birch restaurant milwaukee

Restaurant of the Week: Birch

Sights, smells, sounds and delicious tastes abound at Birch Milwaukee, which has called the River West neighborhood home since 2021.

Guests feel immediately welcomed into this contemporary corner space. If the smoky smells filling the air are any indication, you are certainly in for a special culinary experience. Diners can grab a table reminiscent of butcher blocks in the cozy, dimly lit dining room or a high-top seat overlooking the open-concept kitchen to watch the culinary action around the wood-fired hearth. We love the placement of plants to separate the seating areas making for a more personal dining experience.

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Birch Milwaukee features a handful of cocktails like the Old Fashioned and Martini #3 made with Ketel One, holy basil and jalapeno – but the real gem is the back-wall wine cellar that welcomes you into the restaurant’s personal collection. We love the ability to peruse the variety of regions and wines, many featured from small vintners. Choose from two full pages of reds, whites, sparkling wines and orange wines – yes, ask about the orange wine!

The menu at Birch Milwaukee is not lengthy, but there is no need as they have perfected its unique dishes. Most ingredients at Birch are locally sourced, whether from nearby markets, Rushing Waters Fisheries or Stone Bank Farm Market. First-bite highlights include the charred beef tartare as well as the lightly smoked steelhead crudo with crunchy vegetables and a wonderfully peppery nasturtium broth. Pastas and grains include everything from tagliatelle with smoked walleye; Italian-spiced pork sausage fazzoletti; and roasted flatbread with a cranberry-bean dip and Wisconsin feta cheese. Our favorite? The creamy and dreamy ricotta-filled pasta with roasted parsnips, black trumpet mushrooms and cheese.

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The wood-fired section of the menu focuses on a core four to five dishes, like the Mexican-inspired Contramar fish; succulent brick chicken; slow-roasted farm lamb with maitake mushrooms; and the comforting ember-roasted walleye – a dish executive chef and owner Kyle Knall calls a “twist on Wisconsin.”

Not sure what to pick from the menu? Chef Knall has you covered with a five-course Chef’s Tasting menu, available with or without wine pairings. Chef Knall boasts an impressive resume of experience in New Orleans and New York’s Gramercy Tavern and also serves as the culinary director at Stone Bank Farm Market in Oconomowoc. He’s a 2022 James Beard Award semi-finalist for Outstanding Chef and one can taste why at Birch. Chef Knall’s dishes combine distinctively individual flavors that hit the palate just right but marry perfectly together to create a comprehensive and unforgettable meal.

Make sure to explore the signature desserts at Birch Milwaukee; try the savory vanilla cheesecake with rhubarb sauce and lemon sorbet.

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Great music, impeccable service and an unforgettable culinary experience is on the menu at Birch located on Pleasant Street in Milwaukee, one that will leave you satiated and dreaming of your next visit.

Birch Milwaukee is open Tuesday through Thursday, 5 to 9 p.m.; and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 10 p.m. Happy hour runs Tuesday through Friday, 4 to 6 p.m. Reservations are recommended. Birch also offers a catering menu. For more information on Birch, visit

459 E. Pleasant St.
Milwaukee, WI 53202

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