Today we arrived for dinner at Branca, which took over the old Great Northern Pizza location in Pittsford. There was outdoor seating, but we were sat inside. It looked as though they were setting up the outside since it rained a bit earlier in the day.
We began with ice cold waters, which were refilled throughout our stay. I ordered the Rossini, which included vodka, Prosecco, St. Germain, and a fresh berry purée. It was definitely fresh tasting and I ended up ordering another mid dinner. Beth had a virgin spin on the Rossini (no drinking for her!). Our husbands ordered The Underwood which was a bourbon based drink, with Cinnamon Demerara, and Peach Bitters. To be honest, we weren’t quite sure what Demerara was, but upon looking it up (thanks google!), realized it was a sugar. Jon ordered a second, and Johann also received a second, although he never actually ordered it. They described it as a classic tasting bourbon cocktail, with a cinnamon finish to cut the heat.
We started with 3 appetizers. Many items looked delicious, but the guys chose the crispy calamari with the sweet pepper sauce, which was fresh tasting. The sauce was a nice compliment to the calamari. I chose the panzanella salad with fresh, creamy burrata and a tomato vinaigrette. The bread was perfectly soaked in the dressing and the burrata was very light. I wish there was a little more flavor with the dressing mixed with the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onion. Beth got the garden salad that came with seasonal vegetables and a balsamic vinaigrette. It was quite a big portion and had pieces of Gorgonzola and corn throughout.
For our main meals Beth and our husbands all ordered the gnocchi with a slow braised meat ragu. The gnocchi was cooked well, but the sauce is what made the dish. Pork and Lamb were in the ragu and a few of us are not a fan of lamb for various reasons (Personally, I had a few pet lambs and then I was later fed the lambs by my grandmother for a traditional Easter dinner unbeknownst to me. There is more to the story, but needless to say, I still can’t eat lamb and yes I still have a picture of me and my lamb pets!). However, none of us could taste any “lamb taste” in the ragu. If you are not a lamb fan and have had lamb, you know what I mean by “lamb taste.” It was missing a bit of the “wow factor,” but I think they would order it again if there was not another item on the menu that peaked their interest.
I had the fettuccini with a pesto sauce and house made ricotta. The pesto was delicious and my husband Jon kept scooping up the pesto at the bottom of my dish! I made sure I had a small bite of ricotta with each bite of pasta. It was so fresh and light with a bit of cracked pepper over it. The pasta was perfectly cooked to al dente with that little bit of bite. All of the pasta is also made in house! There is no competition with fresh pasta.
Our server was very attentive and checked in no more than necessary. Overall, we would like to go back and try one of the pizzas, a risotto, and maybe a few other dishes!
We promise next time we will include pictures!