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Woodberry Kitchen review: A perfectionist’s ode to the Chesapeake

The following review appears in The Washington Post’s 2016 Fall Dining Guide.

Woodberry Kitchen

(3 stars)

Spike Gjerde is to Baltimore what Alice Waters is to California: a purist who pledges allegiance to a region and can’t seem to serve an inferior dish. Smoked fluke dip served with spelt crackers, a chopped salad rethought with scrapple croutons, egg noodles draped with slow-cooked lamb and pretty-as-a-peach peach pie all taste like blue-ribbon winners. Is it my imagination, or does the entire wait staff shop at the same cool thrift shop? A fetching barn of a restaurant, Woodberry Kitchen sweats the small stuff. A query about local wines has me falling for a syrah from Maryland. And a visit to the restroom finds the walls papered in old Gourmet features celebrating the Mid-Atlantic.

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3 stars

Woodberry Kitchen: 2010 Clipper Park Rd., Baltimore. 410-464-8000. .

Prices: Entrees $18-$48.

Sound check: 82 decibels / Extremely loud.


The following review appeared in The Washington Post’s 2015 Fall Dining Guide.

Woodberry Kitchen

(3 stars)

The man at the bar is flummoxed. "No twist for my cocktail?" he asks. "Citrus isn't local," a server replies. "We're keeping money in Maryland." You have to hand it to Spike Gjerde. The guy maintains standards, not to mention a menu the size of a poster with enough area suppliers to rival a Broadway playbill. The choices revel in the local, and anything from the water is a strong suit. Crab cakes and barbecue-seasoned swordfish "out of the oven" acknowledge the wood fire in the big open kitchen. Expect flatbreads with goat sausage and ricotta, and twists, like scrapple croutons in a chicory salad or a rye crust for a blue crab tart, that put this restaurant in a class of one. Dessert tends to be familiar and fabulous. Say hello to buttermilk pie and butterscotch pudding. Every seat in the one-time factory gives you something to see, although the prime tables ring the balcony, affording a bird's-eye view of Baltimore's best.