When I travel I am pretty serious about doing in-depth research into the gluten-free scene of wherever I am going. Sometimes it’s very clear what places I should visit and other times I might be more ambivalent about what I am finding or there are so many options it’s difficult to decide (or any combinations of those situations). Luckily Baltimore had some easy choices given the menus I saw and that several also got my friends’ recommendations. A friend’s recommendation is always worth a lot, but when it’s about a gluten-free restaurant I’ve found I take it very seriously. That’s why Sweet 27 Bar + Restaurant (100% gluten-free!) was my first stop in Baltimore Saturday night and also why Woodberry Kitchen was the clear choice for brunch on Sunday.
Woodberry Kitchen is a little north of the city near John Hopkins and the Maryland Zoo. My friend teaches at a school not too far away and says that the neighborhood has seen a lot of development in recent years. Woodberry Kitchen itself is surrounded by several buildings that look like converted mills and warehouses. I am such a sucker for converted historic buildings it’s not even funny. I think I connect it to my love of history, architecture, real estate, and cities like Portland and Philly (Baltimore and Philly seemed to have a lot of similarities). I had been excited for the food at Woodberry Kitchen, but got even more excited when seeing the space.
Woodberry Kitchen is a pretty popular place from talking with my friends, so we tried to make reservations beforehand. Unfortunately there weren’t any reservations left for our rough time frame, but they did say there were little tables near the bar that might not have that long of a wait. Luckily when we got there it was very busy, but not packed, and we were able to get seated pretty quickly upstairs.
Not surprisingly there were a lot of things on the gluten-free menu I wanted to order. I can never say no to deviled eggs when they are on the menu, so I went for an order of those to start. Given I also can’t say no to special gluten-free dishes, I went for a side of the gluten-free English muffin and a gluten-free biscuit. Of course that’s not enough food for a growing guy, so I went for one of my favorite dishes- the corned beef and hash.
While we waited I was constantly looking around and peaking over the edge of the railing to check out all of the space. I’m telling you- just give me some exposed brick and I have a big smile on my face. I think I associate it so much with Portland and Philly and I don’t see it a lot in Miami, so it’s just kind of a happy place for me. Like how this Oregon boy feels when I’m under the canopy of trees or alongside a river.
The deviled eggs came out first. It was made with clipped ham and fish pepper. Just in my post about the night before at Sweet 27 I talked about how I’m becoming more adventurous and trying more seafood. That being said I still had hesitated for a split second on ordering the deviled eggs, because of the fish pepper reference. It however is not a reference to anything fishy, but just the name of a type of pepper. That and the ham added some excellent kick to the usual flavor and creaminess of deviled eggs. Recently I’ve been feeling like I’m kind of losing my love of deviled eggs, but I think this was worthy of reigniting my love (and I certainly didn’t regret my decision).
The rest of our food came out and I got ready to dig in. The corned beef hash came out with big chunks of corned beef, potatoes, and asparagus on top. Woodberry’s corned beef hash looks (and is) much more “gourmet” than the typical corned beef and hash you find in diners and usual breakfast joints. Not at all surprising to me given Woodberry’s reputation and focus on fresh ingredients. I will say that in the past I’ve preferred more of the traditional corned beef hash- the crispy, slightly greasy goodness. One place I went to in Portland made it more “gourmet” and it was more like a corned beef, potato, and vegetable “salad.” I was a little (maybe more than a little) disappointed to be honest. Luckily Woodberry’s corned beef hash was so on point. It had some crisp to luckily give it somewhat of a diner corned beef hash texture, but what really shined was the quality of the ingredients and the flavors. You could tell it was really quality corned beef and I liked how hearty and filling the chunks were. The corned beef had plenty of flavor itself and didn’t really need anything else, but the addition of the spicy mustard and Russian dressing just took it to the next level. If my mother hadn’t taught me well, I would have wanted to lick the remains of the sauce off the plate… I’m sure I’ll have moods where I just want the super crispy, diner-version corned beef, but I’d also be happy with Woodberry’s corned beef most of the time.
I finished the meal off with the gluten-free biscuit and English muffin. Both came with butter and jam on the side. I slathered up both to get the full effect. I’m confident in saying both belong in the upper echelon of gluten-free biscuits and English muffins I’ve tried, if not the best I’ve had. The English muffin was crispy and crunchy. The biscuit wasn’t crumbly from being dry (like a lot of gluten-free breads), but did kind of have the flour-y and flaky-crumbly aspects I associate with regular biscuits. The butter and jam on both were delicious. I immensely enjoyed both of these. I think you could maybe get this by a regular gluten eater on texture. Taste-wise when it’s covered in butter and jam a regular gluten eater probably couldn’t tell it was gluten-free. I think it will certainly do the trick if you’re a gluten-free craving English muffins or biscuits.
After our meal we walked across the street to check out a very cool pool at the condos/apartments that were made out of the former Woodberry Mill. Outside of these complex of buildings the neighborhood seemed to be more older homes, so we didn’t explore too much farther. The pool itself was kind of a highlight of the day itself though (see pic below).
Woodberry Kitchen has just delicious food in general. Quality ingredients, good flavors, and a cool space. Given the recommendations and raves of my friends, I don’t doubt that Woodberry is one of Baltimore’s top restaurants. Luckily they have a gluten-free menu for us and a number of special gluten-free items to order. I’ve already recommend Woodberry for brunch to friends visiting Baltimore, so I will do the same for you (especially gluten-frees as always)!
Woodberry Kitchen- 2010 Clipper Park Rd #126, Baltimore, MD 21211