It may be a little strange to start a review by praising a restaurant’s tap water, but Wood Spoon’s really is the best in town: triple-filtered, no doubt, served sharply cool, and flavored with whole cinnamon sticks, which give the water a delicate fragrance and tint it the color of dilute oolong tea. You almost forget that the restaurant doesn’t sell beer. Wood Spoon is a stylish, feminine Brazilian café in the Fashion District, a first stop for the FIDM crowd before they hit the bars, and a hangout for both downtown locals and the artier fringes of the expat Brazilian community, who nibble on heart-of-palm omelets and the soft chicken-bearing pastries called coxhina; salt-cod croquettes; and the crunchy Brazilian version of the meat-filled Lebanese dumplings called kibbeh. If you’ve been to Rio, you’ll recognize Wood Spoon’s heart as a chicly modest urban café built around smallish portions of grilled chicken, beef, fish or sausage and served with the inevitable black beans, rice, boiled greens and gritty manioc powder — a meal low-fat and balanced enough to eat before a night of dancing. Wood Spoon’s specialties, oddly enough, are chicken potpie and pork burgers, both of which are very good, and there are homemade truffles for dessert. 107 W 9th St., dwntwn. (213) 629-1765.

LA Weekly