>Birch and Barley

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yum. yum. yum.

a while back in early june (no biggie that i am about a month late), really great buddy of BOOF, lee was in town for the weekend. we were trying to catch up but with busy schedules, we determined that brunch would be the best option. now, both of us come from the NY/NJ area so we are accustomed to knowing good brunch. needless to say, washington DC is not known for their brunch. despite all the wonderful restaurants that DC has to offer, it lacks in one major meal area, and that is brunch. i recently came into “the know” that birch and barley, a newcomer to the DC food scene is doing brunch very well. so, lee and i decided to check out the fuss and judge for ourselves.

birch and barley is located in the logan area part of DC on 14th and it is also recognized by its uniquely distinguished upstair partner bar, “churchkey”. although both venues boast many similarities, churchkey is really known as the bar (though it does serve food), and birch and barley is known as the restaurant (though it does serve drink). both restaurants/bars are relatively new to the DC food/drink scene but they are making a big splash. churchkey is already on its way to becoming one of the best bars in DC, and birch and barley is definitely on most people’s lists of top newcomer restaurants.

birch and barley is located on the bottom floor and churchkey is on the top floor (that review will come at a later date). the restaurant is not really a large space (actually quite small) but with the modern decor and well-placed tables, you don’t feel as though you are eating on top of your co-patrons. the ceilings are high, the colors are warm and the restaurant is well lit, so it definitely has a nice young professional vibe to it.

not only is the brunch all day (11 am-8pm) but they boast a great “boozy” brunch deal: fresh donut holes, 2 brunch cocktails, an entree, and a bottomless iced tea or coffee. although lee and i didn’t get this deal, it seems like a win win situation to me in the future.

lee ordered the amish hen egg omlet served with goat cheese, spring asparagus, and hashbrowns. lee switched the asparagus for a simple salad but she said that it was really good. the flavors worked well, the omlet was filling, and the hashbrowns were seasoned well without being fried too intensely.

i ordered the Grand Marnier French Toast topped with Early Glow Strawberries, Mascarpone, and Bacon. Although I don’t believe in changing the chef’s intended recipe, I LOVE French Toast and was really craving some so I asked for that to be taken off. However, instead I ordered a side of Stone Ground White Grits with Grafton Cheddar. Now, lucky me, they were testing out an addition to the french toast which was slivered almonds. They asked if I minded and are you kidding me? Really? I LOVE peanuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds…you name it. I felt so privileged to be trying their new recipe. The french toast was delicious. In my opinion, my mom makes the most wonderful French Toast in the world, and though this is not my mom’s french toast, this french toast was very very good. I do believe that they should definitely stick to the almonds with the strawberries and marscapone creme because the rest of the french toast can get soggy (to be expected), but the crunch of the nuts really balances out the inevitable sogginess.

the grits. yum yum yum yum. so good. my dad is super southern so he really believes in making good cheese grits and these were definitely on par with any southern cheese grits that i have ever had. they were not too watery or salty, but they had the perfect balance of cheesy flavor with a nice peppery kick. I would be tempted to go there just to order the grits, no lie.

all in all, i really enjoyed my trip to birch and barley. i hear that their dinner is also very good, so i would love go their for dinner as well. but birch and barley definitely are in the top 5 for best DC brunches…soon enough, they may be at # 1. watch out tabard inn.

Grade: A-

Things to do: there are a ton of exhibits in the logan circle area so that can easily take up an afternoon. also, logan circle is a really nice park itself, so you can just go for a walk in the area or play some games with some friends on the greenery. the restaurant is also only located a few blocks up from u street, so you can definitely take in a show at lincoln theater or u street music hall, to name a few.

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