First, let me be clear that this isn't actually a review of Woodberry Kitchen. It's a bit of a bitch about them. A couple of odd things have happened that make me pre-disposed to be a bit irritated about them. First, there's this, from Elizabeth Large's Baltimore Sun food blog, Dining @ Large.
Apparently, Mrs. Large wanted to give her 3,000th commenter a gift certificate and although it was charged to a credit card, the certificate was never sent. When WK was called, they said it must have gotten lost in the mail and they'd send another one... which also never arrived. Even after writing about this on the blog (which gets several thousand visits a day), and getting a number of comments, WK still has not sent the certificate. Are they so busy and popular that they can afford this kind of bad press? And from Baltimore's main restaurant reviewer to boot?
Last night, I attended the Baltimore Architecture Foundation's Annual Groundhog Party. It moves from year to year, and this year it was at the Natty Boh's Bottle Building, an as not yet finished space. I was looking forward to the food, which was being provided by, you guessed it, Woodberry Kitchen. The party was for 300 or more people and the food WK provided was minimal, at best. They had three tables, with stacks of corn tortilla flats, bowls of guacamole, shredded pork and rice. Additionally, there was something that looked like roasted potatoes, but was really plantains.
The presentation of the food was something you'd sling out at a spur-of-the-moment backyard party for your good buddies. No chafing dishes, no serving utensils, plates only on two tables, brown paper napkins like the ones at a fast food joint, no forks on every table, etc.
The rice was in huge tupperware-like bins, and wasn't even warmed. The tortiallas were not even cooked or warmed, which makes them taste like eating rubbery damp cardboard. The flower arrangements on the table were gorgeous, but they weren't from Woodberry Kitchen. The beers and wines were great, but they weren't from Woodberry Kitchen. They were from Brewer's Art.
It was as though this gig was such an afterthought by Woodberry Kitchen as to not even have registered on their radar. This wasn't a crowd of flannel-clad 20-somethings, but a semi-formally dressed group of 30- to 50-year old professionals. If they were doing this event as a charity deal, and for the good press, I think they failed miserably.