One of my great joys as a food blogger is talking food with my friends. So when Lady P emailed me to rave about Brickhouse Sports Cafe, the only natural thing to do was to set up a lunch date. I arrived on the appointed Thursday with visions of burgers dancing in my head. Given the timing, I wasn’t surprised to find the restaurant quiet. Older pop music played overhead, loud enough to discern the lyrics, but soft enough to easily speak over.
As a “sports cafe”, the TVs were numerous, but much to my delight they were mounted high on the walls and mixed with paintings, making them surprisingly unobtrusive. Their loftiness meant I could look across the table without being distracted by the flickering frames. The bar was in a back room, separated from the front by a brick wall with semi-circular cut outs. The front room, where we were seated, had combination of booths and tables.
We had a small snafu with ordering. We had asked our server for more time with the menu and then he seemed to have wandered off. When Lady P spotted him again, it took some waving (in a mostly empty restaurant) to convey the message “we are ready to order now”. Turns out he was waiting for us to close our menus (the universal sign for “I have decided”) and we were so busy chatting we hadn’t.
Once we had cleared up our communication mishap, I placed my order for a Brickhouse burger, with extra brickhouse sauce. I was almost certain this would be a bar-b-que sauce and I wanted to be able to sample it on the fries as well. Lady P ordered the Providence Chicken and we returned to catching up.
Our food came up quickly.
My fries were solid, piping hot with a crisp exterior and light seasoning. But it was the pale beige color of the Brickhouse sauce which grabbed my immediate attention. This was most definitely not a bar-b-que sauce. Instead it was creamy and tangy with small lumps left from the fresh preparation. Ginger gave the sauce a sharp bite and an acidic after burn. Pepper added to the peppiness. It went beautifully with the fries and was a nice change of pace from the standard sweet bbq sauces.
My burger sported a loose patty and classy romaine lettuce. The Brickhouse sauce, with it’s sharp profile overwhelmed even the blue cheese. The tomato disappeared totally. Yet the onion ring shone. As a rule, I like onion rings. So I am quite amenable to having them placed on burgers. But generally? That is a terrible place for them. You can’t taste them, especially on burgers dressed with sauce. It’s more of the heartwarming thought of knowing they are in there, than the actual flavor. Which is why this one had my full attention. From the first bite, I knew it was there. Crispy. Sweet. Crunchy. Unquestionably onion ring-y. It was fantastic.
Lady P described her dish (seen at the top of the post) as “a simple concept, extremely well executed” and exclaimed over it. I was impressed with the gorgeous plating. I begin to understand why they bill themselves as a “sports cafe” instead of a “sports bar”.
Brickhouse exceeded my expectations–I enjoyed the laid back atmosphere and appreciated the attention to plating. The attention to detail was clear throughout, from the brickhouse sauce to the paintings mixed in with the TVs. And while not everything can be a star (my french fries were fine but not show stoppers) the overall result was well above average. I’ll absolutely be back.
Total for the meal: $12.34 (Includes 1 brickhouse burger and 1 soft drink)
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