Perched on a corner of Lafayette’s stylish restaurant row, the new Batch & Brine craft kitchen and bar looks to be exactly what this foodie city needed. It’s sleek and relaxed, with a wrap-around patio and lounge seating out front, and a dining room with folding windows that let the outside in.
THE VIBE: On opening night — tonight — the place was absolutely hopping by 6 p.m. Batch & Brine is run by seasoned restaurateurs: the Ghaben and Gonzales family, who also own assorted Mel’s Diners, Black Bear Diners and Walnut Creek’s Broderick Roadhouse.
There are some echoes here of the Broderick menu — hello, boozy milkshakes, craft beer and creative cocktails. But where Broderick is boisterous and, well, roadhouse-y, Batch & Brine is laid back, sleek and hip. The cool murals are the work of street artist Berk Visual, the walls are exposed brick — it’s a spot to relax and enjoy cocktails and bites.
THE FOOD: Exec chef David Suarez (San Francisco’s Rosa Mexicano) oversees an elevated gastropub menu of variations on the burger and sandwich theme ($13-$16), from classic burgers to kofta, falafel, merguez, duck confit and housemade pastrami, as well as some creative salads — kale, beet, shaved cauliflower. Addictively delicious fries are available in classic form — order up a trio ($3) of dipping sauces from among a dozen choices — or go all out and get the fries topped with duck confit, Hatch chile verde or even pastrami and cheese.
DON’T MISS: Small touches add up to big flavor on the terrific fried chicken sandwich ($15), made from pickle-brined chicken and topped with housemade pickles and slaw. It’s served with those fries and very fun sauces. (Psst, make sure you try the Calabrian chile aioli.) You’ll find the Batch & Brine weekend brunch offerings listed on the back of the dinner menu, but sadly, you cannot have those Benedict options for dinner.
PERFECT FOR… A night out with friends, dinner with the family — there’s a children’s menu — or weekend brunch. And in an area dotted with sidewalk cafes and appealing dining patios, this one’s a standout for al fresco dining, lunching and brunching. There’s a fire pit, too.
DETAILS: Open daily from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., plus weekend brunch from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 3602 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette; www.facebook.com/batchandbrine.
First Look: Lafayette’s new Batch & Brine