Review: First Visit to Fielding's Wood Grill

September 12, 2013

The opening of a new independently-owned restaurant in the Woodlands is always an exciting thing for us. We look forward to discovering a great new place to enjoy and recommend to our friends and readers.

We were particularly happy to hear about Fielding's Wood Grill, the new project from Cary Attar and chef Edel Goncalves. Cary has a long history in the culinary industry, most recently as founder of Hubbell & Hudson, the organization that operates a gourmet market, a cooking school, and two exceptional restaurants in the Woodlands. Chef Edel opened the Hubbel & Hudson Bistro and the late, lamented Rouge on Westheimer.
Fielding's is Cary's new concept, and it is an ambitious one. It is a cozy, upscale, casual restaurant located on Research Forest near Six Pines, in a small new shopping center. The decor is modern with a rustic twist, and the space is an appealing spot for friends, families, or couples out on a relaxed date.

Housemade is the central theme at Fielding's: Meats are ground in-house, bacon is smoked in-house, bread is baked in-house, ice cream is churned in-house. We applaud this very labor-intensive approach to creating food, and were looking forward to seeing how well Fielding's executes this non-trivial plan.

Cary Attar greets guests at Fielding's Wood Grill
Clever touches are seen all over the space, including something we've never seen before. An iPad bar. Fielding's guests can sit down at one of the iPads and surf the web (we recommend as a good starting point) Facetime with friends, or check their e-mail.
iPad Bar at Fielding's Wood Grill
The kitchen at Fielding's is open to the restaurant. Behind the order counter you'll see a glass-front rotisserie, the cooking line as well as other prep areas. To the sides you'll see the grinding room where all the proteins are prepared, and a charcuterie locker, where the housemade bacon is hung to age.
Open Kitchen at Fielding's Wood Grill
The focus at Fielding's is on burgers - both traditional and extremely creative. Everything from a simple hamburger to exotic meats like buffalo and tuna are available.
We stepped up to the counter, and placed our order with the energetic (and well trained) staff member. When I asked for suggestions there were given without hesitation (and they turned out to be spot on.)
For this first visit, we decided to try something on the traditional side. The Smoke burger is Fielding's take on a traditional bacon cheeseburger, albeit an elevated one. We customized ours by removing the egg (we're not big fans of eggs on burgers).
Smoke Burger at Fielding's Wood Grill
What appeared is a very modern, housemade rendition of the classic bacon cheeseburger. Fielding's sources 44 Farms natural Texas black angus, and grinds it in-house. It's topped with house-smoked, wood-grilled bacon, aged Italian provolone, oven-dried tomatoes, grilled onions, shredded iceberg lettuce, and a housemade truffle bacon mustard, all constructed atop a freshly baked milk bun.
The result was delicious. The high-quality 44 Farms angus was soft and lush, with a smooth, almost creamy beefy swagger, oozing with juices. The mild provolone didn't outshine the beef, and the excellent housemade bacon added its smoky counterpoint. The largeish grilled onions added a hint of acidity, and the rich tomato flavor layered upon that. The mustard wasn't overpowering at all, and used its tanginess to tie all of the different tastes together. The smallish milk bun was a good choice; the meat-to-bread ratio was spot on.
We sampled two different types of fries. The house fries were outstanding. Hand cut in house, fried to perfection with a crisp outer layer and a slightly dense, slightly chewy interior, seasoned delicately with a hint of smoky paprika. We dipped them into the truffled bacon mustard, and the result was superb.
Hand Cut Fries at Fielding's Wood Grill
We also tried the truffled fries. Perhaps due to the different technique of preparation these fries were somewhat lighter and airier than the house fries, befitting the aroma of truffle and freshly shaved parmesan. Another excellent fry. Making great hand-cut french fries is not an easy task, but Cary's team has nailed it.
Burgers are clearly the specialty at Fielding's, but one of the other featured items are their milkshakes. They start with housemade ice cream, and the attention to detail is impressive: Fielding's specified large diameter straws that make imbibing these thick shakes less likely to be hernia-inducing.
We sampled the chocolate malt, Madagascar vanilla, and a unique strawberry offering with basil and bits of pretzel. Our favorite was the chocolate malt - a deft hand was used in the proportions, so the malt flavor complemented the housemade chocolate ice cream rather than overpowering it. We enjoyed the vanilla and strawberry shakes as well, and were impressed by the care taken to move these traditional flavors away from the ordinary, without losing what is elemental about each one.
Chocolate Malt at Fielding's Wood Grill
Madagascar Vanilla Shake at Fielding's Wood Grill
Strawberry Shake at Fielding's Wood Grill
All in all we were very impressed by our experience at Fielding's Wood Grill on opening day. Many restaurants aren't ready for prime time when they open their doors, but Cary Attar and his team of professionals has things running very smoothly. We look forward to returning for a follow up visit soon.
Fielding's Wood Grill | 1699 Research Forest, The Woodlands, TX 77380 |

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