Branja is an Israeli restaurant in Buena Vista with some way-too-high price points, but a really lovely design. Inside, there’s only counter seating with a wide-open view of the kitchen. And outside, a little patio that’s a fine place to spend a nice night.
The are some good things to eat here. The Brooklyn Heights sashimi is a tasty beet-cured salmon, and the bread service comes with thick slices of za'atar sourdough, toasted challah, and a healthy glob of compound butter. But nothing is as exciting as it needs to be to justify the prices (those five slices of bread cost $16).
The menu’s tone also raises eyebrows. The minced beef rolls are called “Lewinsky's Cigars” (apparently the rolls are made with Levinsky Market spices)—which is just gross and unnecessary. As pleasant as this restaurant is visually, it’s not good enough to be charging $48 for a pair of forgettable chicken thighs and a few roasted vegetables. If Branja’s food can rise to the level of its aesthetics (and they can hire someone who’s not emotionally 12 to write the menu), this place has potential. Until then, you can skip it.
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