Because I dine out so often and I've lived in Boston my whole life, people often ask me, "If you had to choose, what would you say is your favorite restaurant in Boston?" I think they expect it to be difficult for me to narrow it down or to feel like it's equivalent to being asked to pick a favorite child, but I always answer with zero hesitation, "Eastern Standard." For those who haven't been, Eastern Standard is located in Kenmore Square, just steps from Fenway Park. It has an elegant Parisian atmosphere, the service is impeccable, the cocktail program is one of the best in the city and their French fries rival McDonalds. So you can imagine my pure joy when I learned that the Eastern Standard Restaurant Group was opening a place in Watertown.
Their Watertown restaurant is called Branch Line and it's located just off Arsenal Street, in the same plaza as Casa de Pedro. They opened in October 2015. You can read about my very first visit here. We tried 10 dishes that night. No big deal.
Since my first visit, I have been back many times and always look forward to hearing about new menu additions. This month, as it finally starts to feel like summer here in Boston, Branch Line is offering picnic lunch packages. I couldn't wait to order one and check it out.
I arrived at Branch Line at 12:15pm on Saturday of Memorial Day weekend. The sun was shining and the temperature had climbed to 90 degrees. The patio was open for lunch, a perfect day to dine outside.
I walked up to the hostess stand to let them know I was picking up a picnic lunch package. They walked back to the kitchen to check in with the chefs, as everything is made fresh.
They handed me the goodies and I walked straight outside to dig in.
Branch Line offers two different picnic packages and the one I would be sampling is called the chicken picnic (there is also one called the trio of chicken). It comes in two bags that are very easy to carry. You can take these right outside onto the grass at Branch Line or toss them in your car and bring them to the Charles River or even home to your backyard.
I unpacked the first of the two bags which had half of a rotisserie chicken, sugar snap pea salad, cucumber crudite and Branch Line's signature bread with olive oil.
The rotisserie chicken looked absolutely beautiful and smelled intoxicatingly delicious.
I was excited to see the sugar snap pea salad is included, as that was one of my favorite dishes on my very first visit. I love the crunch of the pea pods and the taste of the dressing which includes chopped marcona almonds.
For the picnic, Branch Line puts the dressing for the snap pea salad on the side so that it doesn't get soggy while you're transporting it. Brilliant!
This bag also had a dish called cucumber crudite, which was a new one for me. Paper thin cucumber slices are dressed in vinegar and black pepper, then topped with shredded mint.
Despite being cut so thin, each cucumber still had a great crisp to it. The dish was so cool and refreshing, especially on such a scorching hot day. The pepper in the dressing gave it a nice kick too.
Branch Line also includes a generous portion of it's signature bread which had a great hearty crust on the outside and is soft and doughy on the inside. They provide olive oil on the side for dipping.
When I looked at all the contents of the first bag, I couldn't believe I still had a second bag to unpack!
The second bag had sauce for the chicken (juices from the rotisserie pan) and two Spindrift sparkling sodas, one cucumber flavored and one grapefruit flavored.
This bag also had the plates, napkins and utensils.
To help keep the sodas cold (and to keep the condensation from dipping all over you) Branch Line also provides two koozies.
How cute are these? I can't wait to use them in my backyard.
With everything unloaded it was time to set up the picnic. Since it was Memorial Day weekend, I had to show a little red, white and blue flair.
The picnic is designed for two people, but I am absolutely certain it could feed three. Everyone will want to taste a little bit of everything and there is plenty to go around.
One of the major bonuses of enjoying your picnic lunch on the Branch Line grounds is that they have bocce. Any customer is welcome to grab a bag and play.
They even have their own scorecards. And let's be honest, you're playing to win.
I have loved Branch Line since my very first visit and I'm so excited that they have added this picnic lunch offering. Now you can savor several of the fantastic dishes that are served in the restaurant outdoors, either right there or in a location of your choice. Branch Line is very close to the Charles River, so I'd recommend taking your feast there to enjoy the water view and the people watching.
The Branch Line picnic lunch is available Monday - Friday from 11:30am - 2:30pm or on Saturdays from 12:00pm - 3:00pm. The chicken picnic (pictured here) is $45 dollars and the trio of chicken picnic which features half a rotisserie chicken, a Greek-style chicken sandwich and chicken chopped salad is $50 dollars.
*This post was created in collaboration with Branch Line. All opinions are 100 percent my own.