I’ve passed Birch a countless number of times, but I had only judged it to be a bar, a place not suitable for a sophomore like myself. I saw a sign displaying different types of milkshakes on it. My first thought: diabetes. My second: Let’s do it. I did some research and found out that (1) Birch is actually fairly new (having opened up in March of this year) and (2) it’s very similar to the popular restaurant chain ‘Black Tap’, in New York City. Black Tap, started in 2015, is based in the city with five locations, and is the most comparable eatery to Birch. Many of the shakes found on their menu are similar in name. I had never been to place like this before, nor had I ever tried to conquer a milkshake of that size.
Upon arriving at the door, I was welcomed and seated by a host. Looking around, the building was not too big, and was dimly lit, adorned with string lights encompassing the interior. The ceiling was also decorated with a nest of birch branches. I went on a Wednesday night, so there were only a few people around. Overall, it gave off a nice vibe.
The menu was quite scary, in the eyes of a frugal college student. Burgers cost between 12-16 dollars, with the option of either ‘Prime’ or ‘Kobe’ beef, Kobe an extra two dollars. The fries from plain to “loaded” with sour cream and bacon cost between 5-8 dollars. And for a milkshake (why I went to begin with!) it cost between 13 – 15 dollars, 4 dollars extra to spike it! But from what I read online, it’s barely enough to be tasted and probably not worth it. I could hear my wallet crying from inside my bag, but I reminded myself that I would be splitting the food, and cost with friends.
After much consideration, I decided to go with the original Birch Burger, which to my surprise came with a side of fries, and the ‘It’s Mint to Be’ shake. Both of them came out together, within thirty minutes, and visually, I was honestly impressed. The burger and fries sat on top of a flat wooden platter topped with a newspaper sheet. The fries were in this indescribable metal thing, wrapped in the same newspaper, giving the dish a very hipster aesthetic. The burger bun also had the Birch logo stamped on top, giving it a pleasant final touch. Although the burger wasn’t huge, it’s taste made up for it. The kobe patty was cooked well, with a crispy brown skin and medium rare inside. The lettuce and tomato were a refreshing contrast to the beef. The fries were not super hot when they came out, but they were crispy and seasoned deliciously. The strangest part of the trip was definitely the pickle on the side… I never really liked pickles. But for some reason, after a bite of the burger, I felt like it’d go well with something. I took a bit of it, and before I knew it, I had eaten the whole thing.
What I was most afraid of was how the milkshake would compare, visually, to the picture on the menu. I saw some pretty poorly made shakes on Yelp, but after seeing the shake I felt that it was really, mint to be! The presentation was very spot on to the image on the menu; made with fresh organic milk and mint chocolate chip ice cream, the glass was rimmed with crushed oreos and Andes chocolates, and was topped with chocolate swirled cheesecake, pirouettes, and mint leaves. Despite so many ingredients, I surprisingly wasn’t overwhelmed by sugar and chocolate!
In conclusion, I’m glad I stepped into Birch. My wallet took a hit, yes. The meal, burger and milkshake, cost me a whopping $16 (even when split with a friend, tip included). But after, I was quite full. Would I recommend Birch to a friend, over the original Black Tap? Even though I haven’t been to Black Tap before, and its menu has more burger and shake options than Birch, Birch’s price range is slightly cheaper. And Birch, although newer and not as established, is definitely more convenient for Stevens students, location and price wise. As they implement new things such a lunch/brunch menu, and 50% happy hour from 4pm-7pm Monday through Friday, they are sure to get more attention and business. The only thing I regret: not going to see the second floor. Something for next time.
Pro Tip: Share the shake with a friend. No human should drink that whole thing by themselves.
Least expensive item: Plain fries – $5 Most expensive item: Filet Mignon Sliders (with fries) – $19
Location: 92 RIVER STREET, HOBOKEN NJ 07030
Service: ~30 minutes, despite it being a nearly empty restaurant. The host stopped by the table a few times to ask how the food was as well as to refill water.
Price rating: 3/5
Convenience rating: 4/5
Service Rating: 3.5/5
Taste Rating: 4.5/5