1743-2 E Broadway
Tempe, AZ 85282
Of all of the things I could imagine myself doing in an establishment named "Beaver Choice," eating would not be on the list. Of course, I've also never much thought about Scandinavian food. It's all smoked fish, right?
Beaver Choice managed to defy expectations. Located in a strip mall behind Ted's, the decor is understated IKEA--white, frosted glass. A selection of oil paintings brings the only color to a small restaurant with half a dozen tables. Patrons order at a counter adjacent to a large display case of Scandinavian sweets.
Our party of four ordered the Pork Schnitzel Cordon-Bleu, the Laxpudding, the Captain's Fish, and the Frikadeller (Pork Meatballs). Each entree is in the $10-$11 range and comes with a choice of three salads and a side dish (generally potato based).
Everyone was thrilled with their food.
I ordered the Laxpudding. While I'm not sure what I expected, the dish consisted of what looked a lot like quiche, but was actually a layer of thin-sliced potatoes, a layer of baked egg (think frittata), dill, and cured salmon. I thought the salmon would be like smoked salmon in taste and texture, but it was much lighter in flavor and very delicate in texture. I was thoroughly impressed. I ordered the oven roasted potatoes, the green been salad, the tomato basil salad, and the coleslaw. This is was the most pleasant way to get my veggies I've had in a long time. Proportion wise this was a healthy meal--vegetables made up more than half the plate and the dressings were light (no mayo on the coleslaw), but the variety and careful preparation that let each ingredient shine really made the meal. I ate a ton of food, and although I was very full, I did not get that sick feeling from having too much fat.
My partner ordered the Pork Schnitzel Cordon-Blue and was equally pleased. The pork was pounded flat, stuffed with ham and Brie, breaded, fried, and served with this amazing mushroom gravy. Maybe a little less healthy, but no less delicious. His only negative comment was that he could have stood a little more Brie. Of the side dishes I managed to snag a bite of, I would highly recommend the dill mashed potatoes.
Beaver Choice was the pick of a friend of mine celebrating her birthday. She was rewarded for her selection not only with great food (she raved about the haddock she ordered) , but also a meringue birthday cake like nothing I've ever tasted (and a rousing rendition of "Happy Birthday" in what I presume was Swedish). There were layers of slow-baked meringue with nuts and raisins, no sugar added whipped-cream, and mandarin orange slices. It was not so sweet, and yet totally decadent. I would say the same of the "beaver ball" (oats and cream cheese rolled in chocolate sprinkles) and the cookie we tried as well.
The down side of Beaver Choice--there's no appetizer menu and main dishes take about 20 minutes to prepare. Well worth the wait, but if you're starving, call ahead. There's also a wrap and burger menu with most items in the $5 range if you want a quick bite. Additionally Beaver Choice is BYOB.
Beaver Choice is a gem. I highly recommend checking it out. The staff is happy to answer every and all questions if you're unfamiliar with Scandinavian food, as I am. They take pride in their food and culture, and it really comes through on each plate.