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100 Best Restaurants 2011: Birch & Barley
Comments () | Published January 18, 2011
100 Best Restaurants 2012 100 Best Restaurants (2011)

Birch & Barley/ChurchKey
Address: 1337 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005
Phone: 202-567-2576
Neighborhood: Logan Circle, Downtown
Cuisines: Modern, American
Opening Hours: Open Tuesday through Thursday 5:30 to 10, Friday and Saturday 5:30 to 11, Sunday 11 to 8 PM.
Nearby Metro Stops: Mt. Vernon Square/7th St.-Convention Center, McPherson Square
Price Range: Moderate
Dress: Informal
Noise Level: Rowdy
Reservations: Recommended
Best Dishes Bread board; shrimp corn dogs; tater tots; flatbreads with figs and prosciutto, with veal-neck sausage, or BLT style; brat burger and fries; dessert tasting plate of oatmeal cream pie, “Hostess” cupcake, fudge pop, and marshmallow.
Price Details: Birch & Barley starters $9 to $14, entrées $16 to $30. ChurchKey shareable plates $3.50 to $14, sandwiches and flatbreads $7 to $15.

Only the top 40 restaurants were ranked in 2011's Best Restaurants list.

This low-lit destination is a wine bar for beer, with an astounding selection—555 artisanal brews, including 50 on tap—and a beer sommelier, Greg Engert, whose expertise is as exhaustive as it is geekily impassioned.

Although the food can’t compare to the novelty or excitement of the suds, chef Kyle Bailey has assembled an eclectic sampler of current trends—pork belly, tuna tartare, hand-rolled pastas—that impress with their emphasis on detail over flash.

Pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac supplies an exuberant finish—she can assemble a plate of nine disparate elements, as she does in her apple beignet, and yet communicate something simple and true. MacIsaac also bakes superlative pretzel rolls that make it tempting to bypass dinner altogether and gorge on beer and pretzels.

Also good: Ricotta cavatelli; tagliatelle with sautéed mushrooms; pan-seared rainbow trout with apple-and-bacon chutney; prosciutto-wrapped veal with potato gratin; figgy toffee pudding cake with brandy-poached pear; cookies-and-confections plate.

Open Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, Sunday for brunch (until 8 pm). Expensive.

>> See all of 2011's Best Restaurants

 

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/18/2011 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews