Saturday, March 2, 2013

Restaurant Review: Birch and Barley

Another restaurant review themed post!  Carl and I recently took a trip to Washington, D.C.  Whenever we do these city trips, I am all about trying to eat at local places that aren't part of a chain restaurant found all across the states.  Sometimes Trip Advisor is my best friend.

For our Friday night taste of D.C. area food, we chose Birch and Barley.  I'd read good reviews about it and it was only about two blocks away from our hotel, still a very doable walking distance in the freezing nighttime temps. 
Chef's Counter on the left.
I called over a week in advance to make reservations, but they were already booked solid.  Our only option was to sit at the "chef's counter" which we had done at a similar restaurant in Asheville before, so we gave it a go.  It was a great choice!  The whole restaurant has a seriously great atmosphere, but if you can, I would chose the chef's counter.  They send out their version of a bread basket to every table, but we also got two or three other samples of things (like some of their light flatbreads) sent from the chefs.  I'm not sure if this is just a standard for every table at the restaurant or we got it because we were sitting near the chefs.  Either way, we also enjoy watching the chefs prepare the meals and you still experience the vibe of the restaurant, just at the comfy counter rather than a table.  It worked for us.

I love a good main course meal of duck, but I will only order it in big cities (i.e. Boston, Asheville, etc.) and of course D.C. qualifies, therefore I ordered the Honey Glazed Duck Breast.  And it was just as delicious as I expected.  Tender slices were served atop a bit of pulled duck and rice for a palate pleasing meal.  Naturally, Carl chose the Brat Burger and was over the moon with how enjoyable it was.  The menu here changes every week (which we love) so we had their special lemon dessert of the night.  This dessert seamlessly combined the lemon tartness with a sweet cream for a very balanced dessert taste.  Drink wise, this place boasts a collection of 555 beers (which Carl enjoyed choices from) while also offering a handful of cocktail selections.  I ordered their version of a Mojito, which they make with Maker's Mark bourbon.  Don't let that scare you away, it was a welcomed twist to one of my go-to drinks.

Overall, we seriously loved this restaurant.  Let me know what you think if you make it there!

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