By Staci Wolfson
When my mother asked me what Woodberry Kitchen was like, I found myself at a loss for comparisons. All I could come up with was, “It’s just sooooo good.”
My family and I had plans to have dinner there for my brother’s birthday, and when asked to describe it, I realized that in its three years of being open, it has managed to accomplish something rare – Woodberry Kitchen is truly unique.
It’s not the only farm-to-table restaurant in Baltimore, serving seasonable dishes with a focus on local and sustainable ingredients. But it manages to strike an uncommon balance. The atmosphere is modern and upscale, yet rustic and comforting; the dishes are elegant, yet understated; the farm-to-table idea is on trend, but everything about Woodberry Kitchen reads as genuine.
Tucked away in the historic foundries of Woodberry, rather than on the popular, hipster-addled 36th Street Avenue in Hampden, Woodberry Kitchen is large, but cozy with its warm wood and metal décor, wood-fire oven, canned preserves lining the walls and farmer-esque servers clad in flannel and jeans.
I had been to Woodberry Kitchen on multiple occasions before, but had only ever been there for brunch.
On my first visit, I fell in love instantly. Everything at Woodberry is made in-house, and all the ingredients come from local and organic farms. This means everything down to the bread is prepared at Woodberry, and the result of this is evident in the food.
The menu changes seasonally, but if you visit Woodberry Kitchen for brunch and see it on the menu, don’t miss the eggs benedict. The homemade hollandaise sauce and thick English muffin make it easily the best eggs benedict I’ve ever had.
But this visit was for dinner and I wondered if the dinner could live up to the brunch. Indeed, “supper,” as it’s called on the menu, is just as delightful as brunch. My family and I started with a snack, the Lancaster Co. ladyfinger popcorn, seasoned simply with butter and sea salt. I’m not sure why something as simple as popcorn seemed like such a novel idea, but it’s a great start to a meal – not too filling, but still tasty.The staff at Woodberry is nothing if not knowledgeable, and when my mother asked for a description of the Springfield chicken n’ biscuit, I ended up changing my order from the ribeye steak to the chicken because it sounded so amazing.
Roasted in the wood-fire oven, the chicken dish is simple. But it transcended any chicken dish I’ve ever had with its crispy skin and juicy meat over roasted carrots and green beans that looked as if they had been pulled from the ground yesterday.
I still got a taste of the ribeye, sampling my brother’s. The meat was perfectly seasoned and cooked and well complemented by the homemade steak sauce with its smoky, tangy flavor. My father’s veal over roasted squash and my mother’s crab cake were equally pleasing. I am not sure what dish was best.
For me, dessert reigned supreme. The sour cherry and blueberry crumb pies were delicious when paired with the vanilla bean ice cream, and the red hot ice cream was a pleasant surprise of Saigon cinnamon creaminess.
And the best part about Woodberry Kitchen? Every season brings new and unique surprises.
2010 Clipper Park Road, No. 126 (Woodberry)
Baltimore, Md. 21211
Hours: Open Mon-Thu 5 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri-Sat 5 p.m.-11 p.m.; Sun 10 a.m.- 2 p.m., 5 p.m.- 9 p.m.