Thursday, August 12, 2010

Birch & Barley

Birch and Barley has so many great things happening together. An amazing array of ever-changing 50 draft beers you can try in tastings or in full size. A fantastic pastry chef who really knows how to make bread. Plus, a light American menu that pairs well with beer.
What can I say about B&B's bread board other than it's absolutely phenomenal? Hardest part is choosing which one I liked the most. Was it the hot pretzel bites with a spicy mustard? Or the cinnamon raisin bread topped with soft, creamy butter? Or the kalamata olive rolls?

We shared a selection of cheese that had a variety of accompaniments and more bread. This included a Cashel Blue, a Monte Enebro (tangy and soft goat's milk cheese from Spain), and Tete de Moine (a mild cow's milk cheese from Switzerland).
3 Cheese flatbread with a special request for arugula on top. The peppery arugula added a nice balance to the mixture of cheeses. The flatbread had more of a pizza-feel than a cracker crust. Other than the shape, I would call it a very nice pizza.
Wild mushroom and cheese flatbread with fennel-crusted sausage on half. My mushroom half was wonderful. Earthy wild mushrooms mixed with cheese and the amazingly chewy flatbread.
Port-glazed fig flatbread with gorgonzola and prosciutto.
Crispy wild-striped bass with baby fennel, artichoke, sunchoke and olive. Perfectly seared on the outside, moist firm fish paired well with the vegetable ragout. Beer-braised sauerkraut bratburger, covered in melted emmanthaler with fries.
Pairs well with beer.
Roasted baby beets with carmelized pecans. When done well, beets have a lovely texture and sweetness, and this was a nice side dish.
Fresh tagliatelle with mussels, clams, seafood sausage and lemongrass.
The pasta was light with a nice tooth-feel.

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