By any chance are you a sports fan, as well as a Korean food aficionado? Because Birchwood Forest aims to please people just like you! The recently opened restaurant, located at 1038 Flushing Avenue on East Williamsburg and Bushwick border, is attempting to cater to the neighborhood by serving a mixture of Korean food and classic American staples.
Upon entering Birchwood Forest, you’ll notice shrubbery scattered throughout the restaurant and tree branches dangling from the ceiling. Sports memorabilia, decorative wood and beer paraphernalia also line the walls. Birchwood Forest is certainly aiming to bring a touch of nature to a sports bar scene, which is an interesting choice. The overall ambience and decor, however left us feeling quite confused.
With 16 beers on draft, classic sports bar food and big screen televisions, Birchwood Forest offers Bushwick a new establishment to catch a game. The draft beer selection is excellent and includes many options from local New York craft breweries and the prices are not bad–pints are $5.
Korean drink options like makkoli and soju are also available. If you’re looking for a deal, order the “Bomb Shot” for $6, which includes any draft beer and a shot of Korean soju. The drink menu is eclectic and there is definitely an option for just about any palate.
From Korean dumplings to mozzarella sticks, the appetizer menu offers an odd mixture of classic American bar food and Asian snacks, which are all priced at $5.99. Other appetizer options include onion rings, French fries, shumai, chicken tenders, spring rolls and edamame. The appetizer menu left us puzzled — are we at a Korean restaurant or a sports bar?
If you’re dining with someone who is new to Korean food, the Korean fried chicken is a good place to start. Birchwood Forest offers chicken wings ($14.99), fried whole chicken ($17.99), half chicken ($9.99) and popcorn chicken ($9.99). Each chicken dish is fried and served with “Birchwood sauce” that is available mild, spicy or extra spicy. But skip the chicken — there are definitely better Korean fried chicken joints in the city, and better dishes on Birchwood Forests’ menu.
The entrees include staples found at most Korean restaurants like bibimbap and bulgogi. The highlight of Birchwood Forest’s menu is the bulgogi ($13.99), which is served in a hot stone bowl. Tender beef and vegetables are marinated in a delicious garlic and ginger sauce with a side of rice.
Another entree, which could also be an excellent appetizer option, is the the seafood pancake ($12.99). A flavorful medley of seafood and green onions is battered and fried into a savory pancake. The pancake’s crispy, golden brown edges are perfect when dunked into the tangy, soy dipping sauce.
Although the atmosphere and menu might seem a bit confusing, Birchwood Forest is attempting to blend traditional sports bar fare with Korean staples. Stick to the Korean staples and skip the American fare, unless you’re really craving a beer with a side of mozzarella sticks. Let’s hope that Birchwood Forest finds their place in the neighborhood and they pick one identity, whether it’s a sports bar or Korean restaurant.
Birchwood Forest is located at 1038 Flushing Avenue. Hours: 11:00am-12:00pm daily. Phone: (718) 666-6786