Dinner at Wit & Wisdom at Four Seasons Baltimore
Four Seasons Baltimore opened its doors in 2011. This property is located on the edge of Baltimore’s historical and picturesque Harbor East waterfront. Apart from the top-notch location, the stylish lobby, gorgeous rooftop pool area and, of course, the Four Seasons’ signature impeccable service. The hotel has elegant accommodations, appointed with marble bathrooms, plush down comforters, cozy terrycloth robes, flat-screen TVs, and a beautiful spa with plunge pools.
We had dinner at one of their restaurants, Wit & Wisdom, a casual fine dining restaurant by Michael Mina is one of the hottest restaurants in Baltimore. Chef Zack Mills helmed the kitchen for about three years as the restaurant’s executive chef. He and his crew cooks up New American fare that has accents of American Southern cuisine. The pastry chef, Dyan Ng, is turning out some mind-boggling, wonderfully modern desserts that I have not anticipate having in this city. Sommelier Julie Dalton is a knowledgeable sommelier that knew how to pair our dinner perfectly; thinking of balance of acidity, fruit and sweetness for each course we had. I will explain all of this in detail shortly.
We started off with a wonderful brut rosé from Champagne Paul Bara. Fruity, not sweet, nice acidity and the effervescence feels apt for the 4th of July weekend. The non-alcoholic drinks of yuzu and blood orange sodas were great bubbly drinks that were fruit forward than sugary. My other dining companion’s seasonal beer was light and refreshing without the heavy bitterness of hops.
Our first courses were a chickpea sesame battered soft shell crab and Monte Cristo Royale. Both were executed beautifully. The crab was perfectly crisp on the outside while the flesh was still moist and sweet. The Monte Cristo was essentially a fancy toast that had a slightly warmed jamon iberico (which I think some kitchens/chefs sometimes should do to enhance the flavors of this delectable pork product) topped with Black River caviar and dotted with uni aioli to make it luxe.
The generous portion of black pepper glazed pork belly, Ansom Mill grits, poached egg, white cheddar was absolutely delicious. Bested almost all of the grits I had in Atlanta. The luscious, thick grits was intensely savory and sweet from the pork belly and there was a zingy touch of acidity that I can’t exactly figure out where it’s coming from but it balanced out the dish. When the poached egg was stirred all in, my goodness this was heavenly but squashed my appetite since it’s incredibly rich. The rosé was a very smart pairing for this dish since its fruity acidity and bubbles balanced out all things dense and creamy.
The citrus-steamed halibut was a good fish dish that is a good counterpoint to the rich grits we had. The fish was perfectly cooked through and I have enjoyed initially the green curry foam and shavings of sweet heirloom carrots. Except when I slowed my pace eating this dish and let this sit, I’ve realized the tapioca was undercooked and absorbed what wasn’t much of the flavorful curry sauce was. Personally, I prefer to have this dish with a lot less tapioca (it didn’t really do much for me in terms of flavor or texture) and more of that wonderfully spiced curry.
I have to say the Trisaetum, 2014 Ribbon Ridge Dry Riesling wine pairing for this dish was fantastic (Riesling is a classic pairing with curry). I wouldn’t have mind just having this bottle of wine all evening. It had this beautiful honeyed aroma with apple and pear notes and it’s not too heavy to drink on a warm day and great solo too.
Our final pairings for dessert Adelsheim, 2012 Pinot Noir ‘Deglace’ and Lustau Almacenista Oloroso “Pata de Gallina” sherry. The Adelsheim was a very tasty ice wine that tasted like strawberries but not too cloying. The sherry was very smooth and rich with notes of molasses, dried figs and an end note of lemon zest.
We had pre-desserts of a small rectangle of dehydrated meringue, avocado, key lime mousse and a skewer of lightly dried beets with miso glaze and candied orange. Both were very good though I have my preference of the robust flavors of the skewered root vegetable and orange zest. This plate as a whole gives you some insight of what pastry chef Dyan Ng does – something light but has intense flavors and some of those flavors could be a bit outside of the norm.
For the traditional flavors of strawberries and cream (seen above), this is her interpretation. A sweet cream ice cream blanketed with a strawberry gelée with thin triangular pieces of white chocolate with an intensely fruity strawberry consommé. It’s pure flavors of the two ingredients but reimagined.
The black forest dessert was a delicious version and we appreciated there wasn’t much chocolate cake (it’s the small, thin flakes of chocolate cake) on top of a mound of sweetened mascarpone cheese and a very delicious quenelle of cherry ice cream with an addition of chocolate fudge sauce.
If there was really a dessert that has captivated me so far seven months into this year, is this deceptively minimalist looking dessert. It’s mascarpone ice cream with a pool of miso caramel topped with slivered green almonds. It’s mind bendingly delicious. It’s an oddball combination of flavors of sweet, salty, and tangy. The green slivered almonds still had its raw, crisp, tart quality that completed this dessert.
To end our excellent meal, we had cups of Earl Grey tea or cappuccino.
Service is top notch, as expected from a restaurant (and hotel) of this caliber. The food is delicious that it’s familiar to everyone but has creative enough to excite the jaded eaters (like myself). The wine pairings were smartly done and I would definitely consider going back next time I’m in Baltimore.
To view more photos of this visit, please CLICK HERE for the set of view the gallery below:[alpine-phototile-for-flickr src=”set” uid=”26389565@N00″ sid=”72157669972991702″ imgl=”flickr” shuffle=”1″ style=”gallery” row=”4″ grwidth=”1200″ grheight=”800″ size=”640″ num=”30″ shadow=”1″ border=”1″ align=”center” max=”100″]