This month, Patric Kuh gives his take on Birch, Brendan Collins' follow up to gastropub Waterloo & City. The LA Mag critic mentions the authoritative preparation of the British staple fish and chips, but, similar to the late Culver City restaurant, this new intimate Hollywood space shows dexterity with international flavors:
Collins showed range then, and there's more of it at Birch, despite a menu that fits on one page. He skips from India to Japan, with layovers in France, Greece, and the United Kingdom, always ready to blend several genres into a balanced whole. As an approach it risks being showy and confusing, but not in this kitchen; there's invariably vision and precise technique behind even the most conceptual creation. [LAM]
Kuh lauds the za'atar flatbread, monkfish tikka masala, and corn with truffles, and, unlike Besha Rodell, finds pleasure in the dessert:
If there's a point on the menu where the geography narrows and becomes specific, it's in the desserts, which inspire outright nostalgia for Collins. Does rhubarb go with custard? Like bangers go with mash. Collins modifies the eggy mixture from the English norm, serving it cold instead of hot and formed into a sphere, the stewed fruit's bright acidity folded around it like bunting. He tosses sliced strawberries over clouds of whipped cream, adding to the lushness with shards of meringue. Toffee pudding with burned-sugar ice cream (it sounds like a line from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory) is presented in a red Le Creuset skillet; the foursome I saw pouncing on the thing one night, spoons in hand, was happy in the way folks facing a platter of Beard Papa's cream puffs can be. [LAM]
Birch scores three stars.