One of the great things about living in NYC is how everyone you know seems to pass through the city at some point. Henry and Michael, two of my favorites from Berkeley, were recently here for a 36 hour layover. They rounded up some friends for dinner on the Lower East Side. The original plan was Thai food at Pok Pok Phat Thai, but that place was tiny. Plan B was Brannon’s, an inviting, woody space with exposed brick, wrought iron details, and comfort foods. Lucky us — we had the whole restaurant to ourselves!
A lot of classic Southern style comfort foods are not the most vegetarian friendly. I mean, even the hush puppies here had bacon in them. That said, Brannon’s delicious cocktails more made up for the somewhat small selection of vegetarian options. The Bianco Cobbler ($12), which had Dolin Blanc, blackberries, sage leaves, and lemon juice. I recommend this to anyone who enjoys elderflower liqueur. It had similar floral aromas and flavors. What a lovely color too. I ordered the Penne Zitoni ($16). Hen of the woods mushrooms, zucchini, truffle butter, arugula, parimigiano. The pasta was a nice al dente, and I’m a fan of truffle butter. I enjoyed the combination of mushrooms and zucchini, but I would have preferred a better balance of veggies and pasta. I do love my carbs, but the mushrooms should to be the star of the show. Overall, a decent pasta dish and enough food for 2 small meals. Henry was sitting right next to me. He ordered the B Burger ($15). Pat La Frieda custom blend, shiitake mushrooms, parmigiano, crispy shallots, red mustard greens, JL remoulade, sesame seed brioche, hand cut rosemary frites. A rather impressive looking burger and a very large serving of fries. I ordered Where There’s Smoke ($13) for my next cocktail. Pueblo Viejo Tequila Blanco, lime and pomegranate juices, orange curacao, jalapeno, mezcal, hellfire habanero bitters. I recently fell in love with cayenne pepper in cocktails and have been looking forward to trying more spicy cocktails. At Brannon’s, they are not messing around with the heat. Where There’s Smoke was much spicier than I expected and quite addictive. I would have liked to try a third cocktail that evening, but it was a weeknight. Gotta keep it under control on weeknights, especially as I have to look at wine all day at work. Hah!