Walking through the Iron works property we were pulled toward the direction of Brodeto by the sweet smell of smoking wood. We had heard that famed, local chef, Scott Crawford had opened here in the past few months. We anticipated a fabulous meal, much like our experiences at Crawford and Son.

Walking into Brodeto we did not escape into the deep blue colors of the Adriatic Sea. We did not smell the salt air or see remnants of fishing boats. Instead what we saw was modern architecture with clean lines. Chairs and booths with dark greys and lots of light oak wood. 

Looking to the right of the dining room was a more colorful bar area. The top shelf glass bottles were illuminated and did remind us of sea glass.

We did not sit to enjoy the bar experience since we were offered a front row seat to the best show in town…the kitchen. More about that in a minute.

We did opt for a specialty cocktail delivered from the bar to our table. My drink was ordered from the Signature cocktail list, it was called the Cocomera Spritz.

This cocktail was reminiscent of a recent trip to Italy. It was light and balanced. The Cocomera Spritz is made with a few amazing Italian components such as: Italicas liquor which boasts the flavor of Bergamot. The flavor is citrusy and grassy with a little bit of bitterness and sweetness. The drink also contained Aperol which is more of a bitter rhubarb liquor. The Cocomera Spritz was also comprised of sweet watermelon and fresh cucumber.

I could guess just by the complexity of this cocktail that we were in for a meal that would take us on a journey. 

While sipping on the delightful cocktail we enjoyed a front row seat to the open concept kitchen.

This is not like any other open concept we have seen as we also had a view into the salad and bread stations.

We agreed that the fresh, potted herbs placed directly in front of the stations was a nice touch. It obstructed the patron’s view just a hint, making us peer through them, while providing the kitchen staff a slight bit of anonymity.

We watched as the tickets were being called and enjoyed how skillfully each staff member played their part. We watched the pasta being dropped and tested for doneness. We watched the meat being fired, We saw each plate appear as the waitstaff passed. We marveled at the composure and professionalism of every member of the kitchen brigade. 

We started with an appetizer to share. We selected the House Made Ricotta with peaches, truffle honey, and hazelnuts. This is served with a Balkin flatbread that has been rolled in beef fat, called Lepinja.  

The ricotta was thin and creamy with a drizzle of olive oil all around the bowl. The peaches were a perfect pairing as they added sweetness without overpowering the flavor. The little bite of shaved hazelnut added a needed crunch and a toasty note to the dish. The Lepinja was the perfect vehicle for this cheesy appetizer as it was a hint salty with a oily crust that made me lick my fingers after each bite. 

Next up it was time to make a final decision on our entrees. The Brodeto was a no brainer for my selection. I wanted to taste the Adriatic Sea and from what I could read about the ingredients on the menu it sounded like it would fit the bill. A Brodetto is known as a fish stew in Croatia and in Italy. It is similar to a bouillabaisse. It is usually served as a common dish. I read that in Italian it loosely means “come prepared to eat what we’ve got” I love that because that is so Italian! 

My husband is a carnivore, a meat enthusiast. The thought of not having a meat entree is almost out of the question. Of course Brodeto offered options to suit him as well. He lamented over having to make the choice between the huge 24 Oz Ribeye or the Wood Roasted Pork Chop. The ribeye may have been big enough for us both and since it was crusted with porcini mushrooms which my husband dislikes. I think he made the wise choice with selecting the Pork Chop.

A Note About The Service

We would be remiss not to mention the level of service we were provided during our visit to Brodeto. We walked in at opening time with no reservation. (I highly recommend that you do make a reservation as this is the hottest ticket in the triangle.) The maitre d made an exception for us with the caveat that we not linger beyond our meal, as our table was already reserved in one hour and a half.  We appreciated his cordiality and we made sure that we would reciprocate by moving on in plenty of time. 

Our server was au courant about the menu items and invited our questions. She checked back often and made a wine selection for my husband which utterly complimented his pork entree’.

The warm, fresh bread and ricotta appetizer was delivered by another staff member. This provided the feeling of a fine dining experience where you have an entire staff caring for your needs during service. 

Between the appetizer course and the entree’ course we were delighted to be decrumbed with a damp towel. We expressed our appreciation to this staff member and she returned our conversation with warm and courteous chit chat as she performed this welcome service for us. 

The Entree's

Wood Roasted Pork Chop

I don’t know what we were expecting for a chop, this surely wasn’t it! This was the most wonderfully presented chop we have ever had. It was a chop fit for a king. The five thick slices of meat cut like butter. The flavor of the pork was even better- now we know where all that wood smoked aroma outside was coming from. It was a lightly smoked chop that ate more like pork belly. 

It took us a few tastes to understand the greens in the dish, part garnish part vegetable. It is our best guess that it is celery and fennel frawns. The menu does state that it is dusted with fennel pollen (a very rare and pricey pollen collected from the fennel flower) Think Saffron but even better.

The sauce at the bottom of the pan was silky with bits of black pepper. We were tempted to take a slice of bread and soak up that stunning gravy. 

The Brodeto

I said wanted to taste the Adriatic Sea and yes, I certainly did. The aromatics coming from the dish were at a first heavy and sardine like. My first sip of the broth from my spoon revealed notes of yes, sardine but also of other fish which complimented the tomato base of the stock. Speaking of the stock you can also see the silkiness of the broth. That smoothness denotes it was likely cooked with the fish bones and the heads making for a richer appearance and flavor. 

Beyond The Broth 

Whole prawns sat on top of and around the half-opened, creamy mussels and the chewy clams along with the Folpetti. (Folpetti are baby octopi and have the the texture of squid but a richer flavor.)

On the side of the dish was a nice piece of whole monkfish. Monkfish is known as poor man’s lobster and for a reason. It is a bottom dweller fish whose diet would be consistent of other oceanic floor feeders like lobster, crabs, and shrimp. It’s buttery lobster-like flavor gives way to the tenderness of the fish making it the best of both worlds. 

Fresh herbs adorned the stew which made each sip or bite bright and fresh tasting. 

Truth be told, we did order some more bread and used it to sop up the juice in the stew because we could not get enough of that fishy, tomato laden broth. 

Our palates were satiated by all the flavors. Our bellies were full and happy. Our senses were relaxed. 

Ah… Brodeto, we completely get it. We felt like we visited the Adriatics. Your decor did not need to imply that you were at the ocean. The minimalistic, modern decor was meant to let the food be the star. Those blue hues of Italy and Croatia were there. We tasted them and conjured up in our minds the blue waves lapping the shore, fish jumping, sailboats passing. 

We got your vision Chef Crawford. You are truly a visionary!

Our only regret is there was no room in our tummies left for dessert. We so wanted to try the olive oil cake. We have since heard that the pistachio ice cream is to die for. We can not wait to go back and check out Brodeto’s next seasonal menu.

Btw: We cleared out from our gifted table in plenty of time for the staff to prepare it for the reserved seating. We stopped to thank the maitre de’ for his accomodations and told him we are acknowledging him and our entire experience at Brodeto in our food blog. 

Kudos, Kudos, Kudos we rate Brodeto 5 out of 5 hearts

Food Quality 

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