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Sometimes restaurants have a lot going for them—just not all going at the same speed. Last Word, in the Old Fourth Ward, is one of them. It’s trying to do a lot: bring craft cocktails to a level of housemade everything, build a menu reminiscent of the co-owner’s native Lebanon and also the Maghreb countries of Morocco and Tunisia, and include late-night plates to complement the ambitious drinks.
Woodfire Grill on Cheshire Bridge Road has undergone many changes in the last year, but its most essential trademark endures. The sweet, smoky aromas drifting from the open kitchen at the dining room's entrance still tranquilize as if a lullaby had dissolved into fragrance. Borrowed from the playbook of California cuisine, the layout places the focal point of cooking directly in the path of newly arrived guests, who inhale scents evocative of campfire and barbecue en route to their table. Those first wafts anchor the meal. They communicate the tone and ambitions of the restaurant more effectively than words on a menu ever could. And now they act as an aromatic through-line that connects the restaurant’s past with its recent and remarkable reinvention.