2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126, Baltimore, MD 21211 (http://www.woodberrykitchen.com/)
*** (Very Good/Excellent)
Baltimore tends to be the lesser known city in the DMV; the little brother of Washington, DC. And in some respects it’s true: there are less attractions, less restaurants, and contains a smaller population. My wife and I tend to skew towards DC whenever we want to go out – whether it’s dinner, drinks, or meeting up with folks. There are exceptions to the rule though; some fantastic finds in Baltimore…you just have to know where to look.
Woodberry Kitchen and its chef, Spike Gjerde, are well known to the culinary scene at this point. Opening in 2007, the restaurant has been extolling the virtues of locally raised
ingredients for nearly a decade. It continues the tradition today, as our family (celebrating my brother’s MBA graduation) finds out when requesting lemons and being told that the restaurant does not carry them because they are not native to Maryland. What we did find at the restaurant: Fried Oysters, sweet morsels with a crispy exterior, sitting atop a briny and spicy mayonnaise and Tilghman Island Crab Pot, with its sweet lump crab, and smooth and creamy fondue (one of the best crab dips that you’ll find anywhere). Both featured the housemade “Snake Oil,” fish pepper hot sauce which gives a flavorful kick.
Entrees at Woodberry tend to shine as well. A Dry Aged Ribeye, cooked perfectly, served with housemade steak sauce, and a stand out side: cheese and potato gratin. The Pan Roasted Trout was crisped nicely, and seasoned well. Served alongside roasted cauliflower,
broccoli, and a mushroom and bacon gravy, the dish could have used a bit more sauce, and a splash of citrus to cut through the salt. Braised Short Rib was tender, and the sauce savory, but it was paired nicely with a sunchoke puree, ensuring the dish was not one note. The short rib also gave the staff the
opportunity to showcase their top notch service. After receiving the short rib, a couple of cuts revealed about 90% fat with a sprinkling of meat. We brought the issue to the attention of the server, who alerted the manager, both of whom apologized, and assured us that the kitchen acknowledged the issue and was working on a new dish. The whole episode took a few minutes, but there was never any hesitation from the staff to ensure the situation was remedied.
Desserts were homey, something you would expect sitting in what can feel like a farmhouse. Apple Pie with oat streusel was comforting and warm. And the C.M.P. with fresh cream ice cream, marshmallow fluff, hot fudge, and peanuts ate like an old fashioned sundae. In other words, perfectly solid endings to a fantastic meal.
This was not my first trip to Woodberry Kitchen, but it might have been the best. Almost ten years into the venture, Spike Gjerde and his restaurant continue to make Baltimore a destination worth the journey.
Atmosphere: The restaurant is a retrofitted mill which features a main dining room with a bar and coffee bar, a set aside dining room, and an upstairs loft. Seating is a bit on the tight side, which gives off an intimate feel. The mill has a farmhouse vibe with plenty of wood and metal throughout.
Noise: A lively, and typically crowded, restaurant. Given the limited space within the old mill, it can be difficult to hear at times.
Recommended Dishes: Tilghman Island Crab Pot, Fried Oysters, Braised Beef Shortrib, Pan Roasted Trout, Dry Aged Ribeye
Reservations: Highly Recommended; we had reservations set for a Sunday evening at 8:15pm and still waited around 30 minutes for a table to open up after our arrival
$$$$ – $100 to $150 for dinner for two
Note: This review originally ran on December 23, 2015 on our old site and was re-published on WordPress.