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Good Food!

Great Brunch and Sandwiches — Bring on the Brats and the King of Meats!

Restaurant: Bohemian Brewery
Pub Fare, Salads, Sanwiches, Steak & Pizza
Location: 94 E. 7200 S., Midvale (Map)
Price Range: $4-$24
A- — See Foodie Report

I had not been to the Bohemian for quite some time so, one Sunday afternoon, I decided to head back. If you haven't been there, it was previously a restaurant called the Hunter's Lodge. They kept a lot of the original decor, with the mounted heads of wild game on the walls, but added to it, making it feel almost like a ski lodge in the Alps. Last I knew, it was open on Sunday, and it proved not to have changed. What had changed, however, was the parking lot. It had twice as much parking area and had a line of foliage separating the new portion from the old that was really pretty nice — for a parking lot.

Inside, no customers were present, and the hostess said it was because most people sat on the patio at this time of year. So I followed that lead. I have never sat on the patio, and I like trying new things.

The patio, although not large, was really beautiful. There are vines and flowers dense enough to form walls and openings like windows in those walls that provide a nice view of the mountains. It was a very pleasant surprise, and welcome.

The tables are steel mesh, which looked nice, but left a little to be desired when seated. Before my food arrives, I'm one who puts an elbow (or two) on the table, and leans on them. Doing that here leaves you with elbows like waffle fries. I would think that a plate of clear plastic would allow them to maintain the look without risking their patrons' flesh.

When the waiter came out, he was very bright and professional and told me that I was lucky to come in on Sunday, because they have an excellent brunch. Being a fan of brunch, I did feel lucky. I looked over the menu and wished that there were a few more selections, but the things listed looked appealing. There was a breakfast sandwich that looked good on a plate at a nearby table, but there was also a breakfast entrée that gave the option of bacon or bratwurst for the meat. I asked the waiter about that, because you don't have bratwurst as an option every day, and he agreed. "The bratwurst is awesome," he said, "but we have really good bacon, too." So, going with the trend of the day, I went with what was different — the bratwurst.

The meal came rather quickly, on a nice plate that was simple and elegant. I ordered my eggs scrambled and it also came with house potatoes. I promptly cut into the grilled brat and took a bite.

First words out of my mouth: "That is an awesome bratwurst."

It was spicy, but not so much that was all you got out of it. I could still taste the pork and the smokiness of the grill marks on the casing. The eggs were cooked well without being hard or, at the opposite end of the spectrum, runny. The potatoes were well seasoned and complemented the other items on the plate without overpowering. The garnish was some sliced strawberries and a slice of orange. This was also very nice, going right along with what I can only describe as a bright, sunny meal.

And, of course, I achieved my goal: that life-is-good feeling that comes with a full stomach.

The biggest problem I had with the meal was that it was so hot. It was the beginning of July, which means that it's hot. There was an umbrella over the table, but it was too small, so I felt like my right knee was being sunburned, and the structure of the table prevented me from being able to move it and still reach my food. And that's one thing that should never happen; never block a man from his food. I think that if they add a little lattice on the roof, between those large beams, it would fix that problem.

Last words out of my mouth: "They do have an excellent brunch.

Again, there was a big gap between my second visit and the first one. This time, it was August, with a temperature of about a hundred, so I opted for dining inside, rather than on the patio. The hostess said that wasn't a problem and seated me near the fireplace (thankfully inert in the summer) that is the centerpiece of the lower dining area. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was pleased to see that the brunch was all weekend, not just on Sunday, but I was more in the mood for lunch. I know they have awesome goulash but, like I said, it was a very hot day, so I wanted something cold. So that led me to the portion of the menu labeled Bohemian Sandwiches. The Bohemian Club looked interesting, with ham and bacon, cheddar and house aoili, then I saw the Verona Sandwich and the first word in the description — prosciutto.

I love prosciutto. My ex-wife used to criticize me for eating chunks of it straight when preparing pasta for it, saying that it had too strong a flavor to eat straight. But I tend to favor the opinion of a Sicilian friend of mine who, anytime someone mentioned prosciutto, he would throw his hands in the air and proudly declare it the king of meats.

So my mind was made up: the Verona Sandwich. It would come with fresh mozzarella, basil, tomato, lettuce and dijon vinaigrette, all on a Parmesan roll. The different flavors sounded very interesting. I love basil, but was unsure how it would be included, and didn't ask the waiter, because I thought it might be a pleasant surprise. I was right.

There were TVs running on mute behind the bar section of the restaurant, and there were framed medals on the walls for the awards they have earned for their microbrew. I really wished I could get one of those, but it wasn't going to work for me that day.

My lunch arrived rather quickly, surprising me, and the first thing I smelled was the side of garlic fries. The sandwich was on a nice roll, browned on top with the Parmesan, and the fries were very thin and sprinkled with bits of parsley.

First words out of my mouth: "Wow. Fast and pretty."

So I hit the fries, and was pleased to find that they used real garlic. A lot of people associate garlic with the intense flavor of garlic powder, which is dried and, as naturally follows, is very potent, because the flavor is condensed. Fresh garlic is more subtle, coming smoothly, and that was certainly the case here. Next, I picked up my sandwich and was pleased that, although the bread was crusty on the outside, I could feel that it was soft on the inside. From an edge view, there was a good amount of prosciutto, and the mozzarella was sliced about a quarter-inch thick, about the same as the tomato I could see, which had me worried that it might mute everything else. I was wrong on that one.

First words out of my mouth after first bite: "That's definitely basil."

There were whole leaves of fresh basil on the sandwich, with a ratio of about one basil to two lettuce. It hit me first, almost overpowering, but managed to walk that line without crossing it. Next came the salty goodness of the prosciutto, then the almost honey-mustard quality of the dijon vinaigrette, then the parmesan roll. The layers of flavor were really amazing. Each bite, I found myself exploring the flavors, then the textures, with the crusty bread, soft inside, crunchy lettuce, almost chewy prosciutto, and so on. It was really an excellent sandwich, and I found myself unable to set it down. I just kept eating and eating, hardly touching my garlic fries, until I had eaten the entire thing. When I went back to the garlic fries, I found that I enjoyed them even more after first eating the sandwich, like the shift if flavor profiles amplified the goodness. And I plowed through the fries like I did the sandwich. The waiter came by one to see if I was finished, but must have saw me grip my fork in a defensive posture, because he backed off and didn't come back to ask again until I was done mopping up the dijon vinaigrette with my last garlic fry. What a great meal! And I achieved that life-is-good feeling with a full stomach.

Last words out of my mouth: "I need to come here more often." Foodie Report

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     food·ie (fd)
     noun. Slang.  A person who has an ardent or refined interest in food; a gourmet.