompaniment. Plain but very fresh steamed broccoli and a netted lemon half completed the presentation. My one criticism would be that the amount of caper beurre blanc was skimpy for the serving size. My plentiful leftovers filled my own to-go boxes.
Three planes landed and one private jet took off during my hour there, plus live music, for the full airport experience. Service was very good. Chef Wood has upgraded the prep somewhat in this relaunch but has kept in mind what made this spot popular for so many years. It seems to be working and reservations can be hard to come by on weekends now.
Woody’s at the Airport
Monterey Regional Airport
200 Fred Kane Drive
Monterey, CA 93940
Parking validation in the airport lot with $15 minimum purchase.
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