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A First Look at Brodeto | Listen

By: Amber Chase

Headshot of Scott Crawford cooking at his latest restaurant, Brodeto

Scott Crawford is not a stranger to the Raleigh culinary scene. With Jolie and Crawford & Son spearheading his footprint in the Triangle, the anticipation for his next concept has been building for years. While his first two restaurants were built around personal heritage and nostalgic moments, Brodeto will be a conceptual restaurant homing in on a feeling he and his family experienced during their travels along the Adriatic sea. The name, Brodeto, references a simple fish soup that Crawford consumed in each city he visited during his trek. Reflecting on his first experience sipping a brodeto, Crawford says, “You feel like you’re tasting all that a city has to offer in a singular, brothy bowl. I still have a distinct memory on my palate of the broth I tried in Puglia, the salt dancing on my tongue from the clam juices and that rich, savory flavor from the fish bones.” 

For Crawford, harnessing the memory of his time exploring Croatia and Italy is akin to replicating the experience of his first time floating in the Adriatic: a weightless buoyancy that feels otherworldly. The culinary culture of the coast requires a distinct sense of marinating, an intentional soaking in of humble flavors that slowly seep into your bones. Culturally, eating is less of an act of consumption and more of a celebration of flavor and the journey ingredients take before hitting a spoon. Crawford recalls a particular afternoon where he and his family stole away to an island off the coast of Croatia and he spent the afternoon cooking over coals alongside a local chef. Freshly grilled prawns and oysters, sweet, juicy local fruit, and a slow-cooked peka buried beneath the coals overcame their language barrier and created a communal celebration of the sea’s daily bounty. 

Lamb peka potatoes carrots fennel and olives served in ceramic bell shaped vessel by HAAND at Brodeto

At Brodeto, Crawford hopes to recreate the serenity of that day, a place where time slows, flavors are coaxed out of ingredients, and guests can walk away with a feeling of abundance. With this in mind, Crawford partnered with Louis Cherry Architecture, curating neutral tones and textures with emphasis on stone and tile reminiscent of the Croatian design. The interiors feel organic and tranquil, incorporating modern lighting to reference the ebb and flow of a seascape and mimic the subtleties of an Adriatic sunset. Art by Thomas Sayre, a friend and mentor of Crawford’s, translates the key components of water, smoke, and fire through his medium of earth casting to enliven the space. A large leather courtside bar creates a cape in the center of Brodeto which Crawford fondly compares to a large pillar of salt. 

house made gelato with pistachio at Brodeto in Raleigh

In many ways, salt is a core concept within Brodeto, cementing itself in the design, execution, and inspiration behind the ethos of the restaurant. When reading through the menu, you can feel that distinct sea breeze and trace the current of the sea through each dish. “In Croatia, they practice cooking with restraint. To me, this means keeping ingredients minimal but emphasizing bold flavors,” says Crawford. “There’s something remarkable about ingredients that are simply plated then drizzled with good olive oil.” Brodeto will feature a selection of bright and composed crudos like scallop with saffron, green olive, and orange or razor clam with ramp vinegar, salsa verde, and speck. While Crawford himself is not native to the region, he hopes to vibrantly convey his experience of the culture that deeply inspired him with as much authenticity as possible, including integrating coals as a method of heating each dish with that smoky essence. Brodeto’s handcrafted breads will be made with traditional Croatian methods for focaccia, pogaca, sourdough, and potato bread that are ideal vessels for sopping up broths. In addition, the menu will feature house rice and pasta dishes like a traditional black risotto with cuttlefish, baby octopus, and parmesan and a sheep’s milk ricotta stuffed anolini. Two star dishes from the menu, brodeto and peka, can be served family-style or as a single dish. The desserts will be equally enticing with options like a rustic olive oil cake with whipped mascarpone and housemade gelato. 

As Brodeto opens its doors to the community in the coming weeks, Crawford hopes that feeling of weightless abundance translates throughout every dish and that guests catch just a little bit of that Adriatic sea breeze.

open coal grilling happening at Brodeto

Opening Menu at Brodeto

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