Saranda’s On Broadway
Saranda’s on Broadway is located in one of Bethlehem’s oldest buildings. Dating back to 1745, this marvelous building has been completely restored keeping much of the original structure intact to maintain the ambiance. Original beams and stone walls are exposed in the bar area accented by Thomas Edison lighting. There were renovations around 1860 when much of the dining area was updated. The end result is that Saranda’s presents a very attractive setting in which to enjoy delicious, classically prepared French cuisine.
The friendly atmosphere of Saranda’s is welcoming. We chatted with Dana who was mixing drinks when we visited. Soft blue lights under the bar add a glow to the glassware and accent the entire bar area that seats about 12. There are six high tops adjacent to the bar which are in demand on weekends for enjoying live jazz music. The cutout of the Hill-to-Hill Bridge separating the bar from the back dining room is unique and created solely for this space.
Owner/Chef Andy Brovina and his business partner Josh Pudleiner have taken great pains to preserve the originality of the structure not only in its present state but also with ongoing renovations, both upstairs to house a future piano bar and additional outdoor dining space.
After enjoying wine at the bar we were seated at our table. I admired the white linen-topped tables, finely upholstered chairs, shiny wide plank floors and attractive artwork dotting the walls. The dining room is classy yet understated and the owners again took steps necessary to maintain the differences between the original and newer sections of the building.
Bill and Morgan were our servers for the night. A very entertaining Bill presented our menus and specials for the evening. I ordered the Duck Napoleon as a starter. The warm duck confit was layered with goat cheese between crispy wontons and served on baby greens drizzled with a blueberry truffle vinaigrette. I loved the taste and many textures of this appetizer. Tom, of course, ordered the seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras served on toasted brioche with apple and pear coulis and a balsamic reduction. He raved about his appetizer. Having tasted both, I simply cannot choose a favorite but will say that the presentation on both plates was lovely.
Other appetizers on the menu include Smoked Tuna Tartare – seasoned yellow fin tuna, quail egg yolk, tobiko (flying fish) caviar, apple and garlic crostini; Steamed Mussels; Escargot en croute and Oysters Rockefeller. In addition, there were two soups – Crab Bisque and French Onion as well as three salads: Roasted Beet Carpaccio with baby arugula, goat cheese, oyster mushrooms; a Salad Nicoise with seared tuna, red onion, Kalamata Olives, capers, egg and anchovy and a Caesar all with classic dressings.
Making our dinner selections presented a more difficult challenge. There were many interesting entrees from which to choose but I selected the Shrimp and Crab Empinards. This scrumptious tower of jumbo lump crab and shrimp sat atop wonderful mushroom-truffle risotto and sautéed spinach. I absolutely loved this meal. It was uniquely prepared and I savored every mouthful. Tom decided on the Osso Bucco which was a special that night. Now, anyone who orders Osso Bucco knows how hit or miss this meal can be. The Osso Bucco at Saranda’s this night was perfect. The very lean Veal Shank was classically prepared in a delicious broth rich with vegetables and just the right hints of orange and lemon making this dish a savory delight.
Tom has already decided to order Bouillabaisse when we next visit. However, I will be hard pressed to decide between the Veal Chop au poivre with sautéed wild mushrooms or the Crispy Seared Scottish Salmon over marinated lentils, roasted beets topped with a strawberry fennel slaw.
Owner and Chef de Cuisine Andy Brovina was born in Albania and emigrated to the U.S. when he was 12. He went on to serve in the Army after high school and after his discharge, traveled throughout Europe visiting his family who owned restaurants in many countries. He went “cousin to cousin” learning cooking techniques and the tricks of the trade. He returned home with this knowledge and Saranda’s is the result.
Together with Executive Chef Craig Butler who brings CIA training and many years of experience to Sarandas, they use only the freshest and finest ingredients while sticking to the basics creating classical dishes with a contemporary touch. The owners are excited about the on-going renovations which will not only increase the dining capacity but will allow for expansion of the kitchen facilities which is every chefs dream.
For dessert we shared a Caramel Pecan Tart in a delicious buttery crust. Together with coffee in huge coffee mugs, this was a delicious ending to a lovely evening. The food was delicious, ambiance charming and the service was wonderfully entertaining and friendly. We will not hesitate to visit again soon for some lively jazz on the weekend.
Saranda’s on Broadway is located at 1828 Broadway in Bethlehem’s Fountain Hill Section. Hours are Tuesday to Thursday 4 – 9 p.m., Friday and Saturday 4 – 10 p.m. and Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.. Call 610.861.8181 or log onto sarandasonbroadway.com for reservations, complete menu or other information on upcoming events or planning a private party. There is both on-street parking as well as a parking lot in the rear of the building.
Popcorn – Recipes to Give the Small Kernel Big Flavor
Americans consume 13 billion quarts of popped popcorn annually… that’s 41 quarts per man, woman and child each year! According to The Popcorn Institute, approximately 70 percent is eaten at home (home popped and pre-popped) and about 30 percent is eaten at theaters, stadiums, schools, and other outside venues.
The world’s largest popcorn ball, according to Guinness World Records 2015, weighed in at 6,510-pounds, 8 feet in diameter.
At the heart of this endearing little kernel is a healthful whole-grain. Popcorn adds fiber to the diet, is naturally low in fat and calories, gluten-free, and non-GMO. Add in popcorn’s irresistible smell and taste, and it’s easy to understand why popcorn has remained so popular.
Standard salt and butter is a classic topping, but if you want to get creative when it comes to flavoring your popcorn, the sky’s the limit. Once the popcorn finishes popping, dump it into a big bowl. Pour, drizzle, or sprinkle on the topping, and then toss it all together until the popcorn is well-coated. The most important tip for flavoring your popcorn, no matter what kind of topping you use, is to flavor it when it’s still warm from the stove or microwave. Whether you’re dressing it with butter, oil, melted chocolate, or spices, they’ll adhere and absorb best when the popcorn is still warm.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons Old Bay Seasoning in a small skillet over medium heat; drizzle over 12 cups hot popcorn and toss with 4 cups oyster crackers.
Whisk 5 tablespoons melted butter with 1/4 cup Sriracha, 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest and 1 tablespoon lime juice; drizzle over 16 cups hot popcorn and toss. Season with salt.
Melt 4 tablespoons butter with 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne and 2 chopped scallions; drizzle over 16 cups hot popcorn and toss. Season with salt.
Melt 6 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons each of lime juice and tequila, 2 teaspoons each of sugar and kosher salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lime zest in a skillet over medium heat; drizzle over 12 cups hot popcorn and toss with 4 cups lightly crushed lime-flavored tortilla chips.
Honey Brown Butter
Brown 1/4 cup of unsalted butter in a small saucepan. Remove from heat and whisk in 1/4 cup of honey and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Drizzle over popcorn and stir until well-coated.
Dill Pickle Popcorn
In a small bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons ground coriander, 2 teaspoons dried dill, 1/2 teaspoon ground mustard, 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon celery seed, 1/2 teaspoon citric acid, and 1 tablespoon salt. Melt 1/4 cup of unsalted butter over low heat. Drizzle the butter and sprinkle the herb mixture over the popcorn, then stir until the popcorn is well-coated.