Michael Mina, a culinary empire builder from San Francisco, entered the Baltimore market in 2012 after a successful east coast jump with his opening of Bourbon Steak at the Four Seasons, Washington D.C. in 2008.
On a recent trip to Baltimore to provide a scripture reading for my denomination’s eastern conference, sorry no sports involved, this also provided an opportunity to dine at Michael Mina’s Wit and Wisdom.
It was a Friday evening, the sun was setting, and out-of-towners were also waiting to be seated while locals enjoyed their drinks outdoors at the restaurant’s Wit & Water. Let’s keep it relative, shall we?
On my left view is the Baltimore Inner Harbor, to the right is the roaring white porcelain open kitchen. Guests young and old are celebrating birthdays, anniversaries, ‘the weekend,’ and the atmosphere is youthful, mostly to a lively scene orbiting around the egg-shaped bar.
The full menu is expansive, sharp and clean but sitting on top of all that is the Taste of Maryland Menu that is modified frequently. The tasting menu is $79 and a $70 sommelier select wine pairing is an add-on. For $149, you get a locally-sourced, flavor-filled six-course dinner plus immeasurable wine knowledge. I say go for it.
Before the journey started, mixologist Aaron Joseph’s cocktail menu was presented and a boozy tiki cocktail and a flowery old-fashioned were quickly served and leisurely consumed. Also, grab the Foie Gras (amazing) and Lobster Corn Dogs why don’t you?
The standout was a seared swordfish. Super tender, yes tender and light, this pillowly fish was served with lemon preserves, fregola (think Isreali couscous), the freshest of English peas and mint. Chef Zack Mills, a Maryland native knows how to showcase all local purveyors. Ah yes! The carrot soup with agnolotti pasta stuffed with Maryland (of course) Blue Crab! So tasty!
What made this dinner most memorable was the wine pairing hosted by Dawn, one of their sommeliers. Friendly and engaging, she brought out the best of the menu with her natural understanding of wine craftsmanship woven in with a few wistfully humorous anecdotes.
My recommendation is; bring someone to Wit and Wisdom who loves food and wine, go for the tasting menu, have fun with the sommelier, and simply enjoy Baltimore.
Wit & Wisdom: 200 International Drive, Baltimore, MD 21202
(410) 576-5800 and witandwisdombaltimore.com
Paired with Lamb: (complex!) 2010 Clos Centeilles Campagne de Centeilles
Paired with the Swordfish: 2014 Stolpman Vineyards – Combe Trousseau
Paired with Strawberry: 2012 Adelsheim Deglace
Paired with Chocolate: 2011 Kracher Cuvee Beerenauslese
Bonus: (will make you believe in cabernet again!) 2011 Woodward Canyon – Cabernet Sauvignon Artist Series
More food pics on @THEWSHLOBBYIST Instagram.