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Woodberry Kitchen, Chef Spike Gjerdje's Farm-To-Table Gem in Clipper Mill, Clipper Park Road

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Chef Spike Gjerde has opened his long awaited farm-to-table restaurant in Clipper Mill. The wife and I went there last night and were shocked at the full dining room, given the restaurant's out-of-the-way location. No matter though, we had made reservations and were seated promptly in the loft overlooking the dining room.

The renovation to the building is stunning. The exposed brick walls and recycled old-growth lumber that were used are dramatically illuminated, looking both elegant and cozy at the same time. A wood burning oven is the center piece of the open kitchen, and most of the food on the menu seems to be cooked in it.

We ordered:
Oysters (raw and roasted)
Chicken liver parfait
Hamburger
Autumn vegetables

Everything was very good: the food, the service, and the space.

We'll be back soon.

Woodberry Kitchen

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Went to Woodberry Kitchen this weekend- great place, great food. Their philosophy is local/organic cuisine of the Chesapeake region. The menu had a lot of seafood- oysters, crabcakes, fish, and was mixed with small plates and larger entrees. The specials menu was just as long as the regular menu. I look forward to trying it again.

The Clipper Mill renovation is really nice, and the restaurant has a great atmosphere.

What we ordered:

local popcorn with sea salt & butter- nice, simple

stinging nettles soup- a wild plant made in a nice green soup- had a flavor like uncooked spinach

vegetables & dumplings- included fresh asparagus & bok choy- light, tasty

braised lamb shoulder with orange rhubarb compote & bread pudding- well prepared- delicious

chocolate pudding for dessert

pics

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I'm new to the site and thought I'd get my feet wet posting. I'm wondering if anyone else has been to Woodberry Kitchen yet. It's been on my list since it opened, but my BF and I haven't made time to go there. I'm very committed to eating local/organic so the theme is right up my alley, and I've heard great things about the food to boot. Curious to hear from other posters.

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So I FINALLY got to Woodberry Kitchen this past weekend. As others have said, the renovated space is really great, as is the locally sourced food concept. We enjoyed everything we had - pickles/olives and deviled eggs to start, followed by the pork buns (basically a bbqed pulled pork on pretzel buns) and the pierogies (served two ways, potato with a dill sauce and sauerkraut with crisped pork). Entrees were the alsatian sauerkraut platter w/pork belly, sausage, spareribs and smoked turkey and the wood-oven MD rockfish with leeks and hen of the woods mushrooms. The pork itself was phenomenal - I tend to only eat locally sourced pork (my favorite is from a guy who raises pigs that forage in the woods) and I thought this pork was as good if not better flavorwise. The spareribs were a highlight, with a slightly sweet rub that was just right. The downside to the sauerkraut dish was that everything was a bit dry/overcooked. My fish was cooked well and was complemented well by the mushrooms and hint of sauce on the plate. Dessert was malt ice cream, which was just plain old YUM. We also had a really great bottle of Alsatian gewurtztraminer, which was from the featured biodynamic winemaker.

The downsides - we waited 30 minutes for our table (for which we had a reservation). At about 15 min in, when we asked the status, we were told it would be at least 10 more minutes and offered menus and asked if we wanted drinks. I had been resisting ordering a cocktail, but at that point couldn't wait any longer without something so we both ordered one. We didn't actually get them until 5 or 10 minutes after we were seated, which was another 10 minutes after we ordered them. I suppose I wouldn't have cared all that much if the drinks were complimentary, but they weren't. The other issue, overall I really liked our waitress, really friendly, great vibe, fairly attentive, but when she brought us dessert menus she failed to tell us that they were out of both the ice cream and dessert wine (one of only 2 offered) that we wanted. She did make amends by offering our alternative ice cream on the house, except that when the bill came it was on there. I wasn't going to say anything so we paid the full bill.

All in all, it was an enjoyable meal. I will definitely go back, in fact I look forward to doing so with a group so we can share one or two of the delicious-sounding flatbreads they offer. I just hope our long wait was abnormal and we won't have to experience that again or I'll be less enthusiastic in the future.

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we went there the week after christmas and all i remember is that i started off with some of the best carrots i have ever been served at a restaurant. also, the steak was the one item on the disappointing side, and there were interesting wines from maryland. the walk from penn station takes roughly an hour. it is a mind-bending excursion through some of baltimore's intriguing neighborhoods (and also past the ace of cakes place, which is dressed up like a mean castle where you would expect to run into leather men). there's an easier way back; the light rail stops an easy block or so from the restaurant and leaves you off a few blocks from the station. we definitely will go back.

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I took the parents to Woodberry yesterday for Mother's Day, and had another great meal.

We had for appetizers- Oysters Rock- their version of Rockefeller- the oysters were really big

Potted Pork with mustard on toast

chilled Rhubarb soup with creme fraiche- my favorite

Brunch dishes- Shirred Eggs with lump crab and asparagus

Hangtown scramble- with bacon, oysters, eggs

Smoked Chicken, Andouille, Grits with redeye gravy

We finished with a fresh strawberry jam doughnut

I look forward to going back when more seasonal ingredients start coming in.

I noticed Top Chef contestant Jill Snyder (who used to be at Red Maple) was at the head of the line in the kitchen.

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I noticed Top Chef contestant Jill Snyder (who used to be at Red Maple) was at the head of the line in the kitchen.
I noticed that too. During our eternal wait, I saw her and my boyfriend and I debated whether it was her (he didn't think so). On our way out, I stopped to use the restroom and there she was. I couldn't stop myself from confirming it was her at that point and chatting for a minute before we left (and I'm sure saying something totally inappropriate since I had had some drinks).

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Woodberry is hosting a local sausage and beer festival this Sunday afternoon 3-5 pm.

I went to their local oyster event 2 weeks ago- amazing- great local oysters, oyster stew, and oysters grilled in their shells with melted butter. The turnout was pretty good considering Baltimore is dead during the Ravens game.

They got a mention on The Best Thing I Ever Ate by Duff from Ace of Cakes for their dessert, the CMP (chocolate, marshmallo & peanuts), which, from what I was told, returns to the menu at the end of the month.

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just s brief update- due to the weather this weekend- the sausage event i mentioned in the last post has been cancelled.

Thanks for the update. I had marked my calendar for this one since I'm long overdue for making the trek "up north" to check out Woodberry. I'll have to find another excuse in the near future, a great problem to have. :(

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Fun, great meal last night. We did an early dinner so that we could return to DC at a reasonable hour. Service was friendly and ultra-efficient. the butcher plate was a great start, with great black sausage and weisswurst. Oyster stew and broccoli soup were very good middle courses, with gigantic oysters floating in a very rich broth. Instead of doing entrees, we did a few of the warm and cold plates--the smoked trout salad, the pork buns, and the spiced pear flatbread. The flatbread was a real winner, but the surprise hit were the pork buns, very filling and not at all what we expected--these were essentially pulled pork sliders on pretzel rolls, which were just delicious.

Food was tasty, portions were ample, and it was warm and comfortable inside (and rainy and ugly outside). We can't wait to go back.

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Their twitter noted today that the CMP- "chocolate, marshmallow, peanuts" mentioned by Duff from Ace of Cakes on the The Best Thing I ever Ate is back on the dessert menu for the season.

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Their twitter noted today that the CMP- "chocolate, marshmallow, peanuts" mentioned by Duff from Ace of Cakes on the The Best Thing I ever Ate is back on the dessert menu for the season.

Funny, I forgot to mention that I had this for dessert. It was good--a nice chocolate sundae with great peanuts and a sinful amount of marshmallow

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I've been there on numerous occasions, and I've always really enjoyed myself. Within the last year or so, though, it's skyrocketed in popularity to the point that reservations are basically mandatory for dinner, and you're looking at a full house with all hands busy even during the week. Right now, for instance, there are no open reservations before Sunday.

This may be my imagination, but right around the time Michael Pollan gave his lecture at the Pratt (May 16) with Tony Geraci, things really started getting absurdly crowded on a regular basis. In fact, I saw Tony Geraci at WK later that same night.

My strategy to deal with this has been twofold. One, I get there early, usually around 5pm when they open. Two, I grab seats at the bar. Even when I've gotten there a bit later, a couple of chairs usually open up within 15 minutes or so.

See, for those who haven't been, the bar at WK is part of the main dining room. It's a gorgeous space, and eating food at the bar is entirely the norm. Plus, since there are multiple bartenders right there who can handle all orders, you get much faster service than you would from a table server, who's likely going to be extremely busy.

I apologize if all of this is painfully obvious; just trying to share a tip.

They currently also have an absinthe drink of which I forget the name, but which I highly recommend trying. It comes with an elaborate mechanism that allows the absinthe to run over two sugar cubes and into a glass below.

Here is some video I took of the mechanism (.mov/Quick Time format):

http://inox.org/Absinthe.mov

http://inox.org/Absinthe2.mov (Closer view)

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We drove up for brunch to meet my parents today, and that meal really has me wanting to return. Soon. It's normally tough to accurately judge a place at brunch, but it was clear that the kitchen puts great effort into the menu and doesn't just slide by on standards since brunch doesn't "count" for fine dining review purposes. The stellar ingredients were really allowed to shine through. Even dishes that could have been excused for being heavy, dense comfort food/hangover cure fare were anything but. The smoked chicken and sausage over grits was a good example; could have been a gloppy mess. They also have the best gluten free bread that we have ever tasted, baked fresh each morning by the wife of one of the chefs we were told. This in and of itself is no small feat.

BTW, The Full Monty is about the best way to start a day I've encountered in a long time (Old Bay-laced Bloody Mary with maple cured bacon and steamed shrimp for garnish, served with a Natty Boh chaser).

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We drove up for brunch to meet my parents today, and that meal really has me wanting to return. Soon. It's normally tough to accurately judge a place at brunch, but it was clear that the kitchen puts great effort into the menu and doesn't just slide by on standards since brunch doesn't "count" for fine dining review purposes. The stellar ingredients were really allowed to shine through. Even dishes that could have been excused for being heavy, dense comfort food/hangover cure fare were anything but. The smoked chicken and sausage over grits was a good example; could have been a gloppy mess. They also have the best gluten free bread that we have ever tasted, baked fresh each morning by the wife of one of the chefs we were told. This in and of itself is no small feat.

BTW, The Full Monty is about the best way to start a day I've encountered in a long time (Old Bay-laced Bloody Mary with maple cured bacon and steamed shrimp for garnish, served with a Natty Boh chaser).

Today must have been a Clipper Mill magnet.

I also just returned from there, my first foray into Woodberry Kitchen. Will post the specifics later, but in a word, damn.

Why did it take me so long?

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Enjoyed an outstanding meal at Woodberry Kitchen over the weekend. Highways cooperated in both directions, making this trek from Northern Virginia not so difficult. Beto, Inox and others have vividly portrayed the striking surroundings of the space, and the critical focus on local sourcing, so I’ll jump straight to the flavors.

Philly’s own Vieux Carré Absinthe features prominently in the drink listing, including the bartender’s favorite “absinthe frappe”. A standard pour for me arrived a few degrees above the ideal temperature, the auto-verseur acting up a bit with delay tactics.

Woodberry’s “Headless Horseman” is well worth the loss of your noggin. Bourbon with house-brewed spiced pumpkin syrup, served in a copper mug, one of the best cocktails I’ve enjoyed all year. Large, flat ice cubes, deftly mixed, with the house-standard bamboo stirrer, an outstanding liquid representation of autumn.

Roasted Oysters Rock (Rockefeller both upstaged and outclassed) arrived as OOUS (oysters of unusual size) plated over warm rock salt. Not overcooked by a single degree, these were exceptional bivalves. The essence of pernod and warmed salt from the oysters played remarkably well with flavors from absinthe. Green fairy meets shimmering mermaid, a highly recommended pairing.

From the snack menu, we chose radishes with tarragon butter and sea salt (simple, French perfection; an indulgence of sense and sensibility) and deviled eggs with ham (remarkably light with pleasing horseradish after-nip).

We also ordered kitchen pickles and olives to enjoy throughout the meal. However, these turned out to deliver the only flat note of the night. With New Heights taking my expectation of house-made pickles to, well, new heights, this rendition seemed hollow and listless. Devoid of dill, garlic, juniper, or other seasoning, these carried just a hefty dose of vinegar and overt sweetening. The crisp texture was fine, but flavors and interest perplexingly absent. With everything else so spot on throughout the menu, I can’t help but think I received an off batch of what should have been a bracing palate cleanser.

Insofar as main dishes, my dining companion enjoyed the impossibly tender short ribs. I elected the short rib, onion jam, kale, and asiago flatbread. I would have sworn the flour was milled that very same day, shockingly fresh and flavorful. Toppings were masterfully balanced both in flavor and in quantity. And yes, unmistakable wood-burning flavor manifests throughout, lovely wisps of smoke and quiet sighs of char.

For desserts, some assembly is required at Woodberry, but overwhelmingly worth it. The Sweet Potato Pie and Flourless Chocolate Cake are well worth your tines, and more than worth the calories. Make sure you mix all the flavors on the plate together, don’t forgo this step lest you stop just short of amazing.

A few more random tips for the first time visitor:

➢I was a bit worried on the dark walk from the parking lot to the restaurant. It’s a short trek, no more than 150 yards, but no sidewalk exists between the two areas. This causes you to walk in the path of oncoming traffic, although slow-moving and mostly infrequent. Free valet parking is available. This may cost you a few bucks with gratuity, but would be a smart investment to avoid brief but potentially anxiety-raising ambling before and after your meal.

➢The food and environment will delight you, but don’t expect to be wowed by the bathrooms near the restaurant entrance. They do not appear to have been part of the careful upgrading for the rest of the renovated mill space. The hallway in that area actually smelled a little funny, like rain leaking into an old building. And not a single Dyson Airblade in sight!

➢You must, must, must get there early and you must, must, must eat at the bar. The best bar seats in the house are the ones closest to the wood-burning oven. Service is exceptional, and the hubbub of activity serves as it’s own entertainment. By the time you’ll be done with your meal, those bar seats will be needed for the droves of folks arriving for peak dining hours.

➢Order liberally from the snacks menu. For $1-$5, these whimsical servings brought to mind a more refined version of the “amuse yourself” menu from Arlington’s EatBar.

➢While watching workers in both the front and back of the house, their remarkable level of focus struck me as a hallmark of excellence and a differential advantage. I spoke somewhat at length with a few staff who expressed immense appreciation and pride with being part of Woodberry Kitchen. This is a restaurant team that’s deeply engaged in what they are doing. They are making every moment and every morsel count.

And I’m counting, too. The days until I return. Hopefully, a short recitation.

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Looks like the bank foreclosed on the developer of the community around Woodberry Kitchen. I really hope this doesn't adversely affect the place. It's a bright spot in kind of a dreary area.

http://bit.ly/5h8434

Edited by ToothbrushFambly

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I was a bit worried on the dark walk from the parking lot to the restaurant. It's a short trek, no more than 150 yards, but no sidewalk exists between the two areas. This causes you to walk in the path of oncoming traffic, although slow-moving and mostly infrequent. Free valet parking is available. This may cost you a few bucks with gratuity, but would be a smart investment to avoid brief but potentially anxiety-raising ambling before and after your meal.

If you cross to the side of the street opposite of the parking lot there is a sidewalk that passes by a pool.

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If you cross to the side of the street opposite of the parking lot there is a sidewalk that passes by a pool.

Of course, if I have enough of that absinthe next time, maybe I can also imagine my very own sidewalk suspended above the street in classic sci-fi fashion...

I seriously can't wait to get back to Woodberry, though. If only sci-fi were real, that place would be on my teleporter's speed dial.

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Our second outing to Woodberry Kitchen was last night, celebrating a birthday. The first time we went, we had an early reservation (5 PM) and by the time we left the place was hopping. Last night we had an early-ish reservation, and they were very busy but very gracious. We luckily found a place at the bar and waited about 10 minutes for our table, which is no problem at all.

As with our first visit, we think the service here is very good--attentive, friendly, knowledgeable, and the servers here seem quite enthusiastic about the food and the restaurant. The cocktails were fine--this isn't a cocktail bar, but the focus on locally sourced or otherwise 'conscientious' spirits and adjuncts is completely in line with the general philosophy of the place.

And the food? Again, as with our first visit, we ordered too much and took home leftovers, but were very happy with everything that came to the table. Our salads--a kitchen caesar with a very mellow anchovy dressing, and a spinach salad with a nicely sharp goat cheese, both had very clean flavors and seemed stunningly fresh. After that we moved on to three 'from the oven' choices. The smoked chicken flatbread--with cheddar, honey, and a few other ingredients that escape me at the moment--was almost a touch soggy, likely from the combination of the chicken and the honey, but a great combination of flavors. The roasted cauliflower, to my surprise, turned out to be the dish of the night. This was a simple yet beautifully prepared inch-thick slice of a head of cauliflower, served with a light cheese sauce, roasted capers, and (maybe) baby chanterelle mushrooms. I could have easily eaten a second order of this, as it was perfectly seasoned and so satisfying. For the third dish, we ordered the mac and cheese, a lump crab-containing take on the classic, browned on top from the oven and filled with crab. Fantastic.

As this was a birthday, we overstuffed ourselves and finished with the flourless chocolate cake. As was said above, blending the flavors together--the cake, ganache (I think), the cocoa sorbet, and the vanilla ice cream--can be a challenge to put on your spoon but is so great. Once again, we left feeling satisfied (and ready to go back again).

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Any other recent insights? I am going tonight with a few friends for my birthday and haven't been in a while. Kmango, your review is quite helpful, although I intend to stay away from the absinthe myself. :angry:

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