Friday, July 20, 2012

Broken Bread

(UPDATE 5/28/13: A few months ago, Broken Bread moved their location to downtown Salem, on High St. A May 18 blog post mentions that the restaurant is for sale.)

Broken Bread is located on Edgewater St. NW in Salem, Oregon. I had this place on my list for a while, and on a sunny day in mid-July, I felt it was the right time to check it out.

It's a bit of a journey to get to the actual restaurant. Go in one door, go through another door, down the steps, and woohoo, there it is! While they mention they get very good business, I sometimes wonder, given the reliance on limited street parking. But hey, if it's working out, that's cool.

You'll eventually get to this door
Wonderful ambiance inside. A fine-dining feel, and a great place to take your significant other. One portion of the menu is served all day (lunch and dinner), then there are three dinner entrees and three desserts. Don't forget about any specials they may have posted.

Menu on July 14
Specials on July 14
Because the panda wants to work through his meals backwards, dessert must be first. I tried the Mascarpone and Blueberry Turnover ($7), consisting of three light, flaky turnovers dusted with some powdered sugar, what appeared to be a blueberry sauce, and some type of cool blueberry shave ice treat. Mind you, I wouldn't call that Hawaiian shave ice, but having that tiny mint leaf for a garnish did wonders for the experience. I probably would have wanted a little more mascarpone-blueberry filling in the turnover. I detected some a couple of intact blueberries in the turnover, which worked for me.

Excellent presentation. People also eat with their eyes, and it looked tremendous. A top-notch gourmet dessert that wasn't overly sweet. Panda approved!

I got my Faux Chef Salad ($15) to go. This dish is served all day. Romaine and other greens join sliced smoked duck breast, boysenberries, sliced red onions, a sundried tomato dollop, feta cheese, and "Horseradish Goddess" dressing. I also received a small piece of bread (hmm, broken bread tribute?) and some seasoned butter.

Faux Chef Salad
(Broken Bread)
"Horseradish Goddess" dressing
Bread and butter included
The salad was decent. I really loved the duck breast, perfectly smoked, tender, and juicy. The sundried tomato -- basically in pureed form -- was also a hit with me, bringing some refreshing life to each bite. I'm a huge feta cheese fan, so no complaints there. While the boysenberries added some tang and a little sweetness, I could do without it. Very good dressing, and as intimidating as it may sound with the word "horseradish" in there, it didn't destroy my nostrils. Just enough of it to be noticeable, nicely controlled.

At $15, I expected at least a slightly larger portion. Perhaps a sandwich is in order next time so I can have a more filling experience. Some of the greens had started to turn brown by the time I dug in. To be fair, I decided to walk a couple of miles home in the dang sun, while the salad remained in a closed box. Feel free to blame the panda here.

The bread was extremely tough, and I didn't find that very enjoyable. Not a huge problem, since I'm not a bread addict. If anything, I'd prefer very light, airy bread that won't make my teeth do laborious work.

Good service throughout. Not too hard to pull off, since my friend and I were the only customers in the place at the time. Nothing like beating the dinner rush! Doug Davault, the owner, even stopped by to say hi. I found him to be a confident, kind, and humble individual.

If you're a sandwich person, it seems like the Muffaletta ($12) and the "Roast Beast" ($14) are the ones to get. My server tried to sell me on the Braised Bison Brisket dinner entree with sausage stuffing, vegetables, and blackberry demi-glace ($22). Trust me, it nearly worked.

The prices will certainly remind you that you're in a fine-dining establishment, and that's probably what may keep people from coming here even more frequently. I'd say virtually everything is made from scratch here. Head to Broken Bread and try this place out! 7/10

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