Food, almost a science, definitely art, from birth to table. I love food and find it impossible to forget my experience at birch.
Birch, located at 200 Washington Street in Providence, is operated by a husband and wife team of Heidi and Ben Sukle. According to their website, the name birch comes from childhood nostalgia as Pennsylvania Dutch birch beer was something Ben cherished growing up. In the same way a birch tree starts from its roots, Ben takes a “from the roots up” approach to all aspects of dining. Ben himself has been nominated for a James Beard Award in the Best Chef: Northeast category. Birch was also listed on Bon Appetit's ranking of Top 50 Best New Restaurant in the Country.
Anyway, on to the dining experience...
It was my wife's thirty-ninth birthday, and I figured the mortgage payment could wait. I joke because this is an expensive place. You should save your pennies!
At Birch, you will be given superb knowledge of food and beverage pairing. A two hour vacation away from everything in your life. Phones on silent please! A spa designed strictly for your palate's pleasure. It's good here, really effin' good!
The barkeeps are extremely well-informed. I was told how each of my drinks (wines and such) would taste -- and it was so. No power of suggestion here, but a real class act. The chef on the line persnolly brings out each dish and explains each one as if it was a delicately crafted mural, as no server ever could. These guys just prepared it. This makes perfect sense to me. To see the person behind it and get the understanding as he explains it. This makes it so personal, special, giving you a sense of pride as you slowly indulge. This is a meal not to be rushed and you will understand this.
When you step through the door, they greet you with a smile and bold hello. You are immediately involved. It's a very small place, everyone is happy and cool. Once seated, it feels like a cocoon and everything you need is right there. It is a warming feeling. They explain that you are to choose four courses, this is a $49 per person meal, add $35 for Beverage pairings. It is an experience to be had. What is piece of mind worth? Before we started they brought us champagne so we could toast. That was not expected. My guard was gone, I was able to shake life and be in the moment. Which is the most important part of any experience.
My first course; I had the Raw Rhode Island Lobster, Miso Marinated Daikon, Broccoli Stem, and Butter Milk paired with a sake. The best sake I have ever had... a hint of banana in the profile. Everything was done well but the sake was the star of that course.
My second course; I had Slow Roasted Carrots with Barbecued Chicken Hearts and Livers, Hazel Nuts & Nasturtium paired with a wonderful Sparkling Rose from Lore Valley France. The Carrots carried the flavor of some exotic meat I have never experienced before. I slowly chewed and savored every bite. It was a great dish.
My third course; I had The Rhode Island Monk Fish roasted on the Bone with Celeriac, Crusted Potato paired with a Sparkling Seyval Blanc from Warren Maine. It was epic.
My fourth course; I celebrated with Cato Corner's Black Ledge Blue Cheese with Walnut, Dried Corn and Sorrel paired with a beautiful desert wine from Maine as well. Cheese is one of life's greatest achievements and they got the gold medal with this dish. But in fact it was a very simple dish, I did enjoy it completely.
They top it off with Whoopie Pies when they bring your check. WHOOPIE!
I was not sad when it was time pay. One hell of a memory made, Wow!
200 Washington Street, Providence, Rhode Island 02903