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Brothers' Restaurant builds a committed fan base

If you’re one of those people who gets giddy the night before thinking about breakfast and that first sip of coffee the next morning, you’ve probably already discovered Brothers’ Restaurant in Ashland, a favorite of tourists and locals for more than 40 years.

Located at 95 N. Main St., it’s open daily from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brothers’ is a triple threat, offering breakfast, lunch and libations.

Karen and I dined at Brothers’ with friends a couple times last week, but we were fans long before we moved here 10 years ago.

Let’s talk about breakfast first.

There are a dozen three-egg omelets on the menu, plus a build-your-own option.

One of my favorites has bacon, red potatoes, green onions, fresh garlic and jack cheese for $14.50. The diced potatoes have a nice crust on them. The garlic adds a delicate, nutty flavor. The jack is a nice change from the usual cheddar, and the chopped scallions add an extra hit of flavor and color. Do I even need to mention the bacon?

Another favorite is the omelet with lox, red potatoes, onions, capers, and chevre cheese for $14.95. It will make your taste buds dance with its medley of briny, creamy, salty, earthy flavors. Omelets come with a choice of sides and breads.

Brothers’ sources ingredients locally whenever possible. Their bagels are from The Little Shop of Bagels and the french rolls are from La Baguette, both in Ashland.

Don’t leave town without trying one of Brothers’ scones. The basic recipe is from renowned pastry chef Bo Friberg whom Brothers’ owner Dan Durant met years ago at culinary school in the Bay Area. Durant’s talented chefs create the scone of the day by incorporating ingredients from the Brothers’ pantry, such as dried fruits, berries, chocolate chips, nuts and spices. Karen described her plum-almond scone as slightly sweet, crusty on the outside, biscuit-textured within, and filled with tasty morsels of fruit and nut. Everybody at the table wanted a bite.

Alice, a friend from Eugene, ordered one of the scrambles, another take on eggs for breakfast at Brothers’. Her choice was the wild salmon scramble for $14.95.

The eggs were scrambled with salmon, mushrooms, green onions and pesto. Shared bites confirmed the wisdom of her choice. The pesto’s flavor profile of basil, garlic and parmesan was delicious with the salmon. She gave five stars to the hash browns. At Brothers’, they’re always crisp, nicely seasoned and never greasy, soggy or half-raw under the crisp.

The breakfast menu includes six different eggs-and-meat combinations (with two eggs, a side and bread for $8.95, or two eggs, a side, bread and choice of meat for $10.95. The meat choices are bacon, ham, pork-sage or chicken-apple sausage, sausage patty or ground beef). The house specialties include a variety of non-egg dishes.

Karen tried the cheese blintzes for $13.95. House-made crepes are filled with cottage cheese, cream cheese, lemon and vanilla. Instead of the basic accompaniments of sour cream and preserves, she opted for fresh strawberries and whipped cream. It was a delectable, rich treat.

At another Brothers’ outing, friends John and Ann joined us. John ordered the corned beef hash for $13.95. It was a savory combination of corned beef, red potatoes, bacon, red and green bell peppers, onions, garlic and thyme, served with two eggs. John enjoyed the flavor and texture but craved more corned beef in the hash.

Ann tried the potato pancakes for $10.95. They had a beautiful golden-brown crispness, and the house-made organic apple sauce was a wonderful sweet-tart accompaniment.

Brothers’ has a lunch menu as creative and varied as the breakfast side, offering salads, deli sandwiches, soups and burgers.

I ordered a Caesar salad for $11.95, served with a classic creamy, tangy dressing that has a nice balance of lemon, garlic, and Parmesan. I found the romaine fresh and tender-crisp, and loved the crunch of the scattered croutons. You can pay extra to add grilled chicken or a sautéed salmon filet.

Brothers’ is about as famous for its burgers as for its breakfasts. There’s been a lot of hype these days about the new “impossible” veggie burgers, but Brothers’ has offered a zucchini burger for years ($10.95). Karen had one for lunch, and she shared a bite with me. It’s amazing, made of seasoned shredded zucchini and chopped almonds with lettuce, tomato, red onion, and thousand island dressing.

Durant said they used to grind the almonds, but switched to chopped, which adds a crunchy, more substantial texture to the burger. It’s a winner. You can customize your burger by adding cheese, bacon, teriyaki mushrooms or guacamole.

The french fries are made with Kennebec potatoes, a variety that has a firm texture perfectly suited for frying. They are fresh-cut daily and fried in rice bran oil with a high burn point, resulting in a fry with a crunchy exterior and a light, fluffy interior. You can order some with your burger for $2 extra or get a bigger side order for $3.95.

Brothers’ always has two soups on the menu — the house-made vegetarian soup of the day, and their famous Brothers’ Mother’s Chicken Soup. The chicken soup has been on the menu since the restaurant opened in 1971, but Durant tweaked the recipe after he bought the place. He now makes the stock in-house by simmering chicken with carrots, celery, onions, herbs and seasonings. It makes a big difference in the depth of flavor achieved. White and wild rice are added to the soup, giving it an appealing texture.

The menu features a selection of cold and hot drinks (Noble’s coffee), beer, wines and cocktails. Karen and I both enjoyed a drink during the short wait for our food. I had a bacon Bloody Mary, the weekend special. It was an inspired creation of bacon-infused vodka and house-made Bloody Mary mix, garnished with a strip of bacon, pearl onions, green olive and a pickled green bean. I’ll be back for another! Karen had a pineapple-mango mimosa that put a smile on her face.

Brothers’ waitstaff is friendly, well-trained and eager to please. They always find a way to accommodate special requests.

The coffee, tea and soft drinks are bottomless. Food can be ordered to go.

There are vegan and gluten-free options. And you’ll find two lists of specials — one for Monday through Friday and another for the weekend.

For more information and a look at the entire menu, check the website: brothersrestaurant.net.

Jim Flint is an Ashland writer. You can reach him at jimflint.ashland@yahoo.com.

Cheese blintzes with fresh strawberries and whipped cream will tempt your sweet tooth at Brothers'. (Photo by Jim Flint)