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The best restaurant in Baltimore gets to that lofty place by not just meeting, but exceeding, expectations from year to year. A lot of kitchens make oyster stew, but Woodberry’s sherry-laced bowlful goes down more memorably than most, thanks to fish pepper powder, pedigreed cream and adorable house-baked crackers. Once relegated to mornings and homes, trendy toast slathered with a blend of ricotta and goat cheese and heaped with roasted peppers makes a fashion statement at dinner. Served with blue ribbon-worthy corn on the cob, barbecued chicken gets its kick and caramel sheen from a dip in mayonnaise and apple cider. My server’s enthusiasm for something as simple as Baltimore County cantaloupe sprinkled with sea salt leads me to a few wedges of summer on a plate. There’s pie for dessert, and you should get a slice of whatever is in season with a scoop of something creamy and dreamy.

Rustic in brick and stacks of oak (for the wood-fired oven), Woodberry Kitchen leaves few details unattended. The cocktails are top-shelf, and the wine list a treasure. Where does the restaurant find such attractive — and better yet, polished — dining room attendants? From the looks of it, Abercrombie & Fitch.