LAReview

Solidifying your contingency plan for when things go awry is important. Maybe you got a flat tire or let go from work or just saw your ex’s engagement photos on Facebook. This is when you take matters into your own hands and go on a long hike, scream-meditate in the shower, or speed-dial your friend with explicit instructions to bring over Chardonnay and Doritos. It’s time for emotional repair.

When sh*t hits the fan on our end, you’ll most likely find us at Wood Spoon, a Downtown Brazilian spot that’s been open for over a decade. From the second you walk in and smell the pot pies baking, to the moment when you leave hugging a relative stranger, life seems just fine.

Even if Wood Spoon didn’t serve incredible food, we’d probably still go simply because we like hanging out here. The vaulted ceilings, mismatched chairs, and old framed photos on the walls make the space feel like the Parisian flat you dream about during work meetings. The laid-back crowd, usually consisting of a few friends catching up in the corner and married couples on their weekly date, immediately seem like family even though you’ve never met before. The chef comes out from the kitchen to greet every guest with a kiss on the cheek, as if they’re her adult children returning home after a lengthy voyage at sea.

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Wood Spoon’s menu is mostly traditional street food and simple entrees that make you feel like you’re eating in someone’s home, not someone’s restaurant. We’ve gone to Wood Spoon with friends to share big plates of pastel Portuguese (deep-fried shrimp dumplings), and split moqueca, a spicy seafood stew in coconut sauce, during dates. We’ve even showed up alone simply to eat the best chicken pot pie in the entire world. These are the kind of flavor-packed, reach-down-and-touch-your-soul plates of food you forget sometimes exist in restaurants.

And by the time your meal concludes, your soul fully healed, you’ll realize this is the only place you want to be - no matter what kind of day you’re having.

Food Rundown

Mixed Plate

If you came hungry, or with a few other people, this is a dish that needs to hit the table. It includes five different dumplings - coxinha (chicken), pastel Portuguese, kibe (mint and ground beef), potato croquette, and bolinho de bacalhau (cod) - and if you’re able to pick a favorite, you’re lying to yourself.

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Brazilian Chicken Pot Pie

With a perfectly flaky outside crust and an inside filled with hearts of palm, olives, and roasted corn, this is easily our favorite pot pie in the city. We’d tell you to share it with a date, but we’ve tried that strategy before, and it always ends in a fight. Just get two.

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Fish Sandwich

Served only during lunch, this sandwich comes to the table open-faced and frankly, looks a bit daunting. But once you fold it up like a regular sandwich, it all makes sense. Fresh tilapia, avocados, tomatoes, and cilantro on a housemade French roll. It’s ridiculously simple, but will also keep you full well into dinner.

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Almondegas

These ground beef meatballs are solid and the creamy polenta they come with deserves to be its own menu item, but you can probably skip this dish. There are better things to eat at Wood Spoon.

Moqueca

Outside of the pot pie, this is the other must-order dish at Wood Spoon. It’s basically a giant seafood stew (black cod, mussels, clams) with a rich, slightly spicy coconut sauce we’d order as a cocktail if we could.

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Lamb Chops

Compared to other dishes on Wood Spoon’s menu, the lamb chops don’t stand out on the menu, but they deserve to be ordered. The meat itself is fragrant and falls off the bone, and the daily accoutrements like marinated onions that come with it on the side are fantastic.

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