Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Broders' Impeccable Pasta

There are good meals and then there are great ones... My most recent visit to Broders' Pasta Bar was one of the greats. Broders' always floats to the top of my mind when I think about solid restaurants where I know I can get a consistently good meal, and that consistent standard is no small order given the variety on their menu. Their whole roster of sauces ranges from classic to truly unique and their perfect homemade pasta serves as the ideal platform for which they deliver their bold, unique and impeccable flavors.

Since Jess and I were celebrating a special night we decided to forgo just simply ordering one of their behemoth bowls of pasta (easily enough for a meal), but rather enjoy our meal over a number of courses complete with a nice bottle of Chianti gifted to us by my incredibly generous parents. After our awesome waitress waltzed us through the menu with an astonishing level of detail and knowledge we decided to start with and arugula pesto and roasted garlic crostini.

It's amazing how such a simple sounding dish can be so amazing. The rustic bread was toasted to a perfect crispness offering a light crunch with a slight give as your teeth ventured together. The intensely green arugula pesto had a tremendous bite at the beginning, but mellowed as the flavors dispensed across the palate yielding to the more traditional cheese and garlic tones that linger at the end of a well-crafted pesto. Calling the roasted and caramelized whole cloves of garlic "sweet" would be like calling James Beard a "fan of food." It offered a perfectly malty and smooth component to excite your buds even though it was following the peppery presence of a pungent arugula. It's amazing how two such different sensations can yield such a satisfying result. They also provided a nice little olive oil sidecar that was perfectly earthy, while adding a nice layer of richness to the dish. I could have eaten a few more slices as a meal and been completely satisfied.

The next course was an insalata primavera -it was too hard to pass up the Sicilian inspired blood orange and olive oil dressing. A good portion of mixed tender greens showed up, and we split them across two plates. As we spooned the greens up we noticed the slightest bit of dressing rolling off the leaves so we got to moving quickly to salvage every last drop of the precious stuff. Broders' doesn't mess around with their olive oil, so I knew the dressing would be solid and the blood orange juice delivered the same citrus component that I grew to appreciate and quickly love when I spent my all-too-short (except for the Sicilian parking authorities) time in Sicily. Whenever food transports you back to a point in time, you know you are enjoying something special.

Now, the degree to which we enjoyed the first two courses is pretty amazing considering I normally just want to get straight to the pasta. I ordered the fettuccine with chicken, olives, grilled artichokes and fresh herbs. The sauce was incredibly light, yet flavorful and the pasta was perfectly tender with just the right amount of chew that to me, is the signal of a wonderfully al dente pasta. The grilled artichokes were light, and took on a nice twist from a slight char on the grill, while the dark portions of chicken incorporated into the sauce yielded a robust result. As much as I liked my pasta, it was a clear second place in comparison to the new front runner for my dish of the year - the tagliarini di Locanda de Lupo. This naughty pasta features prosciutto de Parma, truffle pesto and cream. It's bewildering to think that such few ingredients can create something so amazing. A single bite practically stopped my heart (not sure if it was because I was falling in love, or because I was struggling to process all cream). The pasta sauce was pure velvet, with an indescribable richness from the truffles. The cream and cheese mingled perfectly over the silken pasta, and the little slices of tender prosciutto produced just a slight edge of gaminess that could only be tamed by the decadence of the other ingredients. It was simply amazing.

We had yet another great meal at Broders' and the only thing that could possibly rival the food was the quality of my company. Their dedication to perfect pasta is what makes their classics, classic and their non-traditional dishes inspiring. The only problem is that just about everyone who appreciates good pasta already knows that this is the place in the Twin Cities to get the best, so you may have to be patient to get a table. Thankfully enough, Broders' is expanding their outdoor antipasti bar service so you can enjoy an even wider variety of their awesome antipasto outside. If there is a wait, I would take solace in the fact that it buys you a little more time to enjoy a glass of wine and some of their awesome starters on a cozy outdoor patio. Believe me, the wait is worth it.

A note about the pictures: The food was so good that I forgot to take them until we were half way done or almost finished! It's that good.

Happy Eating,


1 comment:

kat said...

We've enjoyed the meals we've had there too & now you've got me thinking this might be dinner tonight

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