Thursday, December 31, 2009

Birchwood Kitchen

In Buenos Aires, people often talk about something called onda (vibe(s)). Mala onda means bad vibes and buena onda means good vibes. Birchwood Kitchen is a perfect example of a place that has buena onda. Right when I walked in, I felt it. The neighborhood, the space, the employees - all of it = buena onda.

The food at Birchwood Kitchen ain't bad, but it ain't great either. Mining the menu for delicious eats shouldn't prove too difficult, yet it's probably not going to be an effortless task either. I ordered a mushroom sandwich and a side of chipotle chickpeas and went one for two. Batting .500? Not spread-the-word worthy.

The mushroom sandwich with its creamy mozzarella, red bell pepper puree, basil and sourdough reminded me of a tasty margherita pizza. The shrooms saved it from blandness and the toasty bread gave it a crispy, crunchy texture.

The chipotle chickpea salad cleared my sinuses. There were too many red onions and the powerful chunks would've benefited from finer chopping. The cilantro, on the other hand, was subtle and nice and complimented the chipotle element quite well without overpowering its smokiness. In the end, the abundance of mayo killed the dish for me and reminded me of a potato salad made with chickpeas.

Birchwood Kitchen is a fine option for people in the immediate vicinity, but, for those who have the ability to travel a bit further, I just cannot give it an enthusiastic recommendation. And unfortunately, due to the format of this blog, I have to give it a forth rating.

Birchwood Kitchen - Wicker Park- (773)276-2100 - 2211 W. North Ave, Chicago, IL 60647 - Public transportation: bus 72 or the Damen stop of the Blue Line.

mushroom sandwich - $7.25
chipotle chickpea side - $2.50

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