A few weeks ago Josh and I visited Woodberry Kitchen and had some of the best food we've ever had in Baltimore. Until now, my best meals have at Range in San Francisco and Union Square Cafe in New York City. Granted, there's still a lot of restaurants I've not visited in Baltimore. However, since Woodberry was just ranked #3 in Baltimore Magazine's annual restaurant roundup, I'm guessing that my experience visiting the restaurant is consistent with other people's visits too.
Woodberry Kitchen has been opened for four years now and I've been hearing about it from various friends and Josh's co-workers. So we were very excited to visit. We ended up not being able to get a reservation. I called on Wednesday and we were planning to go there on Saturday and they were already booked! But we got there right after they opened and managed to be seated right away.
Woodberry's philosophy of food is one I love. They create dishes based on seasonal foods grown locally. On the menu there was a list of their vendors: various farms I recognized by name from the surrounding area. It was also evident by the night's specials: lots of asparagus! Asparagus is in season and you could have your pick of five or six dishes of your choice. I loved seeing the canning jars full of food stashed around the restaurant too. I don't know if the staff cans for the restaurant or if they outsource it but they didn't hide the fact but instead used it as decoration, almost, tucked around the restaurant.
When I think "fine dining" stiff white table cloths and rigid servers come to mind. That's not the way of Woodberry. Woodberry is located in the Clipper Mill area and reclaims a lot of the original architecture of the old factory it inhabits to create a perfectly rustic atmosphere. I told Josh it felt Mumford & Sons-ish. If that doesn't make sense to you, I'm sorry. It feels very trendy in an artsy way while at once feeling very homey. The female servers wear vintage looking aprons of varying patterns. The male servers all wore checkered button down shirts. The canned produced lined shelves. The bathrooms didn't have paper towels but instead had piles of cloths in a basket from which you could pull from the wash your hands then throw in a laundry basket. Yeah, I really liked this place.
Our server was awesome. She went above and beyond in answering every question we asked and helped us select the best drinks to go with our food. We started with a basket of three different types of breads they'd made at the restaurant. Then we moved onto homemade pigs-in-a-blanket with grainy mustard as a dipping sauce. Josh ordered a salad, which he raved about which included, of course, asparagus. For our main meal we both ordered the same thing. Josh and I have similar tastes and in the past I've ordered something different from him so we could try two different dishes. But the truth was I wanted what he was getting, so why go for anything less? We ordered Rock fish that was placed on a bed of perfectly roasted potatoes, green beans, and a roasted tomato mayonnaise. Absolutely perfect. For cocktails we tried the Whiskey Smash and some sort of lemon honey concoction that went fabulously with the fish. For dessert we had coffee and Josh went with their apple pie while I tried the C.M.P. (Malt ice cream, chocolate sauce, wet peanuts, and a hardened crust of marshmallow fluff you had to crack to get to it all).
If you want excellent food (and you care about where it comes from) in an unique atmosphere with fabulous service, Woodberry Kitchen is the place for you.