Brunch at Birch and Barley

Doughnuts toffee-bacon, lemon-poppy glazed, bittersweet chocolate
I chose the restaurant where we ate for Sunday brunch. I was quite nervous since none of my companions have tried this restaurant and they work in DC!

A small article in a DC magazine caught my eye. It mentioned Birch and Barley’s terrific  brunch menu. Based on that and few online reviews I convinced my cousins and their friends to bring me there on a warm Sunday in August for brunch.
Birch & Barley

Churchkey is the bar above the restaurant.
Birch & Barley-1

Birch & Barley-2

Churchkey bar is famous for having 50 kinds of draft beer and 500 plus brands of bottled beer from all over the world.
Birch & Barley-3

Birch & Barley-4

Birch & Barley-5
gnocchi formed by hand one at a time

Our group sat in two tables. One table was for La and hubby and kids. I’m glad I sat in the table of fantastic eaters.
Birch & Barley-6
Carmela, Teret and Sharon

I’m not too happy about these pictures since the lighting was a challenge and I brought the wrong lens. But trust me the food tasted much better than they look.

I took this quick shot of Erin’s french toast from the other table. I didn’t get to try it but Erin assured me it was fabulous. 
whiskey-vanilla French toast
whiskey-vanilla French toast $14

I couldn’t decide what to order. I wanted to try so many things on the menu. Thankfully my table mates agreed to order all different entrees so we could try each others’ food.

I told myself I will not eat another burger since I must have eaten more than five burgers on my 7 week US trip. But the article I read specifically mentioned the Brat Burger as the signature dish  so that’s what I had.

The burger was very good! It was bursting with flavor and together with the sauerkraut and emmenthaler cheese all I needed was a cold, cold beer and I’d have a typical German meal.
Brät Burger
Brät Burger $16
beer braised sauerkraut, emmenthaler, arugula

Sha had the soft shell crab sandwich. It was a bit salty for me but when eaten with the ciabatta it was fine.
Pan Fried Jumbo Soft Shell Crab
Pan Fried Jumbo Soft Shell Crab $14
remoulade, mache, toasted ciabatta, fries

If I didn’t order the Brat Burger I would have ordered the corned beef hash. Teret let me try it and I loved it. The beef was so tender and chunky yet not too salty. It was a far cry from any corned beef I’ve ever eaten.
House-Brined Corned Beef Hash
House-Brined Corned Beef Hash $15
fried duck eggs, potato, parsley

I’ve always wondered why waffles and fried chicken were paired together. I would have liked this dish if they didn’t put maple syrup on the chicken too. It was a bit weird to eat sweet fried chicken. Carmela didn’t have any complaints though since she finished everything. 
Fried Chicken & Waffles
Fried Chicken & Waffles $14
belgian waffle, butter pecans, maple-chicken jus

I was already so full and I was shocked that Carmela wanted to order dessert. Boy am I so glad she did. I never eat doughnuts. It’s the last thing that would ever attract me. But the first bite of the toffee-bacon doughnut brought tears to my eyes. It was love at first bite.

As good as the toffee-bacon was I didn’t think anything could top it until I tried the lemon-poppy doughnut. It was a burst of lemony goodness. So light, airy and tart. It was everyone’s favorite.

The bittersweet chocolate doughnut was the most ordinary of the three but I still ate most of it. How can I resist the bittersweet glaze?
Doughnuts toffee-bacon, lemon-poppy glazed, bittersweet chocolate
Freshly Fried Donuts
toffee-bacon, lemon-poppy glazed, bittersweet chocolate

Not too sweet, just sticky enough and filled with cream cheese. Died and gone to bread heaven. Gosh I think the pastries were even better than the food! Next time I go back I’m having coffee, doughnuts, sticky bun with a side of corned beef hash. Burp.
Warm Brioche Sticky Bun
Warm Brioche Sticky Bun $4
brown sugar, pecans, cream cheese

I found this video on how to make the Brat Burger.

Here’s the recipe too!
Birch & Barley Brat Burger with Beer-Braised Sauerkraut
Chef Kyle Bailey of Birch & Barley and ChurchKey – Washington, DC
Adapted by
March 2010
Yield: 6 Servings


Brat Burger:    
8 ounces pork butt, cubed
¾ ounce kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground white pepper
1 teaspoon ground ginger
½ teaspoon grated nutmeg
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup heavy cream, chilled
2½ pounds ground veal

Beer-Braised Sauerkraut:
3 ounces bacon, diced
½ medium onion, thinly sliced
8 ounces sauerkraut, drained
½ Granny Smith apple, grated
3 ounces white wine
½ cup chicken stock
6 ounces Ayinger Brau-Weisse or other German-style hefeweizen
Salt and pepper

To Assemble and Serve:
6 thick slices Emmentaler cheese
6 caraway and onion buns
Baby arugula


For the Brat Burger:    
Mix the pork, salt, pepper, ginger and nutmeg in bowl and let sit for 2 hours. Grind twice through a medium-size die into a chilled bowl. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix on medium for 2 to 3 minutes, or until homogeneous. While mixing, slowly add the cream and egg until incorporated; then mix in the veal. Form into 8-ounce patties.

For the Beer-Braised Sauerkraut:
Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Render the bacon in a deep oven-proof pan. Add onions and sweat until translucent. Add the sauerkraut and cook until heated through. Add the apple and cook until heated through. Deglaze

To Assemble and Serve:
Grill the brat burgers to medium well (it contains pork and veal so anything less will yield an odd texture). Top with cheese and let it melt. Slice and grill the buns. Put arugula on the bottom bun, top with the burger, and top with sauerkraut.

Birch and Barley
1337 14th St NW
Washington, DC 20005
telephone: (202) 567-2576

2 thoughts on “Brunch at Birch and Barley

  1. Yum! I live right down the street from that place and never thought to try it. Thanks to you, I might go and brunch there on of these days! =)


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