Broadway Grill & Brewery

December 29, 2006

Broadway Grill & Brewery

1700 NE Broadway
(503) 284-4460
get there via trimet
find a bike route

You know, there are some addresses where you just think, oh g-d, what rubbish is here now? You know, addresses that are cursed? The former location of Epicure, La Prima Pizzeria, Irvington Corner Table, Rustica, and probably a half-dozen other places whose names I've blocked out because it was such an underwhelming experience, is now the locale for an underwhelming brewpub. Or it will be a brewpub once they get the brewery properly licensed.

If you are familiar with Old Market Pub, and/or like their beer and food, well, there you go. I'm told that the menu is the same at Broadway. I'm not surprised at all that places like Old Market Pub survive on the west side; the west side is so underserved for any type of edible inexpensive food that places that have no excuse for surviving hang on for years.

The space is dotted by big screen TVs and has the ambiance of a bus station; except in this bus station, there's lots of unfinished wood.

Let us begin with the menu. Appetizers and the beer list make up the front page. There is an artichoke-spinach-cheese dip, onion rings, 2 types of fries, 3 quesadillas, hot wings, and nachos. Prices range from $3.95 to $9.95, with most things, including the corn chips and salsa, ringing in at $6.95-$7.95.

We didn't order the $6.95 corn chips and salsa. There's TOFTT and then there's sheer stupidity.

Soups & Salads range from $3.95-$9.95, that lowest price being a cup of pub-made soup, the latter being an entree caesar with a 1/4 pound of shrimp. Are they cocktail style or deepfried, prawns or bay shrimp? Who knows?

Entrees vary widely. There's a pasta ($12.95-$13.95), gyros ($8.95-$10.95), chicken fingers ($9.50), 10 inch pizzas ($9.95), fish-n-chips ($9.95-$12.95), burgers ($6.95-$9.45), and sandwiches ($8.60-$9.90. Vegetarian options (a garden burger, 3 veggie pizzas, and the gyros) are few and far between. Just about everything comes with potato chips, and there are up-charges galore: to sub in fries, to get dipping sauce, to add salsa (!) to your nachos.

Broadway Grill has about a dozen taps of Old Market Pub beers. We asked our teenage waitress for her recommendation, and that worked about as well as you might expect. We ended up with a couple of lackluster beers. Then we ordered food.

Now, honestly, I hadn't heard anything good about this place, but I was hoping in the way that I always do, that this would be a good place to get dinner. So with that inherent, unproven optimistism...

I had the "1/2-pound beer-battered fish & chips", halibut with the shoestring fries. The fries were okay, but the fish, yikes. It was an awful grade of halibut, if it was halibut; it had no taste, and a distinctly wrong texture. Halibut is a firm white meat fish with a fine texture. It should flake into chunks when you cut it, or put it in your mouth, and it should have a sweet mild flavor. The deep-frying and beer batter were adequate. Wait a minute, scratch that. At 12.95 for a half-pound, what a rip off!

My companion got a "big corned beef reuben" ($8.95), which he described as the worst reuben he had ever had. For one thing, it wasn't big. The sandwich had too little corned beef, and what little corned beef it had wasn't very good. It wasn't bad, it was just something you'd expect in a Denny's reuben, if they served reubens (do they? I have no idea). The overall sandwich was greasy. Well, at least we had our fries.

What I don't get is that when we were there, the joint was jumping. Lots of folks there, eating and drinking. Is NE Broadway this starved for pub grub? I guess so.

restaurants in NE Portland, Brewpubs

Posted at December 29, 2006 * add entry to


I couldn't agree more with your review! My boyfriend and I had dinner there last week, also with misguided optimism. He was so mad about his tiny crappy Reuben, he mentioned it to the (teenaged) waitress, who just sort of shrugged. I had the gyro sandwich, which was better than the Reuben, but nothing special. The fries were pretty good, but who cares?

Posted by: Schmeesa at December 29, 2006 03:02 PM

I, too, agree!

Boring beer, overpriced crappy food....WHo needs that? I can go to Shari's for that crap!

Beer wise.... What an embarassment to the Northwestern Brewing scene... I don't mind unique beers, but try and at least make some standard good ones....

If Broadway locals are excited about this place, someone needs to open a hot dog cart outside the door..... becasue that would be better food and better deal..

Posted by: mojo at December 29, 2006 09:42 PM

Well, it's absolutely *insane* how packed the Old Market still gets, so you're spot on about the west side being der sucken for almost any food, really.

I always thought Corner Table was fairly bad, and it's weird how now it seems like the best of that lot.

Posted by: Flynn at December 30, 2006 01:04 AM

I live within walking what? I will never return for the most expensive crap food ever. My partner also had the "halibut" fish n chips and thought if it was halibut, it was frozen out of a box from Sysco...

Posted by: LadyConcierge at December 30, 2006 06:14 PM

it's amazing how much your description of the place matches my own experience of the Olde Marke Pub out west. The food tastes as if it arrived preassembled. The beer is very mediocre. But, my westside friends love it.

Something about Broadway, so many places rotate in and wants to be but isn't a pedestrian community. It's our own little piece of the west side right here on the east side.

Posted by: beerick at January 5, 2007 10:47 AM

Couldn't agree more ! Ok food, ok beer. I've even had the opportunity to tell one of the owners @ Old Market that their beer could be a lot better if they had a better brewer ! but I guess not many people give them enough critical or constructive feedback ! Too many people must like their mediocre beer ! Most of us local, native "beer snobs" know what is a good brewery and what's not !

Posted by: JoFu at March 28, 2007 12:11 PM

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