Ample-yet-stylish outdoor seating and bocce ball courts that are friendly to both dogs and children may be ubiquitous in far flung cities like Paris and Parma, but not so much here. As chefs and restaurateurs attempt to better balance work and family life, that appears to be changing. The restaurants that ring Summit Park are an early indication, as is The Birch.
Opened this spring in Terrace Park, it’s a true neighborhood café. On any given evening, guests nibble at spicy hummus served with French breakfast radishes and pita bread while sipping slightly spumante glasses of Spanish txakolina. Their Hunky Dory sauvignon blanc is a crowd pleaser, as are their constantly rotating taps and well-curated beer selection featuring hometown hero MadTree alongside cult craft brews from Hitachino and Jackie O’s.
And while the dinner menu reads strictly casual at first glance—soups, salads, and sandwiches—the preparation and quality is anything but. An endive salad with candied walnuts, Swiss cheese, crispy bacon lardons, and an apple vinaigrette surpassed many versions of the French bistro classic. And both the Brussels sprouts and Sicilian cauliflower sides refused to play merely supporting roles. Both were sensational studies in the balance of sweet, spicy, and acidic flavors. For a casual, high quality supper, go east, young man!
The Birch, 702 Indian Hill Rd., Terrace Park, (513) 831-5678, thebirchtp.com