100 Best Restaurants 2011: Woodberry Kitchen

No. 34

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

How does a Baltimore restaurant make it onto this list? By offering something no place in Washington does. Make that many somethings. The setting, in a restored mill, is as inviting as they come, its wood-rich rooms glowing with a hearth-like warmth. The superb cocktails reinforce the feeling that you’re spending an evening by the fire in a ski lodge.

Woodberry was conceived as a paean to the farm-to-table movement, but chef Spike Gjerde understands that eating locally doesn’t have to mean eating fussily. Tautog, a Maryland black fish, is turned into fish and chips, farm-raised eggs are deviled and picnic-ready, spelt is fashioned into chewy noodles for a zesty tomato sauce, and a locally raised chicken is simply roasted and presented with a hot, fluffy biscuit.

Desserts—a malted ice-cream sundae, sweet-potato pie, brown bread with poached apples and custard—marry restaurant-grade precision with old-fashioned pleasures. Much like this out-of-the-way charmer.

Also good: Smoked pecans; pickle-and-olive plate; chicken-liver parfait; Maryland shrimp with romesco sauce; warm ricotta with apples and toasts; slow-roasted pork shoulder with pork gravy; roasted trumpet mushrooms; roasted cauliflower with goat cheese and vin cotto; peanut-butter shake.

Open Monday through Friday for dinner, Saturday and Sunday for brunch and dinner. Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants


Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.