Okay, it has been over 10 years since I have worked in an office environment, but even then, popping out for lunch and a beverage was a solid $10 and that is what one would call “fast food.” How things have changed. Take a venue like the Four Seasons Hotel’s Wit and Wisdom Tavern, luxuriously decorated, stunning view of the harbor and seriously “top-notched” edibles by Executive Chef Zack Mills and Executive Pastry Chef Dyan Ng – one can create their own salad for only a couple dollars more than the fast food.
The new Autumn menu is two parts, the casual menu comes with a pencil so you can tick off your choices on the Make Your Own Salad (choose up to 10 items for $13), Signature Salads, Soups & Sandwiches or the Mix & Match (Soup and ½ Sandwich). For a heartier salad choose a protein from hard boiled eggs to seared rockfish.
Personally, I couldn’t resist the new Oyster Po Boy, crispy fried oysters with the Old Bay rémoulade and dill pickle, that and a bowl of their chicken noodle soup to take that edge off the autumn chill. The new cocktail on the lunch menu is the Fig Pimpin 2.0 – Nikka Coffey grain whiskey, yellow chartreuse, maple, Carpano Formula Antica, lemon, house fig jam – shaken (not stirred) in a Collins glass with a fig seemed to be the choice of my lunch companions and a sip of theirs proved their good taste. Since one cocktail can put me out, my beverage of choice was the yuzu mocktail. My two hostesses created their own salads and had the very rich crab bisque. By the way, their bread is to-die-for especially with the honey butter.
The more serious lunch menu, what they might call the seal-the-deal power lunch menu proffers the Maine Lobster Corndog appetizer, steak frites, Chesapeake fried chicken and the “Bourbon Steak” burger with Cabot Clothbound cheddar, pickles and their secret sauce. Lunch is served daily – Monday through Saturday from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm
Joining our table for lunch was Executive Pastry Chef Dyan Ng who I interviewed for an upcoming column. She shared two of her latest creations, very inspired and thoroughly thought out (these desserts are available with dinner).
The Purple Sweet Potato Croquette Parfait with Caviar – the layered dessert starts with a crème fraîche panna cotta, then a purple sweet potato puree, Mezcal foam, butterfly leaf, lacquered purple sweet potato croquette topped with the purple sweet potato chip and for the kiss of salinity, a dollop of caviar.
Rice Pudding – this is where the baby gets thrown out with the bathwater – what I am referring to is Chef Ng takes the milk skin from boiling the starchy rice and stacks that that skin for the core of the dessert, and throws out the rice. Hints of vanilla, grilled hazelnuts and almonds with shaved fresh pistachios finish the sweet treat which is accompanied by a glass of young coconut water juice that is infused with cocoa nibs.
If you are downtown after a show, just want to extend the dining experience – Ng’s desserts are worth the special trip and definitely come with more than one spoon.
Located in Baltimore’s Harbor East Wit and Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina offers comfort food with a contemporary Eastern Seaboard twist. Relax over handcrafted cocktails and a wine list featuring the best American winemakers in the spacious and inviting lounge. Savor breakfast, lunch and dinner prepared to fine dining heights.
Wit and Wisdom Tavern – Four Seasons Hotel – 200 International Drive – Baltimore, MD 21202 410.576.5800 www.witandwisdombaltimore.com Twitter & Instagram @WitWisdomTavern