Broder’s Scandinavian brunch is a tough act to follow. In 2007, restaurateur Peter Bro launched Southeast Clinton’s Café Broder with golf ball-sized aebleskiver pancakes, and house-smoked trout with pickled vegetables, handsomely arranged in geometric Danish ramekins. It's earned a cult status, propagated an endless stream of Ikea jokes, and helped put Portland’s Scandinavian roots into a modern context. Now, at his new Swedish-chic Broder Nord (2240 North Interstate Ave—formerly Gotham Tavern), Bro is trying to bring Scandinavian fever to dinner.
The early menu is still in flux, but Broder Nord’s setup runs from Trädgård (Garden) and Betesmark (Pasture) to Havet (Sea), with a heavy emphasis on the latter. Traditional icons like Swedish meatballs in sherry cream sauce and braised lamb cabbage rolls with lingonberry jam are present and reliable, but new creations, like a “dill-havarti macoroner” (aka mac & cheese with pork belly and seared scallop) play more to the Portland palate—with great success.
Cocktails and spirits are fed through a tap, from large batch negronis to fernet, with Scandinavian standbys aquavit and genever (a kind of Dutch gin) in heavy rotation. For summer, Bro has enlisted the help of celeb bartender Tommy Klus (most recently of Multnomah Whiskey Library) to help him build an infused genever program, as is customary in Amsterdam.
But the game has changed since Broder’s Clinton location first opened. Alton Garcia (Broder’s original chef and longtime pickle and pastry powerhouse) has moved on, and some of those novelties (house pickles and jam, smoked fish and oysters) are now staples of the modern Portland restaurant table.
Early tastes, from thick sunchoke soup to steamed mussels in aquavit broth, struggle to stand out from the city's myriad supper options. The kitchen is still searching for the linchpin that will endear Portlanders to Scandinavian dinner as it did with breakfast.
Only in its third week, and still not fully up and running, it’s too soon to tell. The real gem may be Broder’s market, a vintage refrigerator packed with smoked trout sandwiches, fresh daily pastries and U-bake sweets (think cardamom rolls) from house baker Jane Gambill, and a collection of Broder’s quaint tablewares. Or maybe the greatest gift is simply Nord’s space, with colorful tchotchkes, Jenga-like wooden accents, and 96 glorious seats overlooking the Fremont Bridge, where you can eat your Swedish breakfast in peace.
2240 North Interstate Ave, Suite 160
Breakfast/lunch: Daily, 9 am - 3 pm
Happy hour: Tues-Sat, 4 - 6 pm
Dinner: Tues-Sat, 5 pm -“Late”