I fell so in love with this place from Day 1—I think it was literally Day 2—that when our honeymoon phase seemed to come to an abrupt end with a mediocre meal a few months later, the loss & betrayal I felt kept me far away for the better part of 2 years. Better to remember the good times, I reasoned, to let bygones be bygones on the assumption that it wasn’t personal, that Beatrice & Woodsley was still as romantic as ever—even Casanova probably had off-nights. I continued to recommend it highly to others—but I just wasn’t ready to risk reopening the wound I’d received by returning myself.

Until last week. A pal from my old Chowhound crew in Boston, in town for a conference, had found herself in the sudden midst of a whirlwind romance of her own—& it somehow seemed fitting that I take the happy couple there, to a place whose concept was inspired by the elopement of its historical namesakes. Maybe Beatrice & Woodsley & I, caught up in the spirit of circumstance, would kiss & make up.

We totally made out & made up. Good thing the Director wasn’t there; it might have gotten ugly. Or it could’ve led to a foursome, Beatrice & Woodsley & The Director & me. That’s how seduced anew I was with exec chef Pete List’s cooking.

Although the first sign that things would be okay was nothing new at all: the reappearance on the menu of one of List’s inaugural dishes, crawfish beignets.

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These warm orbs of Creole crunch & chew are basically seafood doughnut holes, flecked with diced zucchini & oozing with red pepper aioli that blends with the powdered sugar on top for a spicy-sweet finish. What, after all, is sexier than a spicy-sweet finish?

Nothing, if the pimiento cheesecake is to be believed.

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To be sure, it’s so good it almost isn’t to be believed. With an extremely dense, moist cheddar crust & a garnish of pepper-heavy chow chow & frizzled onion, it’s creamy & luscious in one bite, multitextured & ultra-piquant the next, all of the above the next. Brilliant.

But no more brilliant than the grilled scallion blini.

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Exemplifying what List does best, these thick, springy green pancakes bounced all over the place in terms of influence, only to finally suggest a faraway, long-ago place & time: East Asian, yes, à la scallion pancakes topped with firm grilled slices of shiitake; Near Asian, maybe, with dollops of housemade yogurt cheese; but something else too—a darkly hearty whole-graininess evoking vodka-drinking climes, the snowy bundled-up landscapes whence the word blini originates.

On the opposite side of the flavor spectrum, surprisingly, but the same side of the awesomeness spectrum, not surprisingly, was pal H’s risotto champenoise.

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Infused with bubbly & lemon juice, speckled with diced summer squash & enriched with fresh mozzarella curds & pine nuts, it was as lightly & sprightly & sparkling as could be given that, most importantly, the texture was just right: neither ricelike nor oatmeal-like, in the velvety-soft sweet spot.

Confit tuna salad was essentially a layered Niçoise (minus the potatoes & olives), with olive oil–poached albacore, hard-cooked egg & grilled bread which I’d just as soon have used to turn the whole thing into a sandwich. Funny how much more satisfying the exact same ingredients can be in hand-held form.

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I swiped only a small bite of this pan-seared scallop over toasted cornbread & pepper slaw,

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but its lovely components were as well-integrated as all the rest.

Finally, there’s always 1 cocktail here to stir my fancy into a frenzy. Beatrice’s bar team is, I think, highly underrated—perhaps because the bar itself nabs all the buzz, built from antique fireplaces, with shelves supported by chainsaws. My former fave, Tiptoe Through the Tulips—a blend of buffalo-grass vodka, lavender & lime—is no longer on the list (though our server assured us the bartender could still make it), but in its place is the killer Cucupeña,

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the smoke & flame of whose jalapeño is gradually doused by the coolness of muddled cucumber & the sweet-tartness of citrus vodka, triple sec & simple syrup.

The flames of my own, um, jalapeño for Beatrice & Woodsley, meanwhile, have only been fanned.

Beatrice & Woodsley on Urbanspoon