Timber Wood Fire Bistro
8702 Pacific St.
Fare: Wood-fired pizza & entrees
Cost: $110 for two drinks, one appetizer, two meals and two desserts
Greetings, Eaters and Readers!
Sometimes I know exactly where I want to eat long before it’s my turn to pick. But this month, I decided to pull up my ever-growing list of restaurants to try and scroll all the way to the beginning. I first noticed Timber Wood Fire Bistro when I was at the Casual Pint a number of years ago, and I recall making a note to look up their menu. It had seemed promising – and it’s been on my list ever since.
Located in Countryside Village, Timber takes up a sizable amount of real estate on the corner of the front strip. When you walk in, you’re greeted with a waft of campfire smell from the wood-burning stove. Coupled with the wood decor, the place gives you an upscale but cozy cabin vibe.
Our 5 p.m. reservation seemed unnecessary at first. But in just a half hour’s time, most of the tables were full.
Pretty quickly after sitting down, the seasonal Sangria caught all four of our eyes. The menu notes they serve a red house recipe from October through April and a white house recipe May through September. The red sangria that hit the table was a cool, crisp delight and we both rather enjoyed it throughout the rest of our meal.
Dip Duo ($9) – artichoke and garbanzo puree, house guacamole, pico de gallo, corn chips
We both agreed the dip duo would be a good, not-too-heavy starter. And while we enjoyed it enough, what had arrived confused us a little. Our fault for reading too fast, but we must have both stopped comprehending the menu when we saw ‘artichoke’ and had anticipated the warm, cheesy artichoke concoction that many restaurants feature. This was not that. Both dips were near room temperature and we think we would have liked them more with a bread instead of a chip. In hindsight, I wish I would have tried their crab cakes and Martha imagines she’ll try their wing appetizer on a future visit.
Timber Hacked Salad | French Onion Soup ($16) – amish chicken, bacon, tomato, candied walnuts, dried cranberries, gorgonzola, green onion, champagne vinaigrette | roasted chicken stock, white wine, gruyere cheese blend
When I scoped their menu earlier in the day, I locked eyes on a butternut squash bisque and my mind was set. So when the server mentioned their soup of the day was a sausage something or other (I can’t remember because all I knew was what I didn’t hear), I was disappointed. So I got their standard French onion and the Timber Hacked salad instead.
The salad was pretty good – a nice combination of toppings that had me experiencing crunchy, sweet, savory and tangy all in one bite. I even liked the pieces of chicken, which says a lot – if you know me.
Although it wasn’t the bisque I’d hoped for, the French onion soup was a solid choice. It was packed with all the onion flavor you’d expect – I only wish it came with bread to dip in.
Bistro Chopped Salad | House Focaccia | The 402 Chicago Deep Dish Pizza ($40) – meatball, pepperoni, sopresatta, smoked mozzarella, housemade ricotta, gardinera, crushed tomato, calibran pesto
During her own research prior to our visit, Martha noticed Timber offers Chicago deep dish on Sundays and Mondays only. But the menu we were handed on our Monday visit didn’t mention it anywhere. A fan of the Windy city’s approach to pizza, Martha was delighted to learn that yes, the deep dish was available. Knowing it would take a long time to bake, Martha put her order in right away.
While it did take about forty minutes, it didn’t feel like an impossible wait. Included in the cost, and helpful for passing the bake time, Martha was presented with a generously portioned salad and a warm loaf of focaccia. Not usually impressed by well-plated foliage – Martha loved every forkful of Timber’s Bistro Chopped Salad. And the focaccia was perfect, too. She would have happily kept noshing on them both if she didn’t know a big, deep-dish pizza was on its way.
When the pizza arrived, Martha cut right in. The only thing she took issue with was how watery the toppings and pizza were – but she knows that’s from the liquid accompanying the crushed tomatoes. Once she got past that, she loved every bite, from the fire-licked crust to the zesty flavors. It’s not Omaha’s best Chicago deep dish, but it hit the spot this particular evening.
Cherry Streusel ($9) – streusel crumble, vanilla bean ice cream, housemade caramel
Having already been at Timber for about an hour and a half, we really debated whether we’d stay for dessert or jaunt over to Coneflower Creamery. But seeing some decent options on their menu, we decided to stay seated.
And honestly, we stayed seated for a while before being able to put in our final order. It seemed we’d lost the attention of our server. After finally flagging her down, I asked for the Cherry Streusel and Martha the cheesecake.
Luckily, our dessert didn’t take long to hit the table. And after one bite, I was glad we decided to stay.
At first, I wasn’t sure where they were going to put the housemade caramel, but it was safely placed on the ice cream – and not atop the cherry filling like I feared. This streusel was excellent. The toasty warm bites mixed with the cold and creamy ice cream had me looking like that Winnie the Pooh Bear GIF where he’s dancing happily in his seat.
Martha blinked and I’d all but devoured a few last bites of this tasty dessert. It was definitely the best part of my meal.
Crème Brûlée Cheesecake ($9) – mixed berry compote
Not one to pass up cheesecake, Martha knew she might not love the mixed berry compote, but was willing to risk it to taste a cheesecake with a crème brûlée flair. The slice could have been more chilled and was essentially room temperature. If there was a crème brûlée spin on this cheesecake, Martha says she couldn’t tell. She enjoyed her spoonful of my streusel more than her own forkfuls of cheesecake.
On the whole, Timber Wood Fire Bistro offers a large, yet well-executed menu that is sure to offer something for everyone. The ambiance of the restaurant, partnered with that lingering wood fire smell, offers a classy casual feel that seems to be the perfect place for friends and family to gather. We saw a mom and son eating, then a family of four with young kids, a couple of old friends reuniting after a long trip, and at the end of our visit – a party of over 12 cozying up to the wine bar. Timber seems to be worthy of the attention and love it gets – and we agree, it’s also worthy of two forks up.
The Good Bite Gals