i recently read about a new place opening downtown. remember hero's? austin's? heroes? well, in that seeming cursed spot a new restaurant has arrived. it's called brick. they're no longer a sports bar, instead trying to be a classier joint, with a grand piano, a fresh menu, and suggested upscale attire. i didn't exactly know when or if i'd head down there, but a friend mentioned on facebook that tonight the restaurant was bringing in a concert pianist, so we headed down for some dinner.
now, this review can go a lot of ways. and, i think the restaurant could go a lot of ways. i'll keep it nice, but i'll also try not to pull any punches.
first of all, it looks very nice in there. they haven't done a ton to change the decor, but it does feel cleaned up, sleek, and not just another sports bar. they've talked about having classic movies going but i didn't see if they had one going tonight. what i did notice is that they have tv's, and tonight i saw the food network on one and cnn on another. honestly, if i think upscale, i don't think tv's. really, i would pull all the tv's out if it were my place. i just don't understand why so many places put tv's in restaurants now.
to the menu - they have a decent, smallish menu. honestly, i appreciate that they have a limited menu instead of pages and pages of crap. on the menu are a few salads, some wraps and burgers, some pizzas a chicken dish, a steak and a few other items. however, i wouldn't say that the menu isn't all that upscale. seems pretty basic to me, at least in writing, but it could still be presented and taste high quality/upscale. i'm not sure if they have any sort of appetizers. i didn't see any on the menu, other than soup, but our waitress asked if we wanted any starters, which confused us since we didn't see any, and hadn't been told about any. the same thing happened with dessert - the waitress asked if we would like any, to which we asked what they had. it seems that their dessert menu varies at each service, which is fine, but it does make it a little hard to order dessert if you have no idea what they might have.
tonight, i tried out the chicken under a brick and my wife had the spicy thai salmon salad. i really liked my chicken. it had a great flavor and seasoning to it. it came with green beans & potatoes which were both good, but the potatoes were a tad greasy. my wife's salad looked pretty good, and tasted decent, but she felt it could have been a bit better. she liked the mix of the salad greens, but some of the items used in the description (cilantro, peanuts) were more of a garnish than actual ingredients integrated into the salad. we didn't have any wine, but it seemed like they had a decent selection. their coffee, however, was not good tasting. it tasted like it had been on a burner for a long time.
finally, the service. this is the third restaurant i've been to at this location, and i've yet to see any of them do a good job on the initial point of service. you enter, and it seems like you wait and wait for anyone to welcome you or seat you or anything. still that way, which baffles me because it seems so basic to have someone welcoming patrons, making sure that people know that yes, you will be seated. this seems to be falling on their wait staff, who is understandably doing something else (their jobs). our particular waitress seemed pretty nice & helpful, but she also seemed a bit scattered at times. we didn't see her after getting our meals until we were already done. that's not terrible, but then again, i would've liked a refill on coffee.
so, would i go back? probably. i really do like the idea. i enjoyed the piano in the background. i liked my food, and wouldn't mind trying a few other things.