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The Sunday Review: Wit & Wisdom, a Tavern by Michael Mina

The Sunday review for Dec. 10 is of Wit & Wisdom, A Tavern by Michael Mina, the 365-day restaurant at the new Four Season Hotel Baltimore. The bottom line is it won't cost you anything to go in and take a look.

Observing that Wit & Wisdom  in the Four Seasons Hotel Baltimore had perhaps an over-abundance of good ideas, I felt like Emperor Joseph II telling Mozart that the Marriage of Figaro had too many notes.

But there is a lot going on at Wit & Wisdom. There's the attention-grabbing, room-dominating open wood-fire and rotisserie area, which looks more a stage set than it should. Or maybe it's bold in a way I'm not getting.

I still think I've never heard worse music in a prettier room. I'm convinced the choice of music is on purpose, and it made me crazy trying to figure it out why.

The menu is very cleverly arranged but short, I think, on useful information. The waiter will tell you that the Amish Rabbit boudin and country-fried loin, a truly terrific entree, is actually a rabbit trio. The menu doesn't mention the addition of forelegs confit. Porchetta, arguably one of this year's culinary rages, is a house specialty at Wit & Wisdom, but it's identified on the menu simply as pork, which is confusing, if not misleading. (What looks to be an earlier version of the menu, available online, does say "porchetta").

Much research and ingenuity has gone into producing Wit & Wisdom's offerings, which are intended, in part, as a walk through the Eastern Seaboard’s culinary history. So, it really is kind fo cool I think that sorghum syrup shows up in two entrees and at least one knockout specialty cocktail. But the menu just calls it sorghum, which makes you think of grass when you should be thinking of molasses.

What I'm getting it is that the printed menu, which could be instrumental in helping diners, isn't always helping Wit & Wisdom out.



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