Monday, December 12, 2011

Wit & Wisdom Tavern, Baltimore

We went to the new Four Seasons Hotel in Harbor East in Baltimore for a light dinner at chef Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom Tavern last week. Upon entering, our first reaction was, "Are we in Baltimore?" With it's large panoramic windows overlooking the water, a large bar area surrounded by fireplaces and couches, and a modern minimal decor, it felt like we were another city.
The kitchen area is open, similar to Woodberry Kitchen, with a wood burning stove in the center. The restaurant was dimly lit while it seemed as if spotlights were lighting up the chefs and food prep area like a show.
I was very excited that pastry chef Chris Ford, formerly of Rogue 24 in DC, was currently directing the dessert menu.
We decided to stick to small plates and appetizers for our meal to save room for dessert.
For out first course, we shared the smoked housemade ricotta topped with roasted eggplant, black walnuts and vinegar. The ricotta was delicate and wonderful. I also had a fall vegetable salad which consisted of beets, squash, parsnips, and Benton's ham.
Our second course consisted of perfectly fried hush puppies made of Anson Mills grits topped with a sauce made of Crystal hot sauce and honey. They were crispy outside, soft inside, and the sauce with it's combination of sweet and spicy just put this dish over the top.
We also shared the roasted brussel sprouts and apples with apple vinegar.
I had a small bowl of the Carolina Gold congee with duck tongue confit, egg, and crackins. It was like a meeting of Chinese and French styles in one bowl. The duck tongues were so good, and the broken yolk mixed with the rice was so creamy and delicious.

We decided to get two desserts to share. First was the "Baltimore Bar" which was a reimagining of a Baby Ruth Bar. It was made with a layer of peanut butter ganache and a layer of chocolate mousse, all covered with chocolate and then topped with pieces of pretzel and candied peanuts. It was a beautiful plate: rich and satisfying with sweet & salty flavors.
Our second dessert was even better. We had the maple custard with orange toffee, bourbon, and almonds. It was reminiscent of a crรจme caramel with more intricate flavors.
I look forward to returning to give their entrees a crack, but I will always save room for dessert here.

200 International Drive
Baltimore, MD