My non professional opinion of my experience at Wit and Wisdom was fair. I lean towards disappointment, only because I had heard so many good things. Perhaps we caught them on an off night. Perhaps people are raving about the happy hour (which did look good). Perhaps people who rave about it haven’t experienced some of the really good places around Baltimore.
This isn’t to say it’s bad – it’s not. It’s good.
The space is really cool, modern, properly lit, and it seems every seat in the restaurant and bar has a great view of the inner harbor. The hotel itself (lobby, valet) is also very nice, and hotel service is outstanding.
Outstanding. Our waiter and the sommelier were attentive, intelligent, and engaging, without being pretentious or overbearing. Our waiter knew when he was over his head on a wine recommendation (which is a really good trait in a waiter – far too many think they know all things.) He gave the wine recommendation a shot, missed, then went and not only found the expert, but prepared her, so she came to the table already carrying other wine options for us. The sommelier was very knowledgeable (while I’m not a wine expert, you can’t fool me that you are if you aren’t), communicated well, and clearly enjoyed getting it right, giving us options, giving just the right amount of education, and enhancing our experience. Very well done. These folks have the front of the house right, and lots of restaurants should be spending time here watching how it should be done.
Here’s the rub: I really wanted to love it. But I didn’t. We had lobster corn dogs and caesar salads (that they split without some stupid up charge), J had monkfish poached in duck fat, I had a rib eye. Everything was fine. But that’s it – fine. We were expecting to be blown away by something, and we just weren’t. Nothing was bad, and certainly everything was prepared as we expected. It’s just that you can get better, more creative food without paying rent to the Four Seasons. Much better. If you want a steak, Ruth’s Chris, Morton’s, Sullivan’s, even Flemming’s are all going to do it as well or better, and they aren’t going to charge you that much more, if at all. (And they aren’t slouches when it comes to service, either). For creative dishes, Alchemy, The Food Market, Jack’s Bistro, Fork and Wrench are all doing interesting things with excellent results for much lower prices. And to make sure I don’t leave out some comparably priced places that are in the same area, given a choice I’ll give Chingale, Pazo, even Roy’s higher food marks.
Baltimore is a competitive food town, I’m not mentioning a lot of places that Wit and Wisdom needs to equal or best to get us to return over and over again. We’ll probably give it another go and give the chef’s tasting menu a shot, or perhaps for happy hour tapas. But for now, I wouldn’t recommend them when there are so many other choices.