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Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

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Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby NullDevice » Sun Mar 14, 2010 11:06 am

Went to Brickhouse last night. Figured I'd give it a try, since it has some lineage with Samba, and that would imply some decent meat knowledge.

It was...it was okay. Nothing spectacular. A few egregious missteps. A few nice touches.

The good stuff: the bar is well done. Nice drinks list, great beer list featuring everything from Miller to St. Bernardus 12. The bartender was cheerful, helpful, and funny, which is kind of impressive given how incredibly packed the place was.

Wait for a table wasn't long, either, even on a busy night.

Our duck leg appetizer was pretty good. The duck legs themselves weren't tremendously outstanding, but the ginger BBQ dipping sauce had a nice gingery kick without being sinus-clearing.

The "okay" stuff: I ordered ribs (not my first choice, more on that in a bit) and they were respectable. Not great. But the meat had a nice smoke ring and some good smoky flavor. Wasn't seasoned especially strongly, unfortunately, so smoke was the dominant flavor. Also not quite as tender as one would hope for a place that stakes its success to BBQ. But they were overall above average. A tablemate's pulled pork was sufficiently tender and again had a nice smoke flavor but was lacking in other seasoning.

The sides list was decent - it was nice to see something beyond the normal steak-fries-and-coleslaw that dominates the BBQ scene around here. The sides were uneven, though. My "succotash" was tasty, and the cheese grits were...well, they're cheese grits, there's not much to say about them, and the french fries were nicely crispy and not too starchy. The coleslaw was fairly average. The "pit beans" were disappointing, tasting primarily of cider vinegar. It's like they tried to make slow-cooked beans, but ran out of time and just served what was in the pot. The cornbread was nicely moist and had a good sweetness, and the inclusion of jalapeno was nice although the only bit that really came through was the jalapeno's vegetable-y flavor and none of the heat.

Prices were pretty average for a BBQ joint. Slightly higher than say, Famous Dave's, but not by much.

The disappointing: No brisket. I had seen it on the website menu and on the paper menus downstairs, but it was not on our table menu. According to our server, it was "too popular" and is now "just a special." Seriously? Smoked brisket is a "special" at a BBQ joint? If this was a rib joint in Memphis, yeah, I could see that, but an upscale BBQ joint in the midwest? No, that's unacceptable. There was a brisket sandwich on the menu, though, so clearly they had *some* brisket.

The sauces by themselves were decent, but, the entire table got three little ramekins of them. The ketchup cups at culvers were bigger than these. And three sauces - meaning if everyone wants the traditional sauce, then there's only ONE sauce ramekin for everyone at the table (and the other two go to waste). Sure, the mustard sauce was nice, and the vinegar sauce was my favorite, but...come on! 4 people at our table and barely enough sauce per ramekin for a single half-rack? When we asked for more sauce, we got...another 3 ramekin serving, complete with the two sauces that nobody wanted. So it's wasteful and inefficient.

The booths were jammed together. This did not make me happy. 4 people trying to eat BBQ in a both with no elbow room and not a whole lot of seat space was rather uncomfortable. This seems to be a growing trend, so I can't strictly blame them, but man, I'm not especially large but I like a little bit of space between my chest and the table.

Service was harried. I counted a number of runners ferrying plates to tables, but as far as I could see there were only one, maybe two actual waitstaff taking orders, checking on customers, filling water glasses, etc. Given how busy the place was - the dining level was full - two servers were simply not enough, and we saw our waitress probably twice after we ordered, and one of those times was when we asked for the check.

Also, nothing in the way of towels, handi-wipes, extra napkins or anything were provided. That may seem petty on my part, and I realize they're trying to be a little classy (which moist towelettes certainly aren't), but when there're only two small bathrooms on the floor and you patrons are eating ribs, something other than one napkin might be nice so diners don't leave sticky.

So overall, they've got a lot of kinks to work out before I'd consider eating there again. I'll possibly give them another go-round in a few months to see if things have improved, but honestly they made a few mistakes that a BBQ joint shouldn't be making even in their first few weeks. It's tough to find good BBQ in this town, and I had higher hopes for Brickhouse, but they just didn't hit the mark.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby rabble » Mon Mar 15, 2010 12:50 am

The food might be so-so but boy, they got a helluva big sign.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby green union terrace chair » Mon Mar 15, 2010 1:45 am

rabble wrote:The food might be so-so but boy, they got a helluva big sign.


SMOKEHOUSE
BBQ


Just be glad the whole sign doesn't blink.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby TheBookPolice » Tue Mar 23, 2010 9:04 am

The wife and I made our first trip to Brickhouse last night.

The Good:
-the ribs. The only flaw that I could see was that the tips were still attached, so when my wife stole a bite, it turned out to be all cartilage. But the flavor, texture, seasoning, and portion (as part of the two-meat combo) were all great.

-the pulled pork sandwich. Unadorned by sauce, but almost as much meat as the combo plate for half the price.

-the smoked ham. No scraps left behind, and the pineapple salsa was a good touch.

-the pickles.

-the beer list.

-the wait (none).

-the decor.

-the collard greens. Not the best ever, but very pleasant and savory.

The Meh:
-the booths. Awkward shape, size, and layout.

-the sauce quantity. They were tasty, but see OP.

-the chipotle sweet potato salad. No indication of chile heat, and the sweet potatoes were undercooked.

-the service. Friendly, but underinformed. And they haven't gotten over the hump on the utility of their nifty little electronic ordering pads. Slow!

The Had-to-Be-an-Accident
-the cheddar grits. They were awful, unless you like spoiled milk and Drano. Not sure there were either cheddar OR grits in them.

I'd go back before my wife would, mostly because the "grits" were on her plate, not mine. Overall score of 7 out of 10, with a bullet.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby bassbari » Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:31 pm

We went for a late lunch a couple weeks ago. Service was okay. I would try it again after school is out and when they have worked out the kinks. Beer tap wasn't working properly. Nice atmosphere and lighting and a beautiful decor in the men's room. Nice place for a date or a group.

Had the Kansas City rubbed ribs. The sauces were small, varied but good. Loved the ribs on their own merit. The collard greens were dismal. Greens have to be cooked for a long time with the ham. They looked beautiful and prepared like spinach but were too green and the ham chunks didn't help. The mac and cheese was excellent as was the jalapeno cornbread. Partner had chicken. He said it was good.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby radtek » Sat Apr 17, 2010 10:18 pm

I agree with the "Meh".

We ate there this evening. We were told it was a twenty minute wait. It turned out to be over a thirty minute wait. That's not really a big deal as I always assume it will be a longer wait than they tell me.

We ordered hush puppies, pulled pork sandwich, and a 1/2 rack. The hush puppies were pretty bland. I realize hush puppies are basically deep friend corn bread, but I have had some very tasty pups in the past. As for the entrees, the meat itself was good. If you want it to taste like BBQ, you must add your own sauce. The sandwich came with fries and a few homemade pickles. The pickles were really good. The fries were good also, but over-salted. The 1/2 rack was good and came with two sides chosen from a list. The cole slaw was simple, and the pit beans were acceptable.

We ordered pecan tart for dessert. We both agreed that was the best part of the meal. Nothing we ate was worth going back for. IMO, if you want good BBQ around here, go to Smokey Jon's or Famous Daves. Daves may be a chain, but they've got it down, and you always know you can get good Q there. We really enjoy Smokey Jon's, although the "dine-in" atmosphere is lacking.

Brickhouse is a cool building and all the specialty beer on tap is a good draw. They also carry an extensive list of bourbons and whiskeys. Everyone was friendly, although I still think there are some service kinks.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby AlanHedges » Thu Apr 22, 2010 5:37 am

I'd agree with your review. I really liked the bar area but when I went there it was very crowded and had to wait 20 minutes to get a seat.

The http://banishwarts.com/ site has some helpful stuff on warts.
Last edited by AlanHedges on Sat Aug 02, 2014 5:47 am, edited 6 times in total.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby bert » Tue Apr 27, 2010 1:56 pm

I agree completely with the "meh". Stopped in solo for lunch a couple of weeks ago. Ordered the brisket sandwhich. Let's just say I've eaten roast beef with more flavor than this sandwich. No hint of smoke or bbq whatsoever. It was actually the first time in a really long time I didn't finish a sandwich I ordered.

The atmosphere is nice, but I came to eat, and doubt I'll return anytime soon.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby Stebben84 » Tue Apr 27, 2010 7:07 pm

bert wrote:I agree completely with the "meh". Stopped in solo for lunch a couple of weeks ago. Ordered the brisket sandwhich. Let's just say I've eaten roast beef with more flavor than this sandwich. No hint of smoke or bbq whatsoever. It was actually the first time in a really long time I didn't finish a sandwich I ordered.

The atmosphere is nice, but I came to eat, and doubt I'll return anytime soon.


I have to completely disagree. I highly recommend the beef brisket sandwich. If people are looking for Famous Dave's style BBQ, then you have sad tastes and this isn't the place for you.

I've had BBQ from Texas, to Memphis, and the Carolinas and I think Brickhouse does a pretty damn good job. Can't say it totally compares, but I've always been pleased.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby NullDevice » Mon May 03, 2010 3:38 pm

If you want good BBQ in the upper midwest, go to Smoque in Chicago. What's kind of terrifying about it is that the BBQ is ludicrously better (the Brisket, especially) and it costs an awful lot less (minus the drive to Chicago, of course. But if you're already there...)

After all this time, my irritation with the lack of brisket is still simmering. I'm still finding it unforgiveable that it was "special only" at Brickhouse, and that the waitress explained that it was becasue it was "too popular." Maybe they've fixed that by now. I hope so.

I'll eventually have to try the place again, ocne the kitchen is settled, but man, they got a big deficit to make up. The lack of sauce (which, admittedly, is sometimes how BBQ works, but not in this case), the aforementioned menu gaps, the spotty service, the blaaaaand side dishes, the cramped conditions, and the somewhat unbalanced price-for-value...the place really needs to shape up. I'm not expecting the Salt Lick or anything, but honestly, I expect a lot more than what I got.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby Kovalic » Wed May 12, 2010 1:54 pm

The lack of sauce is a recurring theme.

Just curious: did anyone actually ask for more? Were they refused? Does the restaurant charge extra for more sauce?
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby Stebben84 » Wed May 12, 2010 2:09 pm

Kovalic wrote:The lack of sauce is a recurring theme.

Just curious: did anyone actually ask for more? Were they refused? Does the restaurant charge extra for more sauce?


I find this such a silly criticism. I've been there with 6 people and we had no issue with too little sauce. If you want barbecue smothered in sauce, go to Chili's. You use this sauce like any condiment. How much fucking mustard or mayonnaise do you people put on your sandwiches.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby gargantua » Wed May 12, 2010 3:26 pm

Stebben84 wrote:
Kovalic wrote:The lack of sauce is a recurring theme.

Just curious: did anyone actually ask for more? Were they refused? Does the restaurant charge extra for more sauce?


I find this such a silly criticism. I've been there with 6 people and we had no issue with too little sauce. If you want barbecue smothered in sauce, go to Chili's. You use this sauce like any condiment. How much fucking mustard or mayonnaise do you people put on your sandwiches.


You know, I don't much give a shit if you find it silly. I too was there with a group of six, and we were given sauce in a couple of tiny little containers. We asked for more and got them without charge. There was no issue with anything being "smothered" in sauce.

As for how much mustard or mayonaisse I put on my sandwiches, I can quantify it for you exactly. As much as I fucking want, Mr. Food.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby NullDevice » Wed May 12, 2010 3:33 pm

Well, here was the problem:

there were 4 of us at the table. We got a plate with three ramekins of sauce. One ramekin was enough for about a single order of ribs, give or take. However, they were three separate kinds of sauces (tomato BBQ, Mustard, and vinegar). Two of which I can say that nobody was interested in but me (mustard and vinegar).

So, one ramekin of sauce per 3 people. We asked for more of THAT SPECIFIC SAUCE (Tomato BBQ) so there would be enough for everyone.

We got another plate of the three ramekins of sauces.

So the count is, after requesting more sauce:
2 servings of sauce split between three people
4 servings of sauces for just me.

This is just silly and inefficient. And why not bring us the sauces we asked for? Is it THAT important that sauce ramekins be pre-plated?

C'mon, it's not like we were asking to bathe in BBQ sauce or anything. It's plenty of sauce if everyone wants to try a little of everything, but otherwise you've got a resource allocation problem.
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Re: Brickhouse BBQ - a Resounding "Meh."

Postby green union terrace chair » Wed May 12, 2010 3:37 pm

NullDevice wrote:Well, here was the problem:

there were 4 of us at the table. We got a plate with three ramekins of sauce. One ramekin was enough for about a single order of ribs, give or take. However, they were three separate kinds of sauces (tomato BBQ, Mustard, and vinegar). Two of which I can say that nobody was interested in but me (mustard and vinegar).

So, one ramekin of sauce per 3 people. We asked for more of THAT SPECIFIC SAUCE (Tomato BBQ) so there would be enough for everyone.

We got another plate of the three ramekins of sauces.

So the count is, after requesting more sauce:
2 servings of sauce split between three people
4 servings of sauces for just me.

This is just silly and inefficient. And why not bring us the sauces we asked for? Is it THAT important that sauce ramekins be pre-plated?

C'mon, it's not like we were asking to bathe in BBQ sauce or anything. It's plenty of sauce if everyone wants to try a little of everything, but otherwise you've got a resource allocation problem.


They should just put them in bottles a la Famous Daves. Maybe they can be "fancy" bottles.
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