(Broder. Image poached from broderpdx.com)
I admit that I had never even heard of Broder when I randomly chose it via Urban Spoon on this dark and stormy afternoon in January. In fact, I picked it mainly because the description said it was nearby, it was open, and they had sandwiches. I love sandwiches. Perfect!
As Broder’s homepage displays that they are open daily from 9AM-4PM for breakfast and lunch, we figured we were totally in the clear showing up at about a quarter to three on a Tuesday, only to find the restaurant deserted. Regardless, we were pleasantly greeted and seated and left to study our menus when we quickly realized that the menu (and sign in the window) clearly states that the restaurant is open from 9AM-3PM daily. Oops.
Lucky for us, the super-nice staff member assured us that it was in fact no big deal, they were happy to feed us, and not to worry about it. Since he was so amiable about it, we felt a little guilty, but decided to go for it.
My husband is the chef in the family and clearly the smart one who asked the server what the house specialties were, whereas all I could do was listen to my stomach and head which were ever-so-articulately screaming “SANDWICH!” in unison. So while my husband ordered the recommended meatballs ($9.50), I ordered the Broder Club ($10) figuring that if it’s named after the restaurant, it MUST be good. Done and done.
Our decisions made, the server insisted that he must bring us a side of Danish pancakes anyway, just because they are so awesome they must be tried. Thank gob our server was so awesome and clever.
The Danish pancakes arrived and were… fucking amazing. I mean, I don’t even like pancakes and I was like HOLY HELL OMG YUM. Served with tiny dishes of applesauce, lemon curd, maple syrup, and lingonberry jam, these light and fluffy confectioner’s-dusted orbs are, quite frankly, the bee’s knees.
When the entrees arrived I had not even managed to take a decent bite of my club when my husband was already having an explosive mouthgasm over his meatballs. Perfectly seasoned and smothered in sherry cream sauce, these babies pack a punch that will leave you begging for more. Served with a side of lingonberry jam meant to be eaten with the meatballs, it adds and incendiary combination of salty/savory/creamy/sweet/tartness, and elevates the flavor of the entire dish to something beyond coherence.
My sandwich arrived just the way I like it, with chewy, nutty rye bread and lots of tomato, crunchy bacon, and avocado. Although the house cured gravlax was present with a soft, melt-in-your-mouth texture, the bacon was really the star, hogging the spotlight like a drunk friend on karaoke night. Also there was supposed to be a horseradish cream sauce which I couldn’t taste but really wanted to. I think next time I will listen more closely to the server recommendations so I don’t have to keep stealing coveted bites of whatever my husband is eating.
In a nutshell:
I don’t know how often I am starving and think “I MUST HAVE SCANDINAVIAN FOOD! STAT!” but this place is great. Go there. They have awesome staff, fresh ingredients, and are pretty unique. You vill like.
What to order: The Danish pancakes. They come 6 to an order with 4 dipping sauces, so they are perfect to share as a starter or hoard all for yourself.
Watch out for: The hours listed on their website, they are open until 3PM daily, NOT 4PM as listed.
If you’re on a budget: Ask the servers what the best things on the menu are and then keep your order to one item. You can always come back! They also have happy hour so you can come in with a friend, order a couple things and then split the bill.