out at branch

Branch shot to the top of my list when I saw it included on this list.

Located on the corner of Madison and Woodburn in the East Walnut Hills neighborhood in what was once a Central Trust bank, Branch honors the deco and cool old bank space, while also putting together a cool Mediterranean and Asian-inspired Americana menu.

Kenny and I had an opportunity to check it out for dinner just last weekend and if there is anything that I can’t wait to brag about, it’s the appetizers…

At this point, you know us and our dining habits, which are to order lots to share, so we went for it by requesting four different starters. There were two quickly agreed upon must orders – the wings and fries.

The wings were chili smoked wings served with chimichurri sauce. They were super flavorful and not too difficult to eat off the bone. I usually stay away from wings because I am trying to be a lady and don’t want to be embarrassed by errant sauce on my face, however I threw caution to the wind for these guys because they were that good.

It is not always the case that fries are fries are fries, and these fries do their part by setting themselves apart. Served with a sage brown butter aioli (goodnight), as well as house-made ketchup (hello), these little delicious and worth it indulgences were the first to be polished off.

We also ordered one of the specials of the night, which was a shishito pepper snack. Kenny adds peppers to everything and I usually don’t care for ’em, but like the wings, I behaved like an entirely different person, popping these puppies left and right. None that I munched on had seeds for me to worry about, so I was able to enjoy them without an overwhelming amount of heat. Kenny did get a hot one, but he still went back for more if that tells you anything.

We finished off the big starter spread with an order of the curry roasted cauliflower, served with golden raisins and a quinoa gremolata. We pretty much always order either a broccoli or cauliflower appetizer if and when it is offered, and I will admit that this bowl and order was further proof of why. Roasted, spiced, flavor-packed veggies are just so yummy and these were no exception.

Now as far as entrees go, Kenny and I stayed our normal course. I was between two fish dishes, ultimately deciding on the salmon. This was skin on salmon, served with a pilaf of basmati rice, rapini and brussels, and a generous (as you can tell) pour of laksa. A bite of everything together was totally delicious, and I was particularly struck by the Asian notes throughout. Very surprising and satisfying.

Kenny very characteristically ordered the black garlic ribs, which were served over fennel-apple slaw. The crisp and char were definitely spot on, and I know the crunch of the slaw helped keep the dish feeling more light, especially in light of all that we started with.

Overall, Branch was cool to check out. It was absolutely packed, even on a night where it was rainy and miserable outside, so it was fun to see that much excitement and energy for a new place and space. I have heard great things about their brunch menu as well, so if I don’t go back for that, know I will be returning for the wings and fries and everything else on the left side of the menu that I didn’t get a chance to order in one sitting.

Thanks so much for having us Branch – we had a blast and appreciate the opportunity to try it all out!

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