Monday, February 24, 2014

Broadway Diner Revisited

When the Broadway Diner opened in the early 2000s, I was cautiously optimistic. There was a dearth of good restaurants in the Dundalk area, limiting our dining options whenever Minx and I would visit my mother and brother. A diner would provide a place where everyone could get something regardless of what they had an appetite for, the portions would be big, and the prices reasonable. The only question was, would the food taste good? Well, we were happy to find that the food exceeded our expectations and, over the years, we have enjoyed many a meal there.

I have fond memories of eating at the Broadway Diner, most of them football related. I recall watching Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers win a divisional playoff game against the Seahawks in a raging snowstorm while eating prime rib, for example. And for some reason, we were always at the diner when the first round of the NFL draft was going on. I watched the Baltimore Ravens draft the likes of Haloti Ngata, Ben Grubbs, Joe Flacco, and Michael Oher while enjoying meat loaf, cheeseburgers, and roast chicken. The Minx even reviewed the diner way back in 2008.

Sadly, since my mother can not get around easily anymore, we haven't been to the diner in a few years. Then the other day, we were heading to Essex and decided to stop hop off I-95 at the Eastern Avenue exit to grab some dinner. At first. we were assaulted with the plethora of Guy Fieri pictures on the wall (he filmed a segment of Diners, Dipshits, and Douchebags there a few years ago), so we averted our eyes and followed the host to our table. Broadway has all the familiar chrome and glass decor one associates with a modern diner trying to make you feel like you are in the past. Despite the artifice, the place has always had an air of genuine warmth. The wait staff is friendly and there are always regulars chatting at the counter. It just feels comfortable there.

After being away for some time, we felt some trepidation that the food may not be what it was. The Minx was not all that hungry, but chose to splurge on the broiled crab cake platter. Just as I have a fixation with meat loaf, Minx has to try every crab cake in town. Broadway's crab cakes were pretty top notch. The large and meaty cakes, which looked to have been formed with an ice cream scoop, were nicely broiled to an actual brown (unlike the albino broiled cakes served in many other restaurants). There was both minimal breading and binder holding together the moderately-sized lumps of crab, making for a somewhat firm cake. The flavor was herbacious in bites, and crab-spiced in others, which was a bit unusual, but the flavor of the seafood manged to shine through. The picky Minx felt these were top-notch cakes. Offering both tartar sauce and cocktail sauce was a nice touch.

Broiled Crab Cakes
Since I was going to be speaking with people later that evening, I searched the menu for something that would not generate bad breath. The Chicken Diana looked to fit the bill with chunks of tender chicken breast, asparagus, broccoli, and a blanket of melted Swiss cheese over angel hair pasta. Mild and creamy with a healthy portion of pasta, it was rich and comforting while offering enough green vegetables (a shame the asparagus was a bit bland and overcooked) to make me feel like I was eating healthily. The huge portion almost required a doggy bag, but I polished off the plate.

Chicken Diana - Chicken breast, asparagus, broccoli,
and swiss cheese sauce over angel hair pasta
We didn't have time for dessert, but we knew from past experience that they were also quite good. It was reassuring to find that one of our favorite diners had not lost any of its appeal after all these years. We hope to make some more memories soon.

Broadway Diner
6501 Eastern Avenue
Baltimore, MD 21224

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