Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Restaurant Review: Birk's

Birk's - lunch on October 9, 2013, dinner on October 21, 2013
Birk's is a bit oddly located in that it's literally on the ground floor of an office building in an office park.  According to its website, it's been open since 1989 so it definitely has staying power in a restaurant industry known for its high failure rate.  But Birk's seems to have found itself a good niche.  Not surprisingly because of its location, it seems to cater mostly to a business crowd and business travelers to the Silicon Valley.
It's a good place to go for a work lunch and/or team dinner as it has a variety of entrees and the slightly higher price points are still within travel expense guidelines for most companies. You can get steak, chops, seafood, and even a vegetarian dish or two which makes it a logical choice when you're dining with a group and everyone has different tastes.
I took a coworker there who had never been before and we went for lunch.  One of the cheapest items on Birk's lunch menu is their Wood-Grilled Burger with cole slaw and fries for $12 (extra if you want cheese, mushrooms, crab, lobster, avocado, etc). But beyond the value, it's also a really good burger and the portion is pretty sizable.  I opted out of the cole slaw which means they piled on the fries because there was room on the plate.  It was food-coma inducing but really good.  Sadly though, it meant neither of us had room for dessert.
By coincidence however, shortly after, one of my work groups went there for a team dinner so I got to dine at Birk's for a second time in a month after not having been there in over a year. No complaints here.
Carpaccio Filet Mignon
Fried Calamari
I'll let the pictures speak for themselves but we enjoyed a few appetizers that were all nicely plated and rather tasty.  I don't eat calamari so I skipped that but enjoyed the shrimp a lot.  That cute little bundle wrapped in white netting below and tied with a green ribbon is half a lemon, packaged up so you could squeeze the juice over the shrimp without seeds falling or worrying the lemon will squirt someone in the eye.  Clever.
Olive Oil Poached Shrimp
For dinner, I choose the Angus steak with truffle fries.  In case you were wondering, they had me at "fries". The steak was good although not as tender as others I've had. But still tasty.
New York Angus Steak with Truffle Fries
And of course there was dessert.  We ordered 2 dessert samplers for the table to share. The dessert sampler included White Chocolate Cheesecake, Chocolate Espresso Fudge Cake, Vanilla Creme Brulee and sorbet of the day.  I tried a bite of the fudge cake and a small spoonful of the creme brulee but had no interest in (or room for) the cheesecake or sorbet.
Dessert Sampler
But does it come as any surprise that I also ordered my own dessert of Pumpkin Bread Pudding?  It was a seasonal special and I offered it to the others to share (really!) although I probably made the most headway into it.  It was delicious. I like pumpkin but I don't necessarily love it and I'm okay with eating it mostly in the fall when it seems to be the season for it. But I love bread pudding and this was no exception.  They had some fancy chocolate decoration on top of it and I tried a bit but it didn't hold my interest against the pumpkin bread pudding.  It was perfectly made and although I probably could've done without the chocolate sauce on it, it was still good.  I couldn't finish it (too full by then) but I did my best and came close.
Pumpkin Bread Pudding

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