Lunch at Branchline, Watertown, MA (4/9/16)

Finally made it to Branchline this past Saturday. We sheepishly walked in at 2:30 pm (Sat lunch ends at 3 pm) but no one batted an eye, even with our spring onion in tow. We got nothing but great service all around, from our server, the manager, and the bartenders (who was making googly-eyes with spring onion). Loved the space and can’t wait to eat outdoors and even partake in some bocce in the warmer weather. Roasted broccolini had a wonderful char, B raved about the chicken (half of which he took home and equally loved at home) and my cuke and radish sandwich was the most refreshing sandwich I’ve ever had (also, half taken home). I am blanking on the beer B had (I know one of them was the Tropic Punch, which we both surprisingly liked). My rose was a simple, crisp, and a nice accompaniment. We can’t wait to go back.

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great to hear! we will definitely keep this in mind since we have a spring onion as well! :slight_smile: i’ve only been once (with a girlfriend on a saturday night) but really enjoyed it. good to hear that brunch is tasty as well. what was the scene like? was it crowded?

At 2:30 pm, the room was far from full but there were enough diners so we didn’t feel uncomfortable walking in at that late hour. Bar seating was wide open. Not scene-y at all.

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We were also there on Saturday the 9th, before you got there since we saw no spring onions (I’d have been fawning if kids had been around).
We went for lunch…if we go that far from home, we need to do a weekend lunch, and they just opened for Saturday lunch recently (they are closed Sunday). We got there right at noon when they open and there were already a few parties seated. We were not especially hungry but were in the neighborhood for errands and so took the opportunity since we’d been wanting to try it for a while.

The snap pea salad is a fresh, crunchy, wonderful combination of tastes and the snap peas are cut in a visually appealing way. The Marcona almonds add a lot of flavor. We enjoyed the always good Iggy’s bread. We also ordered a half chicken. I don’t much like chicken and almost never cook it at home or order it out, but I do love a great roast chicken and this one was. We dipped the bread into the drippings and had no trouble cutting the half chicken. Skin was very crisp and meat tender and succulent. This chicken, I like!

The service was superb…very hip looking server who was very well informed and also warm and welcoming. Wine list interesting and the server was also well informed about the wine. Loved the Rosé they offer by the glass…she gave me a taste first and it is not at all sweet but a really welcome burst of flavor. My husband enjoyed his beer…they have lots on tap.

Server was happy to pack up the remaining bones (some with a little meat) and drippings and I’ll be making a small amount of chicken stock with it.

The decor is huge and open but at the same time welcoming and surprisingly quiet for such hard surfaces. Of course it was lunch on Saturday right at opening, and not full, but I’ve been in places that look acoutistically quieter in the same time slot that were uncomfortably loud. Also of note is that despite the always going rotisserie, there is not one bit of grease or meat smell. We commented on this to the server and she said that even when she works a long shift, she never collects smells on her clothes.

I haven’t read all the reviews so I don’t know if anyone has commented on the difficulty of finding the place. The Arsenal complex is huge and although some of the restaurants/shops/establishments have signage facing the street, and also after you turn in to the complex (there seems to be a Casa de Pedro directional sign at every turning point), there is no signage for the restaurant until you get right there, and then it is a very small sign that is difficult to read. There’s a blue enclosed patio and it’s behind Panera. I wonder how many people try to find it and give up…

We will go back when we are in the neighborhood on a Saturday. We love shopping the Armenian markets in Watertown so we will be looking for future opportunities.

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SO MUCH THIS. i drove round and round and it was finally just power of deduction about the enclosed patio. i cannot get over the lack of signage.

only had a quick bite early evening a few weeks ago of grilled squid with chickpeas, lemon and coal oil and i keep dreaming about it. service was great and the wine list really interesting. am not in that area much but looks like strip t’s finally has some stiff competition.

We told the waitress we had a hard time finding it. She said some people called to get directions. I don’t understand why they haven’t at least made the sign at the front of the restaurant bigger, and with more contrast. I would imagine they are losing business because people just give up.

We had been in for lunch several times, but finally made it for dinner Thursday evening. With the plastic sheets that had enclosed the porch seating all winter now gone, the space seems much more inviting. We arrived 6:30-ish and scored a table outside on a lovely evening. I had a hankering for the grilled branzino that only shows up at dinner, and it didn’t disappoint. Normally I’m more than content dealling with the whole fish, but when the water offered to have the kitchen filet it, I thought why not. Very well executed - they delivered two beautiful filets with the skin intact - a winner. The beer selection is pretty interesting and eclectic, but I was surprised to find not a single wheat beer in the tap list this time - on a previous visit there had been three. Somehow sitting outside seems to call for a wheat beer.

There was a gaggle of after-work young hipsters and professionals imbibing on the terrace, away from tables but near the bocce court. Seemed a bit of an odd place to hang out, no place to set your drink down. However on a pleasant evening it beats standing at the bar.

Definitely loving this addition to the neighborhood. Maybe the lack of signage isn’t such a bad thing.

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I had lunch at Branch Line today and really enjoyed the salted avocado starter and the porchetta sandwich (housemade porchetta cut into chunks, arugula, pickled red onion, dill mustard on an Iggy’s square ciabatta roll – served at lunch only). Generous sandwich; I brought half home. They offer still or sparkling water and brought a liter of house-made sparkling (which was delicious) at no charge – wish more restaurants did that although I understand why they don’t. Service was stellar as was the latte I finished with. Agree with all that has been said about poor signage. It is adjacent to and behind Panera. Can’t wait to go back.

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Not singling you out, Gretchen, but responding to other posters as well. It took us a few minutes (literally, 1 to 2 min) to figure out the location…Not unlike many places we’ve been in Europe and Asia, signage is not YUGE or nonexistent. In other words, isn’t that part of the fun? It is for me. Maybe I am suffering from Google/Google Maps fatigue.

I found the marjoram in that dish to be overpowering. The first bite was nice, but the aromatic soon took over. We didn’t finish the dish.

We enjoyed our dinner there, but there were definitely a few things that could be improved. Service was definitely uneven. Dishes were not coursed out but came all at once. While service was definitely friendly our server disappeared for long stretches of time at key moments (i.e. needed another drink, the check, etc). I don;t care about having my beer poured with dramatic flourish, just be Johnny On the Spot when I need service. The butcher’s steak had tasty accompaniments with the roasted garlic and anchovy butter, however the cut we received was tiny (no more than 7oz). This was in contrast to the generous portion of other dishes.

We didn’t have any issue locating the restaurant.

bumping this because i had lunch there this week with a friend. we shared the salted avocado which was ok, his choice, but i eat avocado on the reg so meh; the snap pea salad was AMAZING. snap peas, peas, mint, feta and an almond vinaigrette. best salad either of us have had in a very long time. i had the pork should sandwich with black pepper mayo and ate way more of it than i needed to while my friend had the chickpea pancake.

a light, dry sicilan rosé was a lovely complement. service at the bar was friendly and professional.

this place is doing great stuff.

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I can’t wait to go back…that snap pea salad is amazing, the marcona almonds add so much, and I love that rosé. Really want to try the pork sandwich.

I love that snap pea salad too!! Order to split because it is a very big portion! :slight_smile:

The snap pea salad is indeed very large. Thoroughly enjoyed it and brought half home, as I did with the chicken. Liked the chicken a lot but not as much as the porchetta sandwich I had last time. Still, I do want to work my way through the menu. Sat outside this gorgeous day and enjoyed some excellent people-watching. Service excellent except for an oddity: my slices of Iggy’s bread came stacked on a plate that also had a generous pour of olive oil so the bottom slice was completely drenched. Didn’t matter, I wasn’t going to eat it all anyway, but seemed strange. I really like this place.

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Ah Grechen - I wonder if we were there at the same time? We showed up around 1:30 pm (without cippollini who was home with the grandparents, napping). Most people were eating outside while we chose the very comfy bar. Received great service from the bartender. I tried my first orange wine - liked it, didn’t love it. B loved his beers from Nightshift and Finnback. Also split the pea salad - we were both wowed. B decided on the mussels (good, not great because they weren’t plump enough for his taste, but he kept sopping up the broth with their excellent Francese bread). My chickpea cake was tasty and substantial, but on the dry side, even liberally dipped into the aioli. No matter, a lovely sparkling Chardonnay from Jura took care of that and paired beautifully. As B said, we’d go every week if we could (spring onion unfortunately is not so patient with us in restaurants anymore).

I wondered about that chickpea cake, someone at the table next to me had it. No, I was there quite early, was gone by the time you got there. I did think about sitting at the bar and will some other time.

Had another wonderful dinner at Branchline last evening with my wife and a friend. We had the salted avocado (again), the amazing sugar snap pea salad (always), my wife wanted the lamb skewer (delicious, but still not a good value at 3 decent sized pieces of lamb skewered for $16), the ziti, with sausage, cheese, and asparagus (a great dish, and hearty portion that I’ll be finishing for lunch today), the whole rotisserie cauliflower which my veggie friend declared fantastic (and which was really one of the best cauliflower dishes I’ve ever had), and I had the nightly special of Striped Bass with a nice cuminy sauce, and arugula. Service was phenomenal, as it’s been on our three visits.

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Tried to find any table between 6-7:30 pm on opentable on any day the next 5 weeks and nothing available. Some restaurants don’t give out tables between 6-8 pm on opentable and just go for walk-ins. Is this such a restaurant, does anybody know how long the wait is on average for walk-ins ?

I would suggest calling them both to ask most current info about waiting times walk ins and if they can give you a reservation by phone, as many restaurants (like Oleana) can do even if open table shows nothing.

their web site says…

For reservations, you may call us at 617.420.1900 or book below through OPENTABLE. We also accept and encourage walk-ins.

I’ve only been once (with no reservation), for lunch on a Saturday, just when they opened and there was no wait (don’t know if you are interested in Sat. lunch, however). Both our server and the hostess seemed very well informed so I would guess you can trust what they tell you about best time to try walking in.

I would definitely call, as many restaurants will book reservations 7-8 by phone, but not though Open Table. I haven’t tried eating there without a reservation, but I know it can be crazy after 5, as the health care place next door closes, and tons of folks from there go for drinks/snacks after work.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold