Bread and Brew delivers true comfort food
The onset of winter inevitably brings along the irrepressible desire for comfort food. From rustic soups to savory meat loafs to bubbling ramekins of casseroles and macaroni and cheese, there’s something about snow and cold temperatures that summons up a primordial need for warm, rich dishes.
And so Bread and Brew, the new Midtown restaurant, arrives at the perfect time. This new joint just southeast of the New Seward Highway and Tudor Road intersection specializes in one of comfort food’s crown jewels: the buttery, gooey grilled cheese sandwich.
Having heard only positive things about Bread and Brew since it opened earlier this year, I finally made it by on a recent Friday – and found the place absolutely, completely packed. It turned out it was a networking luncheon for young professionals, hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. After ordering at the counter, my friend and I were lucky to find a spot at the bar, and sitting there we also had a front-row seat when one of the co-owners hopped up on a ledge to address the crowd.
He introduced himself as Jesse James – yes, really. Brewer-scruffy, handsome, and casually dressed, James grinned as he warmly welcomed the crowd, explaining that he, his sister and their parents – all lifelong Alaskans – are the owners of the restaurant.
“We really wanted to fill a need in Midtown,” James said. “Comfort food. Everyone loves grilled cheeses, I think. And we decided better yet, let’s throw in a bunch of beer and wine.
“We will try to be as awesome as we can in the future for you.”
Indeed, our experience – and the food – was completely awesome. We started out with a pair of appetizers, the bread bites with cheese and the Pot Tots. The bread bites were a hit: soft-baked triangles of flatbread came dusted with salty, crunchy bits of parmesan and hot garlic butter, and the only thing wrong with the rich dipper of smooth cheddar and ale flavors was that we didn’t have more of it. The Pot Tots, it turns out, were simply tater tots. But when is that ever a bad thing?
I opted for the apple and bacon grilled cheese, and its promised “flavor burst” didn’t disappoint. The sandwich came grilled to perfection, cut into two triangles, with gooey layers of melting sharp cheddar and smoked gouda, chewy strips of maple bacon, and thinly sliced crescents of tart green apple. All grilled cheeses come with a tomato soup dipper, and the interplay of sweet apple, savory bacon and creamy soup was absolutely delightful.
It was hard to settle on the apple and bacon sandwich; other options include a classic grilled cheese, a Hawaiian version with ham and pineapple, or a chicken bacon ranch concoction.
My friend looked to the other sandwich offerings, ranging from a Cubano to a spicy turkey to a BLT that’s jazzed up with the tantalizing addition of a fried egg. He opted for the French dip, a generously portioned sandwich on a hoagie roll, spread with creamy horseradish mayo, caramelized onions, folds of savory roast beef, and a marbled blue cheese, served with a side of au jus. The sturdy hoagie was a perfect vehicle for the layers of rich meat and cheese, sweet onions, and the sweet kick of the amped-up mayo.
Bread and Brew’s website menu is fairly comprehensive, but we were excited to find things on the menu there that we didn’t see online. Its salads look interesting, fresh and delicious, and after 4 p.m., offerings expand to include flat bread and sliders.
And let’s not forget the beverages. Bread and Brew pays homage to the great things happening in Alaska’s craft beer industry by offering a sizable sampling of some of our state’s finest frothy beverages, with more than 20 choices on tap.
Bread and Brew is at 1450 E. Tudor Road, Suite 100 Anchorage, AK 99507. Hours are Monday to Friday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For information call 562-2739 or go to breadandbrewak.com/.
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