Let me start by saying that I love Branca. As far as I’m concerned, there is no better place in town to have a warm, hearty meal in the dead of winter. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t dine at Branca during other times of the year… There’s just something about their delicious belly-filling pasta and heavy red wines that screams mid-winter-comfort-meal. Remarkably, with that being said, Branca is also a restaurant that works during warmer months when both my palette, and their menu, change to lighter fare. When I think of what it is that I love most about Branca, the barn wood covered walls, dim lighting, red wine, and fresh tagliatelle all immediately come to mind. Because this is a restaurant owned and run by Josh and Jenna Miles, it has all of the components that have made their burgeoning restaurant empire so successful – incredible cocktails, food that keeps you coming back for more, and staff that treats you like family. Seriously, what more could you want in a restaurant?
COCKTAILS – Interestingly enough, despite being more of a wine guy, I’m always most impressed by the cocktails that are served at Branca. They are always innovative and delicious. Branca is actually one of the few restaurants in town where I’ll go and enjoy a cocktail before a meal begins. I always opt for a Milan Mule, served in a chilled copper mug, and garnished with a fresh rosemary sprig.
FOOD – At Branca, I like to start the evening by ordering a pizza. With that being said, I’m not sure if I’ve ever actually ordered a particular pizza… I almost always leave it to our wait staff to choose their favorite for us – and let me just say, we’ve never been disappointed. The only problem that I’ve experience while dining at Branca is trying to decide which pasta I’m going to enjoy that evening. Linguine with clams? The Bolognese? Mushroom pasta?
STAFF – By now, it’s probably no surprise to you that in order for a restaurant to make the top of my list, they must have a good group of people. And by good, I don’t just mean polite and courteous. The staff at Branca are knowledgeable, friendly, and know, very specifically, how to take care of their returning customers. They take pride in the attention, kindness, and recognition that they afford to each and every customer who walks through the doors.
WINE – You didn’t actually think that I could write a restaurant review without mentioning their wine list, did you? As expected from a Josh and Jenna Miles-run restaurant, the wine list at Branca is among the best in town. Prior to their opening, I had a very rudimentary understanding of Italian wines. Although I’m far from an expert, I will say that my understanding of a good Italian red has grown exponentially. In particular, there’s a Brunello that the waitstaff introduced me to a couple of years ago - one that I can taste, even as I sit here writing. But, on the rare occasion when they might be out of it, either Josh or the rest of the team is always there to make another great suggestion.