Review: Hot New(ish) Restaurant Branch Line

Tucked behind the brick walls of Watertown’s Arsenal area is a restaurant worth discovering; Branch Line. My husband and friends (and my LiveNewton partner, Holly) had been raving about it for months, but I had a hard time getting a reservation. Later I’d understand why, but at the time I wasn’t that disappointed. Their specialty is “Green Circle Rotisserie Chicken.” Sure, I like rotisserie chicken, but it’s not something I seek out on the menu of a nice restaurant. Well, I was about to be enlightened.

I finally sampled Branch Line recently with my husband and two other couples on a Saturday night. In short, the food and the ambience were fantastic. The lighting was dimmed to just the right level, bathing the entire restaurant in a soft, warm glow. Our group was seated at a spacious round table near the center back. The vintage-trendy decor provided an inviting, intimate background despite the twenty-foot (or so) high ceilings.

Drinks & Starters

While my compatriots enjoyed beer and wine (they don’t offer a full bar), I played it safe with the house-bottled sparkling water in deference to a sinus headache I was battling that day.

The first apps to arrive were simple yet perfect: warmed olives marinated in rosemary, orange and garlic, along with house-made pickled vegetables. This was followed in short order by aromatic, flavorful steamed Maine mussels steeped in beer, scallion and chiles, along with (relatively) tender garlic grilled squid served with white beans. We were off to a great start.

 

Mains & Sides

Our table ordered two whole Green Circle Rotisserie Chickens to be shared between 5 of us – 2 men and 3 women. Our server graciously offered to cut it up for us (if your server doesn’t suggest this, be sure to ask). I should also mention that two in our group have gluten allergies, and the restaurant easily accommodated them. The remaining gentleman went with the porchetta, which turned out to be a bit too fatty for his taste.

 

For the record, I now see the draw to Branch Line‘s rotisserie chicken. Cooked to perfection and served in “house sauce,” we were all very pleased with our choice of entree. And I have to say, I would be more than willing to order it on the next go-round!

 

Branch Line Chicken

In addition, we ordered a number of accompaniments and enjoyed them family style. The grilled asparagus came lightly topped with a creamy sauce. The grilled hen of the woods (a type of mushroom) was simply dressed with sea salt. The broccolini was absolutely delicious with the flavors of chili flakes and garlic oil and some other flavor we couldn’t place. Could it have been smoked paprika? Our server didn’t know. Perhaps I’ll figure it out as I hope to recreate this dish at home!

 

The only let-down in an otherwise perfect evening was Branch Line‘s highly touted rotisserie cauliflower served with lemon aioli and chili croutons. It’s not that it wasn’t as delicious as has been described. It’s that it never came and by the time we realized it was too late. It was removed from our bill, and our server apologized profusely. Ah well. These things happen. And now I have something else to try the next time we go back. And we will go back!

Things To Know

*Branch Line is off the beaten path, hidden within the Watertown Arsenal area behind the Panera Bread and the Mosesian Center for the Arts.
*The restaurant features a lovely heated outdoor patio with bocce ball court. Unfortunately, the patio was not in service on the night we went. It was twenty degrees and the upright heaters and plastic sheeting can’t fend off such frigid temperatures.
*The eatery is open for lunch and dinner seven days a week.
*And (drum roll) – there’s no fighting for meters! Diners can revel in ample free parking in the lot just outside the restaurant or in the garage next door.

 

If You Go, Let Us Know

If you go, let us know your thoughts! Send us pictures and post your comments below.

Branch Line

321 Arsenal Street
Watertown, MA
617.420.1900

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Author: Jen

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