Broder

Broder calls itself “Sweden in Portland,” a distinction that used to belong to IKEA, but I don’t mind at all that Broder’s taken the title. Lit by the glowing metal branches of the unusual tree-like light fixture that runs the length of this minimalistically funky and exceedingly popular Clinton Street cafe, the long narrow confines let you get cozy with your neighbors–so be friendly and keep an eye on your æbleskiver.

The tight-tshirt-clad boys in the kitchen never disappoint, hardly pausing as they calmly and swiftly turn out smokin’ hot cast-iron skillets of freshly-made æbleskiver.

Thanks to the intimacy of it all, you get a front-row seat to the making of your meal–and the tight-tshirt-clad boys in the kitchen never disappoint, hardly pausing as they calmly and swiftly turn out smokin’ hot cast-iron skillets filled with potato-studded smoked trout hash, baked duroc ham and Swedish farmer’s cheese scrambles, hot little pyramids of freshly-made abelskivers–pleasantly dense little pancake orbs accompanied by tiny dipping bowls of lemon curd, lingonberry jam and maple syrup.

smorgasbord-illustrationTraditional Breakfast Boards abound–wooden planks loaded with a barely abbreviated smogasboard that might include a soft-boiled egg, ham, soft and hard cheeses, fruit compote, a grapefruit half, a hunk of hearty brown bread from nearby Little T American Baker, Nancy’s yogurt with honey, and even gravlax (cured salmon, if you aren’t up on your Swedish). The grapefruit mimosas, served in plump stemless wineglasses, are the perfect balance of freshly squeezed citrus and sparkling wine, and soon render the sometimes prohibitive wait for a table a distant memory. It also helps that you can step next door to the Savoy Tavern and sip hot complimentary coffee until Broder comes a’ callin.

Not just a pretty brunch face, Broder also serves dinner three nights a week. Try the meatballs in sherry cream sauce or the choose-your-own smorgasboard adventure, and I promise you that moving to Sweden WILL cross your mind.

Details

Cuisine: Scandinavian

Atmosphere: Loud, hip, cramped, busy, happy, delicious-smelling

Outdoor seating: Yes, a few tables out on the sidewalk overlooking SE Clinton Street

Best Seat: I like to sit in the front window, the tables are bigger and not quite as intimately positioned, however, this means the eavesdropping opportunities aren't as good

Noise Level: Energetic–Boisterous, but conversation is possible

Dress Code: Casual

Bring the Kids: Yes

Bathrooms: Yes, straight through the toothpick skinny dining room and all the way to the back, can’t miss it

Parking: Free and plentiful on SE Clinton and surrounding streets

Cocktails: Yes, and a great Aquavit selection

Beer: A very nicely rounded selection of Belgian, German, Polish, English, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish beers ($4-$12)

Wine: Compact but nicely chosen selection of mostly French whites, reds and dessert wines ($24.50-$61.25). Be sure to get a grapefruit mimosa with brunch (or breakfast, or lunch), they are excellent—perfect ratio of juice to champagne, and served in nifty stemless wineglasses.

Corkage: $10

Teetotalers: Juices & sodas

Coffee: Stumptown

Tea: Jasmine Pearl Tea Co.

Ideal Meal: Smoked trout hash, abelskivver, grapefruit mimosa

Vegetarian Friendly: Yes

Vegan Friendly: Yes

Good for the following occasions: Out With Friends, Family Meal, Brunch

Group/Private Party Details: Yes

Reservations: No

Take-Out: Yes

Delivery: No

Deals: To "keep you from crying over the wait," Broder offers Baby Spanskas on weekends, their $4.50 take on Spanish coffee. Oh boy.