All too often breakfast can become a meal defined by its excesses rather than the actual cuisine. We go to pancake houses and greasy spoon diners because we like the fact that the pancakes are plate sized, come with eggs and cost only $3.99. We tell ourselves that such gluttony is okay because we grew up on the notion that breakfast is the most important meal of the day and that a large and greasy one is the best cure for a hangover, which is all well and good until breakfast becomes an event in which you need to impress someone in a way that has nothing to do with your ability to hoover three gigantic pancakes, some saugage and four eggs without breaking a sweat.
Think of Broder as the antithesis of the greasy spoon breakfast/hangover cure/$3.99 special. Instead, picture a European minimalist breakfast cafe, where the food is presented in such a delicate way that it seems almost a shame to disturb the plate. Picture menu items like a baked scramble with smoked trout, aebleskivers with lemon curd and brown bread with a softboiled egg and ham. Picture Broder as the place where you bring the girl you finally asked out and brought home last night and now want to impress with your sense of style and knowledge of great Portland food.
Broder opened its doors in 2007 as a Swedish restaurant, bringing its northern European aesthetic to the Northwest, and combining the best of both cultures in its food. The interior of the long and narrow restaurant is divided into two sections; the dining area along one wall and the open grill along the other. The open grill creates the feeling of a large family kitchen, evoking a communal sense of eating, which is helped along by the small and closely placed tables. Broder’s intimate space much more suited to couples than large groups.
The food fits Broder’s intimate setting, arriving on small, basic plates and wood boards in delicate presentations that showcase the visual aesthetics of the food. I’m a large guy, and at Broder I feel like a giant when the food arrives. But in its presentation lies Broder’s strength; the place knows it is a Swedish restaurant and it makes no compromises in order to fit the American idea of breakfast. This notion is reflected in the food itself which is incredibly and surprisingly flavorful. Among our favorites are the aebleskivers; Swedish style pancakes served with lemon curd, jam and maple syrup that can be eaten with your hands, and the breakfast sandwich; duroc ham, baked eggs, gruyere cheese, marjoram cream and tomatoes. The bords are all great as well (Bords are the Swedish version of a continental breakfast plate: bread, jam, egg, and usually ham). Everything we have tried here has been wonderful, which keeps us coming back and makes us eager to explore more of their menu. Make sure to check out their drink menu as well; the coffee is Stumptown and their bloody mary is fantastic.
The service here also skews distinctly non-Portland, which usually suffers from a weird dichotomy of great food with generally awful service. Broder’s service is efficient and quick. The server rarely lingers to chat, allowing you to focus on your breakfast date and the food, which generally arrives quickly. The only downfall of the service is that Broder is incredibly busy, which can cause a bit of a lag, especially if you arrive with the eight other tables once the doors open. However, this is a testament to Broder’s appeal more than a service issue, so its hard to fault them for falling behind a bit.
Broder has quickly become one of our favorite breakfast places in a city that has some incredible breakfast options. This place has style and grace, and provides a wonderful little respite from American breakfast dining. Bring people here to impress. Keep coming back here because your paradigm of what breakfast should be has shifted. Welcome to Broder.
Location: 2508 SE Clinton Street, Portland, Oregon
Hours: Breakfast/Lunch is from 9am to 2pm daily, Dinner is 6pm to 10pm Thursday thru Saturday
Price Point: breakfast is between $7 and $10, dinner entrees run between $7 and $10. Nothing on Broder’s menu is over $10.
Contact: (503) 736-3333, email@example.com