After the Smalley’s visit on Friday night I believe we were due for some redemption in the let’s-try-out-a-new-place category. As it turns out, that was just what happened on our visit to the Birchwood Café Sunday evening with the McG’s and the Shervey’s.
While I’m generally up for trying out a new place for the sake of trying it out, the specific lure that brought us to Birchwood was their Sunday special: 2 burgers + 1 pitcher of Surly = $30. Last night when we arrived the Surly options were Bender and THREE! A whole pitcher of Three might sound a bit excessive but I’m of the mind that when you can get it, you don’t pass it up. We all know that once it’s gone, it’s gone and the best we can hope for is that Four will be in the same league.
For most of the week their only burgers are turkey or black bean, but on Sundays, starting at 5 pm, they loosen up and offer Thousand Hills grass fed beef burgers. Although the weight of the burger is not listed anywhere, it must have been a half pounder. The burger itself was cooked to perfection and juicy, the bun the exact combination of substantial and squeezable and the toppings (roasted red pepper, red onion, tomato, lettuce, pepper jack cheese, and rosemary aioli) provided a solid supporting role that didn’t steal the show.
By the time we finished up the main course and got around to ordering from their amazing selection of desserts we saw the staff changing out the Surly tap handles. Looks like we helped to kill the keg of Three. On went Furious, which although is stellar in its own right is available year round so loses the limited availability novelty of Three.
Oh, quick note about the desserts. After the amazing hamburger and blue corn chips (which rock if you let them marinate in all of the yummy juices that come out of the burger) and most of the pitcher of Three, I didn’t really need dessert but one look in the dessert case and it was a no brainer. I had the carrot cake, Kat & Scott had the berry crumble and Mag, Sharon & Dave had the key lime pie. All amazing!
In addition to two Surly offerings on tap, there were cans of Surly Coffee Bender ($5), Flat Earth 22 oz ($7), Bell's Two Hearted ($4.50) and a few other craft and imports. You won’t find a beer list on their website so you have to take your chances on what they might have at any time but based on this first visit I’ll put my money that it’ll be worth the trip. One caveat: you must order food with your alcohol. Something to do with the conditions of their liquor license and likely the result of being situated squarely in a residential neighborhood. What I wouldn’t give to have a Birchwood sibling in my neighborhood!