This is why I love Broders’ Pasta Bar

I hesitated to write this post only because about a squillion people have beaten me to lavishing praise on Broders’ Pasta Bar. And pretty much all of them had culinary critiquing and descriptive skills that surpass my best efforts (e.g. “some kind of fish” and “topped with green crap” and “The green crap was OK, but you know what really ruled? The red crap.”).

But I’ve been going to Broders’ for like 158 years now and there are so few restaurants in this day and age that can:

  • Maintain quality and reasonably affordable prices over a long period of time
  • Never fall out of style
  • Retain long term serving staff
  • Impress a guy that recently lived in Italy for eight months, eating pasta six days a week the whole time and therefore doesn’t usually get all that excited about pasta anymore
  • Stay open for 158 years

So taking all that into consideration (and wanting to write off the meals from a recent trip so as to stick it to the IRS yet again), I’ve decided that Broders’ could use one more bump of favorable blogging about their exquisitely prepared red crap.

I ordered the rigatoni alla meridionale (rigatoni with beef tenderloin tips, sundried tomatoes & asparagus – $14.25) because beef and pasta in the same dish is almost never a bad thing. And sure enough it was great. Tangy, colorful and startlingly filling considering what appeared to be a borderline anti-American small portion. Through the powers of Snap Hypnosis and blackmail, I successfully cajoled my lovely companion into ordering the fettuccine con aragosta (housemade pasta with lobster, tomatoes, lemon, herbs & cream – $13.50) so I could taste it. The problem was that my dish was so powerfully delicious, that the relative subtleties of the lobster and cream sauce were virtually lost on my tongue.

So, it appears as if we’ll have to go back there so I can give the fettuccine con aragosta a fair try. We were going to have to go back soon anyway because I simply won’t sleep soundly until I get to sample the quadrucci con pollo, asparagi ed aceto balsamico (housemade pasta with fresh greens, chicken, prosciutto, almonds, asparagus, balsamic vinegar & mascarpone – $14.25). Hell, forget the rest and just throw chicken, prosciutto and almonds into a bowl and I’ll be in heaven.

On a side note, Broders’ must doing things right even beyond the food. I’ve been seeing the same few servers there for at least 120 years if not longer, so either they treat their people really well or these people also can’t attain full REM sleep without a regular fix of this pasta. Maybe Broders’ should start selling a line of pasta transdermal patches across the street in the Cucina Italiana, so people can just walk around all day getting a slow, even release of fettuccini, garlic and tomato cream sauce into their system. Though that clinical solution would take all the fun out of showing up at the door three minutes after opening on a Saturday afternoon and finding out that 17 parties are already ahead of you in line, forcing you to pass the time with two(ish) glasses of wine and knowing you (and the 40 other people squished into the little hallway waiting area) are about to enjoy one of the best Italian deals in town.

There were a few disappointments in regards to price. During my fours years out of the country, inflation hit Broders’ just like pretty much everyone else. The average price of a pasta dish has crept up a couple bucks, as well as the price of a single glass of wine. I seem to remember buying glasses of the house white for a cool $5. Now the cheapest glass on the menu is a less budget-friendly $6.25, with by-the-glass prices quickly becoming less appealing from there forward. This is why I hate ordering wine in restaurants in this country. You cold get three glasses of wine for the same price in Italy and that’s even with the increasingly unfavorable exchange rate. Though in Italy they also charge you $2.50 for a teensy-weensy bottle of water and at least $3 per person for the coperto (‘bread and table cloth laundering’ – read: compulsory tip), which now that I think about it is even more infuriating than grossly inflated wine prices, so I am hereby dropping the complaint.

Nevertheless, if anyone from Broders’ is reading this [SNAP!] You want to lower wine-by-the-glass priiiiicceeeesssss! Looooooowweeeeeerrrr theeeeemmm Broders’!!! I coooommmmmmaaaaaaannnnd yoooouuuuuu!!!!

Alsooooo, I have pictures of you picking your nose at a stooooooppppp liiiiiight! Lower wine-by-the-glass prices or I email the pictures to Mpls. St. Paul magaziiiiiiiiiine!!!!

[SNAP!]

Broders’ Pasta Bar
5000 Penn Ave S
Minneapolis 55419
(612) 925-9202

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Eating | 12.01.2008 12:40 | 7 Comments

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