Best Of 2020

Best Restaurant for a Vegetarian/Omnivore Couple to Enjoy a Decadent Dinner: Branch

Best Restaurant for a Vegetarian/Omnivore Couple to Enjoy a Decadent Dinner

When you’re dating or married to someone with a different dietary preference than you — specifically if you’re a vegetarian and they’re an omnivore — dining out somewhere that isn’t an Indian restaurant or pizza parlor can be a challenge, especially if you’re in the mood for something slightly sophisticated (and you don’t want to eat a plate of $20 pasta). Enter East Walnut Hills’ Branch and the genius that is chef Shoshannah Anderson. The Littlefield Restaurant Group rehabbed a historic Art Deco Bank to create the aptly named restaurant and its adjacent downstairs bar, Night Drop. Their original eatery, Northside’s Littlefield, offers bourbon cocktails and innovative, inexpensive comfort food with an inimitable Northside vibe. However, Branch is a much more ambitious venture both in food, service and ambiance and offers Anderson, who originally helmed the Littlefield kitchen, much more space to flex her culinary muscle. The menu is punily divided into “Shares,” or small plates, and “Stocks,” or entrées, with delicious international influences. The seared halloumi “share” with lemon-honey vinaigrette is unique enough for meat-eaters, and the fried artichoke hearts with harissa are complex and fun. Don’t skimp on the Sixteen Bricks bread with cultured butter either; worth the $5. For mains, there are many meats of varying origins — land, sea, air, etc. — that are probably delicious. But Anderson’s ability to transform tofu is basically unparalleled. Tofu is frequently wet, bland and crumbly but Anderson applies a smoker, intense flavors and the correct preparation to create a seriously satisfying, texturally interesting and extremely filling vegetarian main. And, whatever you do, since you’re here for a nice night out, don’t leave without dessert. Her sweets will leave you speechless; some are classic chocolate creations and others are more adventurous with savory herbal and interesting liquor accents. Speaking of liquor, house cocktails also play on the bank theme with names like the Joint Account (a dirty Vesper martini) and the Accelerated Depreciation (a new fashioned). Branch, 1535 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills, eatatbranch.com.