Review: The Broadway Deli

The Broadway Deli
1457 3rd Street Promenade
Santa Monica, CA 90401

When in Santa Monica, do as the Santa Monicans do. Or don’t, as this place is crawling with tourists like myself… On one early, muggy Saturday morning, a close friend and I find ourselves strolling down the lovely Promenade of Santa Monica, wondering where best to fill our stomaches before heading off to a long day at the Getty. The cobblestone path is dotted with tall palm trees and cute animal shaped hedges. Stretches of colorful shops and bustling bistros give the Promenade a rather Parisian vibe, almost remnant of Champs-Élysées (minus the price tags) in my humble opinion.

After a late night showing of Wicked and a trip to USC that resulted in skipping dinner, we were absolutely famished come morning, but we were soo lucky that directly across from the parking structure at the corner of Broadway and 3rd – there it was – like a mirage in the desert – a restaurant boasting fresh, homemade bagels; a deli and patisserie well-stocked with all sorts of cheeses and tons of delicious pastries, including our pre-breakfast lemon meringue cake. The Broadway Deli saved us a trip down the Promenade of looking at menus (our usual custom), and we were just so enamored by the modern charm of the place and the hearty menu was definitely catering to our early morning stomach pangs.

Lemon Meringue Cake

Being hungry and self-proclaimed (and proud of it) pigs, we each ordered a plate off their combo special menu. I asked for the Smoked Salmon Scramble, which came with a side of hash browns and a delightfully toasted homemade bagel. Someoneiknow ordered the Crunchy French Toast Combo paired with 2 eggs (he asked for over easy) and 2 sausages. Now, I am not usually a fan of eggs. I think Piggy once told me there is enough cholesterol in an egg to last me like a month (or something like that). And these weren’t especially memorable either. The hash was typical, and not spectacular? Bland actually. But my lightly toasted, golden brown bagel was to die for! I have had quite a few bagels in my life time, but none are as good as the Broadway’s. The dough wasn’t too pliable or chewy or dense. It was just perfectly tender, while the outside crust was ever so slightly crunchy and textured. With a little cream cheese, oh, I feel like those angels on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese commercials!

And as for someoneiknow’s dish – I have a horrible sweet tooth, so of course French Toast is a winner. Crusted with almond slices and speckled with powdered sugar – the crunchy texture, the sweet pull of the bread, the fine grains of Confectioner’s sugar that flutter and fly all over your mouth – what a wonderful breakfast experience, wouldn’t you agree? And I am a big fan of aesthetic food. It needs to look good to convince me that it tastes good. I want a sensual experience when I eat, such that all my senses are awakened. And this dish does just that. Visual appeal, olfactory satisfaction – the works. But again, the eggs were ehh and the sausages weren’t anything to die for.

Now in addition to a decent breakfast menu, the Broadway Deli also boasts a bakery, coffee sop, International Market and fromagerie. I don’t personally like cheese, so I cannot say much other than that it has a wide selection of aged cheese, smoked meats, and wines. We were able to sample the bakery and quite excited to see bagel-making in action. The display windows filled with hot-from-the-oven cookies, scones, muffins, tarts, cakes, pies are drool inducing. Someoneiknow’s lemon meringue cake wasn’t bad either, but left much to be desired – a better contrast of flavors perhaps from the cake and meringue. It all was sort of sweet and lemony, but nothing stood out. It was quite pretty, however…

So, the Broadway has a good menu, friendly (if not a bit on the slower side) staff, street views of Broadway, and a comfortable, casual, lounge atmosphere. It is worth trying out if you happen to have enough dough to fit the somewhat steep bill – it is definitely not for the college student pocket. Well, perhaps if it’s a weekend treat, like after finals or long week. Though, I think I could come up with better places to treat yourself for less $$$ and more bang. But, it is does satisfy a starving tummy, and is quite fulfilling. So if you happen to be caught up in Santa Monica, perhaps you should come down to the Broadway Deli for some good dining. Until soon, and maybe our paths will meet at the next restaurant I review.

Arrivederci!
Anh D

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