100 Best Restaurants 2012: Birch & Barley/ChurchKey
From soulful bistros to high-gloss steakhouses, there's lots of good eating in DC, Maryland, and Virginia
Reviewed By Todd Kliman, Cynthia Hacinli, Ann Limpert, Rina Rapuano
Comments () | Published January 23, 2012
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.


Chef Kyle Bailey, his wife and pastry chef Tiffany MacIsaac, and beer director Greg Engert are the dream team at this beer-centric destination, which glows like a modern barn. Upstairs, ChurchKey is one of DC's hottest bars, serving sandwiches, flatbreads, and nibbles along with an impressive roster of bottles and drafts. Downstairs is Birch & Barley, the more sophisticated sister establishment that, thanks to Bailey's rustic cooking, is still tough to get into two years after opening.

The hard-to-find brews, such as a wonderful English bitter, are the obvious drink choices, but cocktails such as the mint gimlet also go down easy.

What to get: Juicy sweetbreads; herbal risotto with ricotta and marinated peach; pork loin with greens and eggplant; cavatelli with roasted chicken and chicken-skin cracklings; hake with beans and corn; grilled skirt steak with puréed potatoes and mustard greens; bratwurst burger; cookies-and-confections plate; summertime peach pie and blueberry tart.

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

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Posted at 12:00 AM/ET, 01/23/2012 RSS | Print | Permalink | Washingtonian.com Restaurant Reviews