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Birchwood Kitchen
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  • Birchwood Kitchen

    Post #1 - April 6th, 2009, 8:34 am
    Post #1 - April 6th, 2009, 8:34 am Post #1 - April 6th, 2009, 8:34 am
    Opening today: Birchwood Kitchen, 2211 West North Avenue, between Leavitt Street and Bell Avenue. (773-276-2100).

    More details on Daily Candy.

    Ronna

    Birchwood Kitchen
    2211 W. North Ave
    Chicago, Il
    http://www.birchwoodkitchen.com/
  • Post #2 - April 7th, 2009, 10:19 pm
    Post #2 - April 7th, 2009, 10:19 pm Post #2 - April 7th, 2009, 10:19 pm
    REB wrote:Opening today: Birchwood Kitchen, 2211 West North Avenue, between Leavitt Street and Bell Avenue. (773-276-2100).

    More details on Daily Candy.

    Ronna


    Nice joint. Co-op hot sauce, interesting menu, great food.

    Lamb french dip:
    Image

    Carrot/Ginger/Beet soup:
    Image

    Remodeled interior:
    Image
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #3 - April 7th, 2009, 10:34 pm
    Post #3 - April 7th, 2009, 10:34 pm Post #3 - April 7th, 2009, 10:34 pm
    gleam wrote:Lamb french dip:

    Ed,

    Looks tasty, wonder how it compares to my favorite lamb french dip of all times, Philippe in LA.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Philippe the Original Restaurant
    1001 N Alameda St
    Los Angeles, CA 90012
    213-628-3781
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #4 - April 18th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    Post #4 - April 18th, 2009, 2:18 pm Post #4 - April 18th, 2009, 2:18 pm
    Round two at Birchwood Kitchen today, for lunch/late brunch.

    I had the "blue" sandwich, roast beef with grilled onions, mustard, and blue cheese, grilled. Beth had the polenta brunch dish, grilled polenta, sunny-side-up eggs, spinach, pine nuts, manchego, and a roasted red pepper jam.

    We were both very happy, Beth was especially impressed with the perfectly cooked eggs. We also got a bowl of the potato leek soup, which was good but not special.

    Image

    Image
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #5 - April 18th, 2009, 5:13 pm
    Post #5 - April 18th, 2009, 5:13 pm Post #5 - April 18th, 2009, 5:13 pm
    Do they have an online menu anywhere?
  • Post #6 - April 18th, 2009, 6:16 pm
    Post #6 - April 18th, 2009, 6:16 pm Post #6 - April 18th, 2009, 6:16 pm
    forzagto wrote:Do they have an online menu anywhere?


    Not that I know of, but if you look at the full size version of this image:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/ehfisher/3 ... 1/sizes/o/

    you can pretty easily read the menu. That doesn't include beverages or brunch, but all of lunch.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #7 - April 26th, 2009, 3:10 pm
    Post #7 - April 26th, 2009, 3:10 pm Post #7 - April 26th, 2009, 3:10 pm
    Stopped by the new Birchwood Cafe in the old Cold Comfort space on North Ave. just west of Leavitt (about 200 ft. from my house) this AM for brunch. It was doing nice business, which is encouranging. I had a very good croque madam w/ a fried egg & greens. The GF had polenta w/ two fried eggs and some sort of sweet pepper/raisin side.

    My sandwich was on nicely toasted sourdough w/ some tasty ham & gruyere. It stayed hot until the very last bite, which was surprising. The polenta had an attractive brown crust and tasted of sweet corn.

    Prices & portions are medium sized -- $8.50-9.50 for main dishes, though I still have problems at any place that charges $2.50 for a small OJ.

    Service is semi-self serve. Order at the counter and they bring it to your numbered table. Everyone seemed nice and it was running pretty efficiently for a new place.

    Birchwood Kitchen
    2211 W. North Ave
    http://www.birchwoodkitchen.com/
  • Post #8 - May 17th, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Post #8 - May 17th, 2009, 3:37 pm Post #8 - May 17th, 2009, 3:37 pm
    Just had my first sandwich from Birchwood Kitchen. I'm so happy to find a really good (and local-organic-ish) sandwich shop in the Wicker Park / Bucktown area.

    I had the Vegetable (spiced cashew butter, carrot, cucumber, pickled red onion, sprouts on multigrain bread), it was tasty and the vegetables were very fresh. Came with a side of homemade potato chips. Quite a steal for $6.50.
  • Post #9 - May 17th, 2009, 10:50 pm
    Post #9 - May 17th, 2009, 10:50 pm Post #9 - May 17th, 2009, 10:50 pm
    Forgot to post this:

    Image

    Spinach, lentil, bacon, and goat cheese salad with a cherry vinaigrette. Currently my favorite salad in the city.
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #10 - June 2nd, 2009, 9:51 pm
    Post #10 - June 2nd, 2009, 9:51 pm Post #10 - June 2nd, 2009, 9:51 pm
    gleam wrote:Nice joint. Co-op hot sauce, interesting menu, great food.

    I agree Birchwood is a "nice joint" comfortable, friendly clean open feeling. Lamb sandwich was ~fine~, good bread, rich, though maybe a shade greasy, dip, nondescript pickled onions did little for neutral flavored lamb. Liked the house made chips and my dining companions veg sandwich looked tasty.

    I'm sure I will be back, if for no other reason than to pick up a bottle of Co-Op hot sauce, which I completely forgot they carried, and to try Gleam's current favorite salad of spinach, lentil, bacon, and goat cheese salad with a cherry vinaigrette. The speck sounds interesting as well.

    Enjoy,
    Gary

    Birchwood Kitchen
    2211 W. North Ave
    Chicago, IL 60647
    773-276-2100
    http://www.birchwoodkitchen.com/
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #11 - August 7th, 2009, 1:35 pm
    Post #11 - August 7th, 2009, 1:35 pm Post #11 - August 7th, 2009, 1:35 pm
    RAB and I visited the Birchwood Kitchen on Wednesday after hearing that they'd started serving burgers and would be offering buy-one-get-one-free on Wednesdays. We love us a bargain, so...

    We ordered two medium rare bacon cheddar burgers. The very enthusiastic host/server said that he'd suggest to the grill man to make them medium rare. When questioned, he replied that they couldn't do undercooked meat because they didn't have a disclaimer on their menu. REB asked, jokingly, whether we needed to sign a waiver. With a smile, he said he'd see what he could do. We figured we were there, the cost was low, and so we'd give the burgers a shot.

    We sat and we waited. After about ten minutes the host stopped by with some complimentary mustard potato salad. It was a nice thing to do. Unfortunately, the potatoes had an odd texture for potato salad -- shriveled and dry, as if roasted a few days ago and then refrigerated. The celery and mustard seed were nice, though.

    Finally, our burgers arrived. A large hunk of burger, at least a 1/2 lb of meat, on an excellent sesame seed bun. Plentiful, meaty, thick-cut bacon; a nice, thick slice of cheddar; a good, garlicky aioli; and a large, but mealy tomato slice.
    Image
    My burger was medium rare and nicely seasoned. Sadly, REB's burger was cooked to medium well, at least, which really dried it out. I offered to split mine, but REB played martyr. By this point, the place was packed. That and the bargain price kept her from sending hers back. As we were leaving, the host asked if our burgers were cooked to temp and we were honest. He responded that the grill man is still learning the hot spots on the grill (this was only their 2nd day serving burgers) and that they were sure to improve. I thought that was a reasonable response.

    The burger was served with standard potato chips and some strange slaw. The cabbage slaw had chunks of pineapple and jalapeno slices. There was little dressing to tie the ingredients together. It really tasted like someone shredded cabbage, added chunks of pineapple and jalapeno, and dressed it with a watery mayo. Edible, but not good.

    We spent some of the dinner trying to figure out the Birchwood Kitchen. On their menu and their website, they say:

    "For most of history foods have been local, seasonal and sustainably produced. Our philosophy incorporates these concepts into our menu to bring you fresh, flavorful foods. We work with a number of folks who share our comittment [sic] to quality and sustainability including Mint Creek Farms, Zingerman's Creamery, La Quercia, Co-op Image's Community Garden, Metropolis Coffee Roasters and many others."

    But, nothing on their menu identified product source. Sure, co-op hot sauce was available by the bottle, and I'm sure they actually use Metropolis Coffee. We spotted some La Quercia meats in the case (almost local), but we also spotted Columbus and Molinari meats. As far as I know, both Columbus and Molinari are quality California products, but use CAFO meat - - neither sustainable nor local. I asked about the source of the burger meat and was told that it's choice sirloin from Patuxent Farms. This, it turns out is simply a U.S. Foodservice-supplied brand of CAFO beef. Also, the potato chips were served in the bottom quarter of a sliced paper bag - - what happened to the rest of the bag? This choice was clearly an attempt at cute design, and far from a green one.

    The problem is that Birchwood is holding itself out to be this local, sustainable sandwich shop. And, if you care about buying local, sustainable products, you need to ask a lot of questions at Birchwood to make sure that's what you're getting. Even after asking those questions, it remains unclear whether more than a tiny portion of their menu comes from sustainable and local sources. In reality, It seems more marketing than substance.

    In the end, though, we definitely couldn't complain about paying under $10 for two fairly good burgers. And, many of the sandwich descriptions on the menu sounded wonderful. If it weren't for the failed promise of "local, seasonal, and sustainable," we'd probably have been much happier. As it stands, we have mixed feelings.

    --Rich

    edited to fix typo
    Last edited by RAB on August 7th, 2009, 2:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #12 - August 7th, 2009, 1:58 pm
    Post #12 - August 7th, 2009, 1:58 pm Post #12 - August 7th, 2009, 1:58 pm
    here is birchwood kitchen's menu (minus the new addition of burgers in the evenings.


    http://birchwoodkitchen.com/menu.pdf
  • Post #13 - August 7th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    Post #13 - August 7th, 2009, 2:47 pm Post #13 - August 7th, 2009, 2:47 pm
    RAB wrote:...Patuxent Farms. This, it turns out is simply a U.S. Foodservice-supplied brand...


    and not even a good one. I don't know about the burgers, but Patuxent makes some of the worst deli meats known to man. Turkey that tastes like salted styofoam, ham that tastes like salted rubber, roast beef that tastes like salted leather, etc., etc..
    ...defended from strong temptations to social ambition by a still stronger taste for tripe and onions." Screwtape in The Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis

    Fuckerberg on Food
  • Post #14 - October 13th, 2009, 5:52 pm
    Post #14 - October 13th, 2009, 5:52 pm Post #14 - October 13th, 2009, 5:52 pm
    Anyone thinking of going to Birchwood Kitchen any time soon, an artist friend of mine, Jess Robson, is currently showing some of her photographs there. I have yet to see the Birchwood hanging, but Jess' work is sentimental and formally draws a lot from 19th century photography and the style of albumen prints. Lovely stuff.
  • Post #15 - November 15th, 2009, 11:35 pm
    Post #15 - November 15th, 2009, 11:35 pm Post #15 - November 15th, 2009, 11:35 pm
    happy_stomach wrote:Anyone thinking of going to Birchwood Kitchen any time soon, an artist friend of mine, Jess Robson, is currently showing some of her photographs there.


    I finally made it over to Birchwood for the first time today with Jess and a few other friends. Sure, I’m biased, but the space is very lovely, especially with Jess’ images running its length. On display is a mix of her small- and large-format works, a selection that showcases how skillfully she scales intimacy by manipulating light. Again, ardent friend-supporter here, but Birchwood is very worth a visit right now even if for just a cookie and a peek at the photographs.

    Back to food… We arrived at almost 1:00 today and ended up waiting for about 20 minutes for a table for 5. I think someone who may have been the owner brought us some moist- and very delectable-looking (I didn’t partake) chocolate chip cake while we waited. A nice touch.

    Birchwood turns out some pretty food.*

    Image

    Image

    Image

    Image

    I didn’t photograph everything we had, and I didn’t take any notes, but there wasn’t a disappointing bite at our table. (Though I didn’t care for the sip I took of my friend’s basil hot chocolate mocha.) Fresh and vibrant greens, smoky roasted vegetables, rich and nuanced soups, precisely-cooked eggs and the best mix of olives I’ve had in a long time made for a fine meal. Because I’m not a brunch person, I tend to quibble about value. There were several items on the menu today that I thought could be $2-3 cheaper, but Birchwood Kitchen has good energy and Dyson hand dryers. I’d return. :)

    *I was also joined at brunch today by another very talented Chicago-based photographer, Erika Dufour. The first two images above are mine. Then Erika stepped in to save me from my pictorial hokiness, seizing my crappy camera to take the latter two shots. Merci, mon amie.
  • Post #16 - September 14th, 2010, 9:04 am
    Post #16 - September 14th, 2010, 9:04 am Post #16 - September 14th, 2010, 9:04 am
    I had my first meal, a Sunday brunch, at Birchwood Kitchen this weekend and enjoyed the food. I ate IL country ham (that tasted more like your Midwestern great aunt's Easter ham than the VA ham I was hoping for) on a delicious gruyere biscuit, with a fresh salad and tomatoes and sunny side up eggs. My fiancee got a salmon plate. The salmon was straightforward but complemented with pungent, pickled beets, jalapeno rings and apples that tasted nice along with the salmon.

    The most remarkable part of the meal to me was the atmosphere. I liked how casual things were -- it was just past 10:00, so only starting to pick up, which gave us a lot of careful attention from the staff -- and the genuine sense that everyone there, from the person who rang us up to the server to chatted with us before and after the meal to the host, was happy to have us stop by. It felt welcome and relaxed, and the open patio made it very easy for us to enjoy a long talk with our friends over the meal, without the noise of the inside room or the feeling that we ought to rush and make room for more diners. That vibe alone is enough to make me eager to return with friends or out-of-town guests.
    pizza fun
  • Post #17 - November 28th, 2010, 11:58 am
    Post #17 - November 28th, 2010, 11:58 am Post #17 - November 28th, 2010, 11:58 am
    Birchwood is nice for Sunday brunch. We got there just before they opened at 9 am, and there was never a wait for a table the whole time we were there (we left around 10 am). The coffee was good and hot and plentiful, even right at 9, and the folks working were pleasant and cheerful. The food was good, and the room comfortable. My quiche must have been made the day before, since it had to be warmed up from the cold case, but it was tasty. I would have liked it if they had warmed up the sweet baked goods as well (which I suppose I could have asked them to do). They don't use a microwave, which is a good thing.
    Leek

    SAVING ONE DOG may not change the world,
    but it CHANGES THE WORLD for that one dog.
    American Brittany Rescue always needs foster homes. Please think about helping that one dog. http://www.americanbrittanyrescue.org
  • Post #18 - February 23rd, 2014, 9:43 am
    Post #18 - February 23rd, 2014, 9:43 am Post #18 - February 23rd, 2014, 9:43 am
    I'm surprised no one has posted on this place in over three years. I had a wonderful brunch there yesterday and have already recommended it to a couple friends.

    We got there around 10AM and there was a short wait for a table. It was busy the entire time we were there, but never felt crowded or hectic. They have their own blend of Metropolis coffee which you serve yourself from an urn at either end of the restaurant. You can help yourself to a free cup of coffee while you wait, which is a very nice touch, and makes the restaurant feel welcoming.

    Once a table opens up you order your food from the counter then sit down and wait for them to bring your order to the table. This approach makes so much sense at brunch. It's efficient and allows the waitstaff to focus on bringing out your food and clearing your table rather than making sure all the coffee cups are full.

    Image

    There was no doubt in my mind I was going to order the croque madame and this sandwich delivered. It was perfectly constructed with a nice balance of gruyere cheese, piquant dijon mustard, and slagel farms ham served on a crunchy sourdough toast and topped with sunnyside up eggs. So many places try to gussy this sandwich up when all it ever needs is good ham and a deft touch.

    I got to sample the other orders at the table as well and though I only had a couple bites the brussels sprouts hash really stood out. In this preparation the crunchiness comes from shaved and griddled brussels sprouts that are tossed with carrots and a creamy sauce and topped with thick cut bacon. The combination of brussels sprouts and bacon is obviously nothing new, but the way the flavors came together in this dish really showed off the skill of the kitchen. They're not pushing the envelope, but they're executing extremely well.
  • Post #19 - March 6th, 2014, 9:27 am
    Post #19 - March 6th, 2014, 9:27 am Post #19 - March 6th, 2014, 9:27 am
    I've had a couple of lunches at Birchwood Kitchen over he past couple of weeks. Like Turkob, I'm surprised that this place doesn't get more attention here on LTHFroum. If it were in my neighborhood, I'd be there much more often. Birchwood feels like a local coffee shop hangout, but it's so much more. The food and the staff are both outstanding. I felt right at home after my first visit.

    On my most recent visit, I had some tomato basil soup and a pot roast sandwich.

    Birchwood Kitchen Tomato Basil Soup
    Image

    This soup was obviously home made and very good, though I must say it was a little bland compared to what I make at home or the tomato soup at GNR Brown Sack. Still, it was head and shoulders above most restaurant tomato soups.

    Birchwood Kitchen Pot Roast Sandwich
    Image

    For my money, this is the reason to make the trek to Birchwood Kitchen. This sandwich, which is served on what appears to be Red Hen bread, features tender, nicely flavored pot roast, tellagio cheese and caramelized onions. I've had this sandwich twice now, and it's a real winner.

    Brunch and the pot roast sandwich are not the only bright spots on the menu, either. The daily specials have looked interesting on both of my visits and a grilled ham and gruyere was excellent, though I failed to get a picture.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #20 - October 5th, 2015, 7:31 pm
    Post #20 - October 5th, 2015, 7:31 pm Post #20 - October 5th, 2015, 7:31 pm
    Birchwood Kitchen is transitioning management and possibly closing, sad to say.

    https://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/2015100 ... ship-works
  • Post #21 - October 7th, 2015, 1:13 pm
    Post #21 - October 7th, 2015, 1:13 pm Post #21 - October 7th, 2015, 1:13 pm
    Was just there for lunch and can see we weren't the only ones thinking of getting in one last pot roast sandwich. There was about a 20 min wait for a table, and then, pout, pout... pot roast was 86'd. Ordering plan b was alright but didn't scratch the itch, so- ordered a pot roast sandwich for dinner take out tomorrow. Hoping that comes off seamlessly as promised.
    "In pursuit of joys untasted"
    from Giuseppe Verdi's La Traviata

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