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August 20, 2007 / Tony

Dinner at Broder’s

As part of any trip to the Twin Cities, I make it a point to go to Broder’s Pasta Bar.  Nestled near the St. Louis Park neighborhood, it is a culinary marvel with exceptional food and equally exceptional prices.  Everything there is as close to flawless as you could wish, which explains why there was over an hour wait to get a table at 6:00 on a rainy Sunday night. 

Broders is decorated as a trattoria with warm, bright, earthy colors.  It is rather small with a very nice bar that takes up the entire middle of the dining room.  Yet, one does not feel crowded (even if you seat five at at a table for four like we did).  Instead, it just feels right.  The service is impeccable and knowledgeable with just the right level of obtrusiveness.  We (being myself, Briget and Paul, and Becky and Sebastian) started with a very nice Sangiovese wine:


It was quite good with a bold fruity flavors and a lingering finish on the palate.  It was a nice compliment to the meal if maybe just a little aggressive for some of the dishes.  But the dishes were impeccable.  For starters, we ordered clams in tomato sauce, crostini with either a roasted eggplant mascarpone spread or a sun-dried tomatoes and smoked mozzarella, and crimini mushrooms and fennel with fresh thyme.  All were excellent.  Particularly outstanding, however, were the crimini mushrooms.  They were irresistably earthy (a sense that was heightened by the thyme) and perfectly marinated in a concotion of olive oil and vinegar.  It was incredibly good.  Here’s a picture:


And then the entrees came out.  I chose their freshly made fettucine with boar and fennel braised in milk.  This is what it looked like:


The boar was incredibly tender and flavorful.  It tasted like pork, of course, but it seemed to be more like pork than regular pork, if you catch my meaning.  It paired beautifully with the al dente pasta and a light, light milk sauce that had hints of tomato, garlic and onion, I think.  The fennel added a pungent sweetness to the dish.  It was tremendously good and at $12.95, it was an unbelievable bargain.  If I lived in the Twin Cities, I’d be at this place every week.  It’s that good.  Needless to say, all of my dinner companions loved their dishes as well.  We all shared a taste of each other’s dishes and what a diversity of excellence.  Each was good but particularly good was tagliarini tossed with proscuitto, truffle presto, and cream.  It was like a dreamy macaroni and cheese.  Rich, satisfying, and sophisticated.  Unbelievably good.

Dessert was also a treat.  We ordered Tiramisu.  It is not the hot dessert as it once was but after ordering it last night, I might have to go back to eating it on a regular basis because it was so, so good.  This is our half-eaten piece:


The mascarpone cheese was ethereally light and creamy that was paired brilliantly with perfect espresso and delicious tender ladyfingers.  It was rich and light, creamy and substantial, and sweet and sophisticated all at once.  Most likely, the best Tiramisu I’ve ever eaten. 

Obviously, I liked this place.  I can’t recommend it enough.  My only advice is to call ahead before you go.  They do no accept reservations but will place your name on a list if you call ahead.  Do yourself a favor and experience this restaurant, you won’t be disappointed. 

UPDATED:  Dara Moscowitz from the City Page in the Twin Cities has written a glowing review of Broder’s Pasta Bar.  You can read it here


One Comment

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  1. spock74 / Dec 30 2007 10:31 pm

    Just a note: Broder’s does accept reservations for larger parties. I forget the exact number, but I believe it’s eight or more.

    Also, if they ever have gnocchi on the menu, order it. I don’t care if something else looks better, order the gnocchi. I can promise you will not be disappointed.

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