100 Very Best Restaurants 2015: No. 78 Birch & Barley

Birch & Barley. Photograph by Scott Suchman.

It wasn’t so long ago that when you were deciding what to eat with a beer, you’d think about the straightforward stuff: burgers, pizza, wings. Basically, drunk food.

At this warmly lit, wood-lined dining room, chef Kyle Bailey shows how far we’ve come. His cooking proves that sophisticated doesn’t have to mean fussy—if Jay Gatsby ordered up a PB&J, it might taste something like Bailey’s foie gras torchon, paired with crunchy toasted peanuts and quince purée.

Beer director Greg Engert has put together the city’s most varied, comprehensive draft list, and the smart servers and helpful beer menu (which lists not only flavor profiles and provenances but also proper glassware and temperature) makes the selection easier to explore. And if you are in the mood for wings? Head upstairs to ChurchKey, the laid-back sister bar that also slings half-smokes and disco fries.

Don’t miss:

  • Striped-bass tartare with brioche
  • Fig-and-prosciutto flatbread
  • Brat burger
  • Honey-glazed duck breast
  • Chicken and waffles (brunch only)
  • Caramel icebox cake

Try Birch & Barley’s Chef Recipes

Two Desserts from Birch & Barley’s Tiffany MacIsaac

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Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Logan Circle.

Anna Spiegel
Food Editor

Anna Spiegel covers the dining and drinking scene in her native DC. Prior to joining Washingtonian in 2010, she attended the French Culinary Institute and Columbia University’s MFA program in New York, and held various cooking and writing positions in NYC and in St. John, US Virgin Islands.