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Tom Sietsema Awards Wit & Wisdom a Mere 1.5 Stars

Tom Sietsema went out to Baltimore to review Michael Mina's Wit & Wisdom at the Four Seasons and came away with a pan of a review and word that Mina is planning to cut his executive chef loose. Yikes. In the 1.5-star review, Sietsema certainly notes a few things that went right — cocktails, "a three-way party" of pork and Chris Ford's desserts — but chides the restaurant for slipping up when it "was born with a silver spoon in its mouth." Sietsema writes:

Wit & Wisdom sprang onto the scene in November with so many advantages, it's hard for this diner to sit through the disappointing reality: bland food, tepid food, food that doesn't materialize until you ask for it a second time. (Seriously, only one kind of oyster on the chalkboard menu? In Maryland?) There's memorable cooking to be explored here, especially for meat- and sweets-eaters, but Wit & Wisdom's slips put a stain on the names of the hosts.

And if that wasn't bad enough, Sietsema notes that "Mina reached out to say he intended to name a new executive chef" just before the review went to press. [WaPo]

Todd Kliman visited Old Town Alexandria's Caphe Bánh Mì and weighs in on, what else, their banh mi: "While I've had baguettes that were crunchier, the ones here are only a rung below the best. But it's the fillings that provide much of the interest. Beyond the Classic ... there's a concoction called Ha Noi Cat Fish ($7) that deep-fries the bottom-feeder and slathers on Sriracha mayo. Another combines mortadella with a sunnyside-up egg ($5); when you press it, the yolk provides the sauce. It's sloppy, but in the best way." [The Washingtonian]

Jessica Voelker and Todd Kliman also checked in on three longtime Washington area restaurants and while Lyon Hall and Bombay Club acquitted themselves well, Yamas Mediterranean Grill was a different story: "The bold flavors that once drew us to Yamas appear to have flattened: Roast potatoes tasted of the steam table, a whole fish with herbs and lemon was overcooked, and a rotisserie chicken could have come from the supermarket." [The Washingtonian]

The Washington Post's Becky Krystal went to Ultimate Chicken Bistro in Falls Church this week and recommends you order their 27-spiced chicken with the soy-garlic glaze: "The dressing creates a pleasingly sweet, sticky exterior. It also helps compensate for the slightly overcooked crust. With the unglazed version, we were generous with the mild dipping sauce provided with every order. (We wished that a promised, spicier version had made it into our bag.)" [WaPo]

THE BLOGS: Bandolero only just opened last night, but Eat the District has already filed a review; Bitches Who Brunch drop Birch & Barley from an A+ to a still-great A; Meanwhile, Billy Martin's Tavern gets a B- from the Bitches; Borderstan writes that Judy's Restaurant is a hidden gem in their neighborhood.

Wit & Wisdom [Photo: Official Site]

Lyon Hall

3100 N Washington Boulevard, Arlington, VA 22201 703 741 7636 Visit Website

Bombay Club

815 Connecticut Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20006 202 659 3727

Wit & Wisdom

200 International Drive, Baltimore, MD