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Mindy Trujillo

ALL/ EAT (out)

New Places to Eat in Cincinnati Part 6: Branch

If I were sending you to just one new restaurant, this would be it.  Located in the old Central Trust Bank in Walnut Hills, right on the corner of Madison and Woodburn, this incredible space that sat empty for years is once again alive and open to the community.

Paying homage to its original purpose, Branch is a really unique space with lots of old bank details, including the restaurant name, a menu organized by Shares (think appetizers) and Stocks (main dishes), and dessert cocktails like the Frozen Account.  That attention to detail also includes lots of fun nods to the prohibition era with a Temperance Map above the bar, water served in an old gin bottle, and the Night Drop, an “underground” bar.

And if that isn’t enough, the staff is welcoming and the food is bright, complex, rich, and cozy.  Open my account because I plan on being a loyal customer at Branch!

Let me give the rundown on what I’ve tried so far:

From the Brunch Menu

Beignets: Holy smokes!  These are not the average every day beignets (well, if I were to ever actually make beignets); no, these are pistachio praline beignets served with pistachio praline to add a little something extra extra! Delish!

Challah French Toast:  In an attempt to not look like we were ordering the entire brunch menu, we got a half order of french toast. I loved the warm butter and maple syrup.  As with everything we ordered, every plate is beautiful and intentional, including this one.

Shrimp and Grits: I will be straight up honest.  This was my husband’s pick and the last thing I wanted him to order.  I tried to nudge him in a different direction, but man I’m glad it didn’t work.  I literally kept reaching for his bowl because I could not get enough.  This dish is super creamy and cozy and rich . . . from the homemade chicken stock to the cream, butter, and mushrooms, it’s perfection.

Steak, Egg, and Potatoes: Think juicy flank steak cooked a perfect medium and topped with an over easy egg and chimichurri sauce.  Unbelievable.  And, I don’t even care about potatoes, but these smashed, roasted, and then deep fried red skin potatoes are out of this world.

If you’ve read my blog, you know I have a love affair with coffee, especially when it comes from a local roaster.  So the cherry on top of this amazing meal was the perfectly brewed cup of Urbana coffee!  Keeping it local!  It’s all in the details at Branch. And speaking of details, owls happen to have a special place in my heart because my grandmother loved owls, be sure to look for them around the restaurant.

Don’t forget this is a two-in-one spot: Branch restaurant up top and the Night Drop bar below.  Two completely different spaces, two different feels, two different purposes- both worth a visit (or two or three)!

P.S.- I’m looking forward to trying the dinner menu next. Thank you, Branch for having us!

GO THERE (Branch)!  TRY THAT (Beignets, Shrimp & Grits)!

 

 

 

ALL/ EAT (out)

New Places to Eat in Cincinnati Part 5: Karrikin Spirit Company

A relatively new craft distillery and restaurant opened in Fairfax and I’m so thankful it’s only a fifteen-minute drive from my house because this place is pretty special.  The craft brew scene in Cincinnati has been exploding for a while now, but a spirits distillery brings something new.  It’s a distillery, yes, but it’s also an incredible restaurant.  Airy, open, warm, cozy, and full of character, Karrikin Spirit Company has plenty of seating spread over two large rooms.  You can either have drinks with a large group or have an intimate dinner with a sweet someone.

Karrikin has a rotating drink menu featuring spirits, hard sodas, and craft cocktails.  And if you’re not a drinker, check out the soft sodas.  I ordered a flight of the homemade soft sodas because I needed to try them all and the flight made me feel more sophisticated.  While I enjoyed each,  I think the grapefruit was my favorite.  I also appreciate the whimsy mocktails like the Blood Orange Shrub.  So many drinks, so little time.  My husband was especially fond of the housemade gin and brandy!  The drinks list is pretty extensive.

But Karrikin is far more than drinks; the food is incredible.  The menu, which is all about sharing, includes warm, rich, traditional dishes with a few fun twists.   We chose to sit at the Chef’s Table which essentially is an elevated bar overlooking the chefs preparing food.  I would absolutely recommend it.

Rather than describing each dish, I’m going to let the pictures speak for themselves.

Shaved Apple Slaw

Vinegared Fries

Baked Urban Stead Cheese Curds with Sixteen Bricks Sourdough Bread

Grilled Chuck Roast

We enjoyed every single bite of every single dish that we shared!  But, if you want super standouts, don’t miss the Vinegared Fries and the Baked Urban Stead Cheese Curds. The fries are crispy and then, salty with the perfect hint of vinegar.  And those “cheese curds” are the stuff foodies dream about.  We were scraping the pan trying to get all the cheese out.  So much goodness!  I haven’t been for brunch yet, but it’s on my to-do list.  I have several friends who have gone for brunch and they each sing its praises.  I look forward to working my through the menu!

GO THERE (Karrikin Spirits)! TRY THAT (Urban Stead Cheese Curds, Vinegard fries, spirits)!