SAN FRANCISCO -- Curious about Russian cuisine, but don't know where to start? Birch & Rye in San Francisco's Noe Valley neighborhood serves modern Russian dishes California style.
"Sometimes you go to a restaurant, maybe you go to a Michelin star restaurant...the food kind of tastes the same," expressed Stephen Simmons, the Chef de Cuisine of Birch & Rye. "Here we pretty much try to touch all the senses, so a little bit of sweetness, a little bit of sour."
The unique sensory experience manifests in carefully curated tasting menus, including a 5-course Chef's menu and a unique 5-course vegan menu. Plus, the restaurant offers the best, responsibly sourced, malossol style caviar.
Birch & Rye is also a 2023 James Beard Awards Semifinalist for Best New Restaurant.
"To have that support from James Beard and understanding of what we're doing and how important it is in this dialogue, instead of erasing anything Russian they said, 'no, let's really look at what this restaurant is doing,'" said Anya El-Wattar, the Chef/Owner of Birch & Rye.
"It was so important for me to create a culture that is the most whole I could imagine, a culture of safety, a culture of kindness," El-Wattar added. "This is as much imagination as I can bring into this, and I'm going to make this a prototype of what's possible to give hope and also pave the way for the Russian food culture to survive."
The restaurant's intention is to share food and stories rooted in peace that transcend borders. The restaurant continues to support the people of Ukraine. In 2022, the restaurant raised $108,000 for World Central Kitchen and their aid in and around Ukraine.