The first thing you need to know about One Broad Street is that it occupies a truly gorgeous former bank building at the T-bone of East Bay and Broad streets. It’s a remarkable restoration, two years in the making, and worth a stop just to gawk at the ornate trim.
The second thing you need to know is that if you are in any way, shape, or form trying to work on your summer body, do not even *glance* in the direction of the glass pastry case. (Hint: It’s to the left as you enter.) While I expect no less from the same folks behind Normandy Farms bakery, it should maybe be plastered with a warning label.
Should you fail to heed this counsel and thus acquaint yourself with the cinnamon buns? Say goodbye to your tight buns. Dare just a bite of the chocolate-dipped almond horn? Prepare to abandon your bikini physique in favor of a full-on Buddha body, although it’s arguably worth it.
Despite the presence of such lavish pastry options, One Broad’s embellished, yet cavernous space has something of a deli vibe. High on the walls, felt letter boards detail coffee and drink offerings, as well as a list of local providers and the surf report. By the windows there are a few tables — one which offers communal seating, if that’s what you’re into — plus a long central bar.
Since the place was packed and I’d rather take a bullet than share a meal with strangers, my party opted for a spot at the bar. Here, service is friendly and laid-back, if not a little pokey, although the bartender understandably has other duties as well. Try one of the classic cocktails — or two — and you’ll soon forgive him.
One Broad’s Jewish deli theme continues with the latke and corned beef tongue ($12). Topped with a flourish of sour cream and some sliced apples, the namesake potato pancake is by-the-book and quite satisfying. That stated, although remarkably well-prepared, the house-made corned beef tongue had strong nutmeg notes that didn’t really work for me. If you love all things pumpkin spice, then this might just be your meaty jam. If you prefer not to encounter nutmeg outside the occasional creamed spinach or eggnog, then maybe not so much.
Vegetarians beware, the schmaltz roasted potatoes ($7) are not for you. Long the backbone of Jewish cooking, schmaltz is chicken fat that’s been rendered down to a lard-like state. Here, it imparts a rich flavor to the crisp potato quarters. Topped with tangy kimchee and a massive dollop of sour cream, it’s simultaneously creative and gratifying.
The scrapple breakfast sandwich ($7) is all pig, all the time. Arguably an acquired taste, the pig liver, offal, and cornmeal-based breakfast meat has a crisp exterior and traditionally mushy middle. “I know this! This is Habbersett brand,” enthused my dining companion. Although he’d tell you they are lying, One Broad’s kitchen claimed the scrapple is also made in-house, a misconception which likely doubles as the highest possible praise from a Philadelphia native. Served on a hard roll with a fried egg and a slice of American cheese, it’s a vicarious trip to a Mid-Atlantic state diner.
Continuing the tribute to regional cuisine, Detroit pizza ($7 per slice) proves that Motor City has its own idea of deep dish. Square, with a thick, doughy crust that’s suitably oily and brown around the edges, it’s often sold in Italian bakeries on a piece of aluminum foil. The One Broad rendition forgoes the “red pizza” tradition with the sauce on top, in lieu of a chunky tomato sauce directly on the bready crust. Topped with pepperoncini rings and a thin layer of salami, the break with tradition is likely to showcase the burrata cheese on top. Served with a ramekin of ranch dressing, it’s yet another tribute to the gluten-based prowess in the kitchen.
But it’s not all pastries and focaccia. The Bloody Mary ($8) took a veritable lifetime to prepare, but the hand-crafted cocktail was absolute perfection. Similarly, the charred broccoli gratin ($9) reveals an unexpected marriage of low-brow and high falutin’. Made with breadcrumbs and a ‘govt cheese’ mornay, it’s simple and gooey, yet unassailably elevated by the well-charred broccoli.
Correspondingly, the clams ($20) are a rich and elegant option. Here, five slices of seared pork belly join a dozen bivalves in a decadent, creamy zucchini broth. Drizzled with an oregano-infused olive oil and garnished with sprigs of fresh parsley, it’s accompanied by a single long slice of baguette. Not nearly enough bread for soaking-it-all-up purposes, it’s pretty clear they’re daring you to slurp directly out of the bowl. Or at least that’s how I interpreted it. Don’t judge.
Served on a large bed of frilly mustard greens, the two huge blobs of burrata ($10) are a hedonistic treat. Heavily dressed in a meyer lemon vinaigrette and topped with a generous portion of fried slivered almonds, this is about as debauched as salad gets, while still remaining fresh and light.
An unexpected mashup of Jewish deli, upscale bakery, and full bar, One Broad does justice to the grand dame of a building in which it resides. Whether popping in for a coffee and a breakfast sandwich or staying a while for a full meal, maybe go ahead and have one of those pastries after all. It’s worth it.
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