Sunday, November 29, 2009

Branch Water Tavern

I’ve been so *stupidly* busy lately that I haven’t even had time to tell you how much I’m enjoying the new Branch Water Tavern. This speakeasy-like restaurant (read: dimly-lit with a kick-ass bar) replaces the old Cue & Cushion on Shepherd near Feagan.

Replaces the Cue & Cushion -- Ha! I just like saying that.

Anyway, go there. It’s centrally located, yet far enough from Washington that the DBs haven’t discovered it. And when you do go, get the chicken fried oysters. I might have turned my nose up a touch when I read this on the menu, but the resulting dish is perfectly sinful. Rich, meaty oysters are lightly battered and chicken fried; they go down the hatch tasting a heckuva lot like buffalo wings, only a jabillion times better. Asdlkgjlsdkjg!

The charcuterie plate cannot compete with the betters around town and the mussels were overly fishy in a disjointed broth, but the remaining apps -- like prosciutto-arugula rolls and bacon-wrapped prawns under a poached egg -- are duly impressive.

The table favorite of the mains was the slow-cooked snapper, served with a flourish in a plastic bag that’s cut right open at your table. When the steam clears, you’ve got a mild and flaky fish, lightly flavored with complex Provencal herbs. Delicious. And ‘tis the season for Santa’s venison. The one at Branch Water is a tender delight -- beautifully cooked and with a sprinkle of salt in a huckleberry sauce -- but I wish it came with more of the lovely butternut squash and wintery Brussels sprouts served diminutively alongside.

In other news, you might have noticed that I’ve been writing for the food blog at The Houston Press. It's been fun and challenging, but means that I’ve been updating this bad boy much less frequently. I’m enjoying it, *except* for the fact that they don’t use the serial comma. I am semi-obsessed with the serial comma -- and quite loud about it, too -- but will attempt to reconcile my differences to promulgate a positive working relationship.

Place your bets, fools.


Sharon said...

Have you been back since our first night there? I'm curious where the prices are, I expect pretty high, but boy was it yummy.

Ruthie Johnson said...

I've been back once (so twice total), largely b/c I'd been bragging about those darn chicken fried oysters. Hehe! Apps are in the $8-$12 range, and mains are $19-$25 or so. I often prefer to have two apps as my dinner (instead of an app and a main), and that tactic would work out beautifully here.

Anonymous said...

who gives an eff about an Oxford Comma? I DO. and you do, too. and I like that about you. I've written for newspapers before and it was extremely hard for me to have my commas edited out.

swallow your pride in the name of good food reportage? I'll commiserate with you about the unraveling of our English language :)

PS--yummy. I happen to live with a woman who would make quick work of those chicken-fried oysters. or really chicken-fried anything.

Lindsey Windham said...

Ohh I like the serial comma, too. And I want to try this place! :) Lindsey

Anonymous said...

I think it was pricey, pretencious. Three shrimp wraped in bacon, over a terribly poached egg? It is not worth it. Sorry but this is the place if you want to eat very little and very blah... and pay a lot, don't bother, Houston has so much more to offer. The servings are RIDICULOUS! the service is horrible and the waiter was mean. I am not a complainer and this time I had to take the time to write a review, and I am Not coming back.

Nguyen Duc said...

Great post Ruthie!
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