Located in Baltimore’s Harbor East inside the Four Seasons Baltimore Hotel, Wit & Wisdom (such a great name), is a tavern restaurant by Michael Mina, which offers comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist. I loved the fact that we were there in late summer, so were able to dine outside and take in the views of the harbor around us as well as people watch.
The ambiance is modern and chic and the food is exquisite. Maryland-born Zach Mills is their Executive Chef who hailed from Bourbon Steak in Washington DC before coming to Wit & Wisdom. You have a great sense of his caliber and passion for cooking from every dish that comes out of the kitchen.
Photo credit: Wit & Wisdom Restaurant
They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, but what’s nice is that you want a little social ambiance before or after your meal, the inside bar is trendy, chic and boasts an extensive wine and cocktail list as well. It’s a great place to hang out in Baltimore any season of the year. Plus, you’re in the same building as the Four Seasons Baltimore, which sits on the fabulous harbor, all of which boasts glorious views. (be sure to read my write-up).
The Bar and Lounge at Wit & Wisdom emphasizes classic American cocktails as well as handcrafted original recipes, all created using classic methods, hand-squeezed juices and seasonal products. The restaurant has so many delicious options, it was hard to narrow down our choices, from charred octopus with hen egg, garlic and chimichurri and charcuterie which they insisted we try, to Michael Mina’s Ahi Tuna Tartare with chili oil, Asian Pear, pine nuts and habanero peppers and the over-to-top (to die for) Hudson Valley Foie Gras ‘doughnut,’ which he serves with season cherries, almonds and spiced honey. Yum!
Below, the tuna tartare and the foie gras.
We were trying to keep things lighter this trip given how many restaurants we’ve been reviewing over the past year. In trying to keep our carbs on the lighter side, we went for more meat dishes throughout our trip, including Baltimore. I never feel satisfied regardless of how many delicious options there on the menu without a salad – here, they offered more options than you’d expect from a 5 star property, from traditional Caesar and Butter lettuce to Roasted Heirloom Beets with goat cheese, pomegranate and pistachio (what a lovely combination), to Spinach with lotus root and sesame dressing and Green Papaya and Melon. So delish!!
If you’re not into an extensive meal which wasn’t the case for us that evening, you can order a simple burger, but here they infuse with Bourbon (a secret sauce so to speak), topped with cheddar and there’s a foie gras slider as part of the deal. For those who are not as carb averse as we were on this particular trip, there’s a fabulous Maine Lobster Pot Pie, which they serve with brandied lobster dream, truffle and wild mushrooms.
On the lighter side, you can get a seared swordfish with preserved lemon, fregola, English peas and mint, Albacore Tuna, Chesapeake Rockfish, Atlantic Kingfish or War Shore Scallops, or simple be traditional and test out their Wood Oven-Roasted Half Chicken which includes a side of Truffle Bread Pudding. With so many great options on the list however, we had to try their steak, especially since they offered an American Wagyu (both rib eye and flat iron). They prepare their grilled steak dishes with evaporated carrot, red wine and mushrooms and with a great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon, you can’t go wrong.
Their wine list is extensive, so whether you want an old world Bordeaux or a Napa Cab Blend, you won’t be disappointed. They had all my favorite “New World Blends” on the menu, from Caymus, Corison (from St. Helena), Duckhorn, Hourglass, Opus One and Silver Oak but we listened to the very on-top-of-it sommelier and went for the Nickel & Nickel “Tech” from Napa Valley instead, since I had never heard of it and she thought our palettes would be happy given our favorite styles. It was absolutely divine and a perfect pairing with our steak entrees.
What’s also lovely is that you can get a number of accompaniments to your main course meat (or fish entree), such as a cast-iron side of seared foie gras (above), a cast-iron seared crab cake (when in Maryland, you MUST try their crab cakes, particularly in Baltimore), or the grilled shrimp, garlic and chili. You can also get a side of a half Maine Lobster and given how much we loved our time in New England last summer, particularly Cape Cod and Nantucket, we had to indulge. There’s nothing like having a Maine Lobster in the heart of an East Coast summer.
Other sides of course include vegetables and potatoes — you can splurge and go for the black truffle macaroni and cheese (which we did not do) or the herb-roasted wild mushrooms, grilled corn with cilantro, marble potatoes with bacon and cheese, or take a lighter approach and order the asparagus with fennel, orange and pine nuts (very unique and creative preparation btw — would have been happy with it and a salad alone despite how much my mouth is still savoring the fabulous steak and foie gras weeks later), or the broccoli. It was all so delicious however, that it’s hard to go wrong at a Michael Mina restaurant, particularly with a seasoned chef on board who has had a boat load of successes in other Four Seasons kitchens.
The desserts were nothing short of scrumptious as well.
This winter, they’re raising a glass in homage to Corkbuzz Wine Studio in New York for the inspiration to share champagne at half price every night of the week starting Friday, November 7, 2015. Even when the weather isn’t balmy like it is on a perfect August evening, the inside ambiance of the restaurant and bar doesn’t disappoint. Two very satisfied thumbs up from WBTW!
Wit & Wisdom Restaurant
200 International Drive
Baltimore, MD 21202