Saturday, April 30, 2016

Wit & Wisdom

Wit & Wisdom, located in the Four Seasons in Baltimore's Harbor East district, is a tavern by Chef Michael Mina that offers comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist.  My dear friend Lucinda was in Baltimore for a work conference, so Keith and I headed up for a quick visit and took her to dinner here.

It was surprisingly packed when we arrived, but that could just be from a regular weekend and also it's location within the hotel.  Nevertheless, we were seated right away at a nice booth that had a close enough view of the windows that overlooked the harbor.  We ordered a bottled of 2012 Joleté, Cabernet Sauvignon, from Olson Vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, CA. I was hesitant to order this red wine at first, since I knew we'd be eating tons of seafood, however all the cherry-vanilla and toasty oak notes also had a peppery finish that complimented our meal.  The wine was structured and brimming in juicy red fruit that lasted us from course to course.

We decided to start with a dozen fresh Oysters served with house-made cocktail sauce and red wine mignonette.  We picked a sampling of War Shore and Battle Creek - both from War Shore Oyster Company; and my favorites, Old Salt and Stingray - both from Rappahannock River.  With the oysters, we also tried the Scallop Crudo prepared with chartreuse, compressed apple, and fennel.  The scallop was incredibly meaty yet tender and delicate.  We were off to a great start.

For warm appetizers, we also shared the Crab Bisque with a drizzle of tarragon oil and served with black garlic buttered toast.  The crab chunks were prominent and the soup was flavorful.

The La Belle Farm Foie Gras 'Doughnut' was pretty unique with pear, almonds, and beets.  It had a nice mix of sour, savory, and richness that paired expertly with our red wine.

For my main course, I chose the Roasted Monkfish that sat on a bed of potato and saffron-mussel broth, topped with frizzled leeks.  The fish was the center spine cut, so there was a large bone in the middle with chunks of meat on either side.  The fish itself was tender and the broth had a very subtle flavor.

Lucinda ordered the Crabcake that was full of lump crab and little filling.  She was very pleased and enjoyed it with the simple squirt of grilled lemon.  Keith ordered the Virginia Swordfish that was grilled and presented the same way with grilled lemon.  His piece was rather thick and just a tad dry.

We shared a special side of large fresh Asparagus with lemon cream and the Baked Mac & Cheese - shell pasta with crispy chicken skin on top.  It was divine.

We were pretty full, but could not pass up on dessert. We ended up sharing the Baltimore Bar - a chocolate peanut butter mousse with a thin brownie layer, caramel, peanuts, and maldon salt.  It was a great combination of salty and sweet, and was plenty for the three of us to share and end our meal.

All in all we had a lovely dinner at Wit & Wisdom. The price is a bit high, but comparable to other Michael Mina restaurants.  Service was a little staggered and slow paced at times, since it was quite busy in the dining room.  But we did not mind, as it allowed us time to converse without feeling rushed.  As we left, I inquired about parking validation, since we parked in the garage across the street, and were advised they only validate for valet.  Go figure!  I would recommend Wit & Wisdom for a special occasion meal when in Baltimore, and am glad we were able to see Lucinda and enjoy an evening out with our old friend.

Total Rating: 4.03
Food: 4.5, Price: 3.5, Service: 3, Ambience: 3.5, Accessibility: 4

Wit & Wisdom Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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