We had been wanting to check out Birch & Barley for a while and were excited to get the chance to a few weeks back during restaurant week. They were having a crazy good deal where you could get an appetizer, entree and dessert all for under $40.
We arrived on the early side, our reservation was at 5:45, and went up to Churchkey to have some pre-dinner cocktails. Our mixologist was great and the cocktails, while they took some time to come out (around 15 minutes) were delicious and it was very clear that each bartender pust a lot of thought and purpose into the drinks they create. After we got our drinks, our table was read and we were able to bring them down to Birch & Barley.
Because of our early seating, we were pretty much the only ones in the restaurant at first! I really liked the vibe which was a great mix of cozy and modern (and dark lighting which we’re big fans of).
However, I was nervous about one thing: would there be bread? As E knows, I have a severe and passionate love affair with carbs. Sadly, a lot of fancier and/or more contemporary restaurants do not serve bread before the meal while perusing the menu. Our waitress came over and explained the menu and promotion and gave us some time, as we would be putting in all of courses at once. After she left, I felt defeated – no bread. But, alas, shortly after she departed a fresh basket of unique and delectable breads were delivered to our table – still warm and fresh.
Each course was better than the last. As a note, some of the dishes I ordered were not part of the Spring 2017 menu that came out in April.
I started with the classic Caesar salad and was delighted with the crisp lettuce, airiness of the dressing, and the near-perfect amount of cheese (I would have liked a little more – always more c). The only negative is the lettuce was served as full leaves, which required some cutting and a few awkward bites before I could get the lettuce to a manageable size.
My entree was the crab pasta and this was truly one of the best main courses I had in recent memory. The crab was thinly sliced and scattered heartily throughout the salad. The sauce was light and buttery, with a hint of cheesiness and that lightly, but warmly, brought the pasta together. E had burrata with balsamic and a parmesan crisp. She can’t remember what the sauce was but enjoyed it just the same.
Additionally, the use of capers and a dash of old bay for seasoning kicked up the flavor. E had filet with vegetables and an amazing sauce. She said it delicious and I can vouch as I tried a piece.
Finally, for dessert, we both had a chocolate cake with nutella ice cream. We equally enjoyed the ice cream, however I found the chocolate cake a bit dry and underwhelming.
Overall, we really enjoyed the staff, atmosphere, and experience we had with Birch & Barley and would definitely return for their brunch, or to try out the new spring 2017 menu!
P.S. Please excuse our low quality pictures! It was a bit dark so we did the best we could!