Monday, May 14, 2012
3585 Saint Johns Avenue, 32205
The Avondale area has been loved by many for the classic styling of all the historic buildings located there. Brick Restaurant gathers it's name from the building it was placed in, an all brick exterior. The front patio sits directly adjacent to the sidewalk, but there is not much foot traffic causing congestion. Indoors is a huge dining room with high open ceilings, large pieces of art hanging over the high back booths lining the walls.
We sit down to begin to browse the menu that is said to be Modern American and notice the huge wine list. Reds, whites, blends, and sparkling with some very respectable names included. Beers on the other hand were very much lacking, Stella Artois and Bold City Breweries Killer Whale Cream Ale were all they had on tap and 18 bottled, I give kudos on the majority being craft beers, but to only dispense one of the cities local brews is a bit of a let down.
Jumbo Lump Crab Cake, $14
An American classic on the eastern seaboard, this was bound to be a nice starter. Once the plate arrived it left me feeling a little disappointed. Expecting a few smaller cakes or a nicely sized large one, all that arrived was a single crab cake, served with a small chopped salad and Louis dressing as an accompaniment.. The crab cake was light and not bogged down by excessive filler. Though at $14 for a single crab cake it was a little on the small side. Though I guess part of that cost came from the half lemon served with my 3-4 oz of crab cake.
The Brick "Wedge", $6 ($5 to accompany entree)
I was initially excited to try this salad, naming it after the restaurant it is being served in promises big tastes, and hopefully a modernization of this classic as well. Alas, the salad was severely lacking. A sixth cut of a head of iceberg, 3 uncut grape tomatoes, and a very thin very lacking blue cheese dressing without a lot of blue cheese in it. For a dish that would be considered a flagship item bearing the name of the establishment, this dish was a huge flop.
Bacon Burger, $11
A very traditional straight forward burger, nothing fancy, but done well. Served medium-rare, just as ordered on a toasted bun with iceberg lettuce, red onion, and pickle chips. Served with a choice of couscous, french fries, coleslaw or a baked potato and with mayonnaise, ketchup and yellow mustard without having to make the request.
Potato Crusted Grouper, creamed spinach, $23
I saw this on the menu and I began to dream of experiencing another person's take on Daniel Boulud's classic potato crusted fish from Le Cirque. The dish arrives to be nothing more than under seasoned mashed potatoes smeared on top of a thin piece of grouper and simply baked. Not as exciting as a $23 dish should be. The creamed spinach was on the plate as a sauce for the fish but did not bring any more excitement. The dish is served with the same choice of sides as all the others: fries, coleslaw, couscous, sweet potato fries or baked potato. There was some brightness to the dish, the fish was cooked very well and I got the other half of my lemon from the starter with my entree.
Key Lime Pie, $7
A very classic and straight forward dessert perfect for the warm months in Florida. Not sure if these are made in house or locally but it was a nice piece of pie. A light graham cracker crust with what seemed to be a Key Lime curd filling and a nice dollop of fresh whipped cream on the side.
Apple Walnut Bread Pudding, $7
Traditional bread pudding that almost pushes the use of cinnamon. Pushes it far enough that I think if it were made with anything other than apples it would be too much. You can add non-homemade ice cream for $2. And it might be something to consider because all you get with the bread pudding is a little caramel sauce on the plate. Nothing to help break up the monotony of a custard soaked bread with apples and walnuts.
In an area of town where you have authentic Middle Eastern at The Casbah fare and damn good BBQ at the newer Mojo No. 4 within walking distance and many more outstanding eateries within a short bike or car ride, Brick is just not up to par with competitive cost and quality of food. As well they advertise a Modern American menu that just serves classic dishes ranging from the 1970's through the 1990's without out as much as an updated plating technique. Though from the sounds of the people I have talked to about Brick, the average patron goes to enjoy a glass of wine and a sandwich or burger, which do happen to be the better deals on the menu.