Location: 1337 14th St NW Washington D.C., 20005
I started strong with the D.C. food scene and I wasn’t ready to end it. The next night, I was with a different best friend and he had some good food in mind. We were staying in a touristy part of town, but we made our way to a local place called Birch and Barley. It’s the bar above its sister restaurant, Churchkey (which our unplanned selves did not make reservations for!), but serves a lot of the same menu items as downstairs.
We ascended a rickety and narrow staircase that unfolded into a delightful and crowded bar with lounge seating. We were lucky enough to snag a couch in the back of the bar area and settled in to eat some good food.
This was one of those places where quite literally everything on the menu looked good enough to eat. I like when food has a twist to it and you get your classics, but enjoy new flavors or combinations with that familiar taste.
While scrutinizing the menu, my eyes kept wandering back to one item, a bratwurst burger with emmenthaler, beer-braised sauerkraut, and fries. It had to be mine. When the burger arrived I could barely contain myself as I lifted it to take a bite. It was delicious. The brat meat was flavorful and cooked well, the kraut and mustard gave a tart flavor that balanced out the cheese, and I know this is strange, because how good can fries get, but their fries were perfection. we had ordered wings as well that came with a creamy, spicy sauce and dipping the fries in that sauce was the perfect accompaniment to the meal. Another perfect accompaniment for me were the cornichons (aka: gherkin/pickle). They were crisp and tart and just as delicious.
If you find yourself at Birch and Barley, consider yourself lucky and also consider some of the other foods that we tried. We had delicious Asian-inspired wings that were sweet and sour and gone almost as soon as they came.
Another favorite for me was the fig and prosciutto flatbread. If you haven’t noticed the theme yet, I love when there are two opposing flavors in a dish, sweet and salty/sour, hot and mild, etc. The sweetness of the figs was a good undertone for the saltiness of the prosciutto.
I left fully content and happy, almost in a euphoric state from the food. Check this place out, you’ll love it!