Historic Dining in Lodi’s Wine Country
By RICHARD PALOMA
After a 20-plus year career in politics, which included being chief of staff for former area congressman Richard Pombo, Steve Ding took on a new venture in November 2010 opening Woodbridge Crossing on North Lower Sacramento Road, minutes away from a multitude of Lodi wineries.
Formerly the Woodbridge Feed & Fuel, located in an historic brick building in Woodbridge, the restaurant has maintained its old-fashioned Western appearance while delivering great quality steak and seafood and excellent service.
“The historic ambiance is great inside and out, but people are drawn here for our prime rib and calamari,” Ding said. “When I bought the restaurant, I condensed the menu and perfected the recipes.”
To assist with fine tuning the fare into what he described as “an old-school menu,” Ding brought back the Feed & Fuel’s former chef, Raphael Velasquez and his nearly three decades of experience.
The signature prime rib, an Open Table Award winner, is hand seasoned and slow roasted with a choice of a 14-16 ounce cut or a larger 18-ounce cut. Both are served au jus with creamy horseradish.
Woodbridge Crossing also offers a New York steak, a charbroiled Filet Mignon wrapped in bacon, and a Rib Eye steak seasoned with a secret blend of spices, broiled over an open flame, and topped with sautéed mushrooms.
Ding also gives accolades to the establishment’s Veal Oscar that is dipped in panko bread crumbs then pan seared and finished off with crab meat, asparagus, and hollandaise sauce.
Other veal dishes include Veal Marsala, a lightly floured cutlet pan seared in a rich, Marsala wine sauce with mushrooms and herbs and Veal Parmesan, a sautéed veal cutlet topped with marinara sauce, Provolone and Parmesan cheeses, then baked until the cheese is melted and golden.
“Our baby back ribs are so tender that the meat falls off the bone,” Ding said. “They’re full of flavor and finished with just the right amount of our house made barbeque sauce.”
A variety of seafood is also on the menu including their Hawaiian Mahi-Mahi that is lightly seasoned, broiled and topped with toasted macadamia nuts and mango salsa as well as the Calamari Steak Almondine dipped in a light egg wash, pan fried and finished with lemon, butter reduction and thin, toasted almonds.
Bing said the Stuffed Prawns is a classic Crossing favorite consisting of jumbo prawns stuffed with crab meat and cream cheese and deep fried until golden.
One of Ding’s motivations for getting involved with Woodbridge Crossing was that he’s always been in love with the building and its history.
The 1865 building was one of the original Pony Express stops which includes a former jail cell in the basement and residential quarters in the second floor. Over the years, the building has seen its time as a local tavern and restaurant serving historic Woodbridge.
The handcrafted wood bar was built in 1880 in London and shipped to Boston. In 1920 the entire bar was shipped via rail to Woodbridge where it has served loyal patrons since.
Ding added that various paranormal explorers have frequented the building in search of ghosts and obtaining interesting stories.
The Crossing, as the locals call it, has developed a reputation for having quality food that tastes great. With Open Mic on Wednesdays and the top local bands on Friday and Saturday nights, and the only outside patio in Woodbridge, The Crossing is a place for locals, 209 Foodies and tourists alike.
18939 N. Lower Sacramento Road
Woodbridge, CA 95258
Sunday:10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Monday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Wednesday-Thursday: 11:30 am – 9:00 pm
Friday-Saturday: 11:30 am – 1:00 am