Broders’ Pasta Bar
5000 Penn Avenue S.
The twinkling lights strung across the outdoor patio at Broders’ Pasta Bar are a fitting touch for the restaurant anchoring such a charming area in southwest Minneapolis. On a crisp autumn evening, groups of friends lingered outside after dinner while families and couples kept up the chatter inside.
Just after 8 p.m., we were warned it’d be a hefty wait to get a table. When we overheard the couple beside us say they’d been waiting nearly an hour and a half, our 40 minute wait didn’t seem too bad for a Friday night. Within the hour, the host led us into the small but energetic dining room area. Seats are only along the walls and around a bar in the room’s center, which is a major reason for the wait, but makes for a comfortably intimate space once finally at a table.
Broders’ list of pasta entrees is long, though meatless or chicken options are harder to find. Waiting gave us plenty of time to scan the menu, so we were ready to order the moment we were seated. Time passed quickly between placing our order and digging into steaming plates of pasta as we enjoyed a carafe of the wine special and soaked Broders’ spongy bread in rich olive oil.
Jim chose the spinach and mushroom ravioli with gorgonzola cream sauce. The house-made pockets were ideally sized and stuffed full of vegetables. And while the pasta was outstanding, the sauce stood out most. It was creamy, but not heavy and salty like typical white sauce; its light texture packed plenty of flavor.
My homemade spaghetti was mixed with freshly diced tomatoes, chopped garlic and olive oil. The menu suggested adding the nightly vegetable – which the waitress told us was summer squash – so I was taken aback when the dish came sprinkled with corn. While it was stunningly delicious, I had been looking forward to the squash and found the corn somewhat strange. By the time the plate was empty, I was so blown away by the large taste of such a simple dish that I had forgotten all about the vegetable swap.
Pasta joints often try too hard to impress, but it’s Broders’ food that creates loyalty among its customers. The comfortable, familiar ambiance is simply a bonus. We’re hooked – and with a free parking lot and outdoor seating to boot, this will be one we’ll be talking about.
RATING (out of 5 ♠♠♠♠♠)
Menu Selection: ♠♠♠
Food Taste & Presentation: ♠♠♠♠1/2
COMPLETE EXPERIENCE: ♠♠♠♠
Total bill, including tip: $54