Thursday, April 11, 2024


Make no mistake - when you walk into Brodeto, Raleigh restaurateur Scott Crawford's new spot, you instantly know you're in good hands. The restaurant is absolutely stunning: cream-colored walls with beautiful ambrosia maple wood tables; a warm, inviting bar and an open kitchen; and plenty of staff ensuring everything is running smoothly. Brodeto opened last month in the newly-developed Raleigh Iron Works area, and seems like a step up from his already swanky and splurge-worthy restaurants Crawford & Son and Jolie. The cuisine is inspired by Italy and Croatia and is a love note to the Adriatic. My experience was as close to a home run as you can get. A few tweaks would have knocked it out of the park. While they are still finding their footing, I know they'll only continue to improve.

I acknowledge that one visit, where I sampled 4 dishes and a cocktail, doesn't necessarily give me the best overview of what the folks at Brodeto can do. But as a mom with a limited budget, one visit is all I can manage right now, and first impressions are everything. The cocktail list is inventive (and expensive), as Crawford's usually are, and the Euro Step featured Mezcal (I subbed Tequila), Aperol, Grilled Strawberry and Chili Oil for a uniquely warm and spicy note. I appreciated the option to sample a wine before I opted for a glass, and the Croatian Plavac won me over.

The "Small Plates" section should be renamed, because the two my dining partner and I ordered provided us each with leftovers. Italian Chicories are dressed with a White Balsamic and Citrus Vinaigrette, and topped with Toasted Hazelnuts for crunch, Grana Padano for umami and Cara Cara Oranges for sweetness. This salad was fantastic and perfectly balanced. I admire a well-crafted salad and this was indeed that. We also tried the Little Gem Hearts (a cross between Romaine and Butter Lettuce), which reminded me of a sexy Caesar. The greens were tossed with a Ramp Caesar dressing, crispy Sourdough Breadcrumbs for texture and what I imagine was an entire wedge of Pecorino Tartufo. That slight truffle flavor from the cheese with the tangy, savory Caesar dressing was absolutely addictive. I would eat this salad every day of my life.

Italian Chicories

Little Gem Hearts

Every pasta on the menu sounded irresistable, but we narrowed it down to 2. I had never heard of or seen a Busiate noodle, which is a long, thin, corkscrew shape, and while it was a whimsical choice, I don't think it was the right pasta for the sauce. Actually, it was more like a broth, featuring Crab, Tomato Confit, Garlic and Lemon. Very robust in flavor, but very thin, and did not cling to the noodle whatsoever. It was actually pretty hard to eat, especially on the appetizer-sized plates we were given. The flavor was a success, but I did not think the execution on this dish was.

Busiate with Crab

Agnolotti is one of my favorite pastas. They are like little dumplings, and Brodeto's rendition is filled with Celeriac, a hint of Black Truffle, Goat Butter and Parmesan. They float dreamily in a light broth (again, not really a sauce) which was again difficult to eat with forks on our much-too-small plates. (I suppose we should have asked for spoons and bowls for these dishes). The pasta dough is so tender and the filling is just bursting at the seams. This was a beautifully composed dish, I just wish it had been easier to enjoy. (It would have been much easier if a single diner were to enjoy these pasta dishes, but they encourage family-style dining, so they could consider altering how they set up dishes to be shared.)


We opted out of dessert (options were limited and the newly-opened Andia's Ice Cream is right next door). I applaud the service and the cool calmness with which the staff managed the restaurant. I did not have to ask for water once during the meal (side note - the water cups are very cool, they look like clear, plastic solo cups but they are glass!) and the food was coursed out appropriately. The team at Brodeto is all working together to ensure diners have an excellent experience. Save up a few pennies (you will definitely need them) and treat yourself to a taste of the Adriatic.

Dining partner + friend of 20 years