My super cool big sister, Eat Play Cbus, got invited to the Media Night for the rebrand of Branch (formerly Biscuit & Branch) and I got to be her plus one. All of the food was paid for but all thoughts and opinions are purely my own.
If you have frequented this spot before, you might not have been super impressed but I promise that you will be this time around. They hired a new Chef, Philip Shyatt, to update and upgrade their Southern-inspired menu and it definitely doesn’t disappoint. It makes sense that the new menu would be stellar because he’s a James Beard nominated Chef from his time in Nashville. He has also headed up restaurants like Georges Brasserie and Burger Up. The major changes to Branch is their updated menu and addition of a full raw bar. What used to just be a few elevated tables is now fresh to order oysters, octopus, shrimp and even the trendy tuna poke. You could tell the staff at Branch is super excited about this new menu. When we asked what their favorite dish was, they each named multiple items because they couldn’t pick just one! The awesome thing about this restaurant is that it has food for any time of the day. If you are around on a Saturday or Sunday morning, stop by for some brunch. If you just want to grab a quick bite and drink at happy hour, you’re set. But, if you want to truly enjoy the whole meal, make a reservation and plan to stay for a few hours.
We only tried a sampling of items from their menu but each one was spectacular and I can’t wait to go back for more. We started with some truffle frites served alongside a honey dijon dipping sauce. Sometimes I don’t know if truffle things are cool anymore but I don’t care because I think they are tasty. These ones aren’t super overpowering like some truffle items. Plus, I wanted to eat this sauce on everything. Okay, so this is a terrible picture but this She Crab Soup was AMAZING. My sister and I split it but we probably both could have eaten three bowls each. It’s creamy, fatty, and has yummy little chunks of crab in it. Sometimes, crab soup can be boring and bland because they just puree some crab and butter together. This one is the total opposite, seriously so full of flavor. I’ll go back just for this. Their menu definitely features a lot of seafood but don’t worry because there is plenty for non-fish lovers. My suggestion is to get the coffee rubbed Wagyu Hanger Steak because it’s unreal. It literally melts in your mouth. Plus, the coffee they used is Mission Coffee and they are just the best people. It comes on top of a generous heaping of brussels sprouts that are perfectly cooked, crispy but not charred. My only “complaint” is that I didn’t really know what to do with the crispy frites because they were too small to just eat like a fry and it didn’t seem right to eat on the steak.
Well, I actually want to live inside of this shrimp and grits. Holy deliciousness. The soupy goodness that the grits are in is full of amazing, kind of smoky/spicy and fantastic. I couldn’t stop eating it and I probably would have licked the bowl if that was socially acceptable. The shrimp is plump, fresh, and has that perfect little snap you want. Seriously, coming back just for the soup and this dish.
My favorite part of the meal, dessert! I’m not totally positive if Chef Philip also updated the dessert menu but whoever did gets kudos from me. I ordered the creme brulee which has a beautiful crust on top that passed the back of the spoon test. Crispy and hard when you tap it but once you crack into it, you find the most amazing, smooth, and creamy custard. Megan got the chocolate souffle and it was basically a chocolate lava cake of gooey goodness and I want to eat it again. It came with a little side of what I think might have been sweetened condensed milk but we didn’t use it because the cake was amazing on its’ own. Moral of the story is that you all need to get to the rebranded Branch in the Short North, immediately. You can thank me later.