Mamaroneck Avenue is not wanting for Happy Hour spots and late-night hangouts; unfortunately, there is a sameness to many of the restaurant-bar hybrids. However, with the opening of 110-seat The Birch Collective, a gastropub serving American comfort standards with a Quebecois slant, plus imaginative one-liter craft cocktails, there’s an extra buzz on the strip among both foodies and boozehounds.
“People told me to open in Brooklyn, but it’s already a cool gastropub hotspot,” says Pierluc Dupont, co-owner, along with fellow Montreal native Matthew Gagnon Guastaferri. “Why not bring some cool to a new spot?” They liked White Plains because of its young crowd of professionals and the boom of new condos and apartments.
Dupont, who previously owned four Montreal restaurants, brought chefs Rodney Aguilar and Anthony Guilletti from Montreal to develop the menu that includes smoked meats, barbecue chicken, poutine (french fries, cheese curds, and brown gravy), and lots of dishes with bacon and/or potatoes. The burger with house-made bacon jam, confit tomato, and onion is exceptional; for dessert the maple syrup sugar pie in an oatmeal cookie crust will leave one swooning. The top-priced item on the menu is $20.
And about those creative cocktails? Mixologist Samuel Trudeau (no relation to the Canadian PM) puts a spirited thoughtfulness into the $14 one-liter Mason-jar monstrosities that change with the seasons as indicated by the neon lit blackboard that stretches across an entire wall. The autumnal Tipsy Birch O’ Lantern for example, made with Grey Goose L’orange, ancho reyes chile, Jaegermeister, ginger beer, and house-made pumpkin-chai syrup, is served in a mini-pumpkin.
Garden-fresh herbs and in-house purées go into many of the Mason-jar cocktails.garden-fresh herbs and in-house purées go into many of the Mason-jar cocktails.
The decor hints at French chalet via stacks of birch wood plus an old-fashioned wooden sled, snowshoes, and taxidermied animals hanging about.
Does Dupont find Americans have any preconceptions about Canadians? “They think poutine is the Russian president. Especially with my accent.”
The Birch Collective
91 Mamaroneck Ave
White Plains; 914.437.9065