First Look: Branzino
Tuesday night Branzino opened; Wednesday night M and I checked it out. We were very excited for it’s opening as Branzino is owned by Peter Lamb who also owns Queen City Grill. For years Queen City was our normal hangout and then a few years ago a lot of the staff turned over and things just seemed to change. Although I still pop in now and then it’s not as regular a thing as it once was.
Branzino is located on the corner of 2nd and Wall and is the north anchor for a row of newer restaurants that seem to be more focused on food than some of the original Belltown eateries. It’s just down the block from Txiro, Tavolata and a bit further down is Zoe. This is becoming an interesting stretch of Seattle real estate.
As you may know if you’ve been around my blog for long, I never "rate" a place based on such an early visit. I generally wait until they’ve been open a few months and have all the processes running smoothly before I form a decision. Having said that, with just one small exception and one disagreement (M liked one thing and I just thought it was okay) we found the food to be very good and the service almost too focused, but that will mellow over time.
If you are familiar with Queen City you will see similarities in the restaurant design and in the menu – not so much in the actual menu items but in the style of the menu. It’s not huge but focuses on doing a few things well. The only thing I thought was odd is that branzino is the Italian name for sea bass which might make you think this is a seafood restaurant. While there is fish on the menu there is nearly as much meat and game. I’m not complaining just sayin’. And the night we were there they didn’t have sea bass. I heard rumors that the shipment was sent back for quality purposes but can’t say for sure.
As we were finishing up our meal it was fun to see many of Seattle’s Italian restaurant "nobility" arriving for a group meal at a big table next to us. The table was set for 16 or so and about half had arrived by the time we’d paid our check. Great to see them all together.
2429 2nd Ave
Corner of 2nd and Wall