Birch & Barley – Simply Awful

1337 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005

 

Back in town after an outstanding Safari vacation and called up the divas to head out for a bite. We decided on Birch & Barley (B&B) since we’ve all heard so many good things about this spot and we figured it was a no brainer.

B&B is located on the ever popular 14th Street corridor where it seems that a new restaurant opens every other week. Since this is the case you can imagine how competitive it must be or how much pressure may exist to be the best. Well, I am not sure if we caught B&B on an off night or what but there was only one out of four of us that was happy with their meal.

First, you may need to update your text message profile with your phone carrier because that will be your mode of communication while here, that or sign language. The noise level was so high that when I left I had a sore throat from yelling to the person sitting right next to me. Also, it was so dark inside that we could NOT read the menu – no kidding. We used the flashlight app on our phone.

Our primary server was fine but I got the feeling from the busboy and others who cleared our table that if we didn’t want to linger it was just fine with them. Also, as usual no kids in sight. I like to mention this in my reviews because folks from the travel sites read this blog and they normally have kids. I can say that some spots are more kid friendly than others and outside of Matchbox and some Asian  restaurants on this street the places are not necessarily kid friendly. Can you bring your kids, yes of course but more than likely you could get the stink eye from your neighbors if little Johnny is having a bad day, also I’d be curious to know if they actually have a kids menu. I will be sure to ask next time as I am almost sure they won’t enjoy anything we ordered since we didn’t either.

Now onto the food but first, why does the food look so outstanding on the site compared to my pics below of what we actually received? The menu looked promising and I was torn between a few options so I asked the server for recommendations….bad idea.

IMG_5459

VH1 and I started with the Roasted Beet Salad which included ‘seared sweetbreads’ which was more like fried. In my opinion, this starter was abysmal and VH1 didn’t think much better. We also shared the Fig & Prosciutto Flatbread ….YAWN.

Beet Salad

Beet Salad

 

For the entrée VH1 got  the Hand-Cut Tagliatelle and I chose the Wolf Fish. I tried the pasta and it was so thick that it almost stuck to the roof of my mouth and the Wolf Fish was a joke and the portion size was so small that I started pushing things around on my plate looking for more.

Flat Bread

Flat Bread

Duck

Duck

 

Very bland and the okra, egg plant and ‘stuff’ were over done. On the other side of the table PM got the flatbread and said it was just okay but TR got the duck and it was pretty good.

 

Pasta

Pasta

 

Wolf Fish

Wolf Fish

 

NOTE: I know the pictures did not turn out well for this review, mostly due to the lighting BUT please note. This picture of the Wolf Fish plate was taken BEFORE I touched it.

 

A good indicator of how well the meal went is if we order dessert and let me just say, NO ONE did.

Umm, I am not headed back here as I am not convinced that this was a flux because it was so awful but if you’d like to try your luck you may want to take a taxi or metro as the parking was extremely  challenging. Take the metro green line to U street and walk about 20 minutes.