I t's always a pleasure to have a meal at Brick Café, a rustic bistro with fine European cuisine. Beginning with the ambience, which is warm, romantic and inviting, to the service, which is friendly and attentive, brunch or dinner at Brick Café never disappoints.
The menu has recently been updated to
include some of the most requested specials and some dishes that are tried and true. Consistency is key in the restaurant business and Brick Café exemplifies this principle. I've been coming to Brick since it opened six years ago, and have always found my favorite dishes to taste just as good as the first time I tried them. Owner Christine Krilic and Zoran, the congenial manager, see to customer attentiveness with pride.
Brick Café is perched on the corner of 31st Avenue and 33rd Street, and you can't miss it for the array of tables filled with people enjoying a meal al fresco. Inside, the dining room is furnished with rustic, wooden tables, antique mirrors, brick walls and an old fashioned tin ceiling. Lace curtains on the French doors, fresh flowers and candle glow lend warmth and coziness to this fabulous café. There is an adjoining bar and lounge in the rear which is an excellent spot for a quiet drink with friends.
There are plenty of fresh fish, pasta, meat and poultry dishes on the French-inspired menu, but the nightly specials make it even more difficult to decide. The special salad of the night featured bacon, mushrooms, tomato, artichoke hearts and gorgonzola cheese, dressed with a balsamic reduction. One of the dinner specials was baby lamb chops with red wine and porcini mushroom sauce, while the filet of swordfish also sounded great, with its roasted red pepper and caper dressing.
One of the most popular appetizers is the steamed mussels, prepared in your choice of red or white wine sauce and herbs ($10). Now, you can also have these fresh mussels prepared oreganata style, with garlic and bread crumbs. A new appetizer, baccala Mantecato, is perfectly cooked cod fish salad, which is neither salty nor fishy, but very flavorful, especially sitting upon the squares of grilled polenta that accompany it ($8). One of my favorites is the artfully presented platter of tuna carpaccio in citrus marinade, served with avocado sauce. Similarly, the unique flavor of octopus carpaccio, sliced paper-thin and served below a mound of fennel salad ($9) will please the palate as well as the eyes and are perfect for summer dining. The Brick Salad remains popular, with hearts of palm, chick peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and shaved parmesan for a salad that could be a meal in itself. Red beet carpaccio is sliced paper thin and dressed with sliced avocado and baby greens ($8).
One of their house specialties is the pan-roasted breast of duck. This succulent fowl is rich in flavor and virtually free of any visible fat, dressed with a sauce of oranges and green peppercorns ($21). Grilled New Zealand baby lamb are supremely tender and classic French style steak frites is always a "go to" dish. Tender, juicy filet mignon is cooked to order and served over grilled polenta with an inventive sauce of wild mushrooms, goat cheese and red wine. My dining companion enjoyed the fork-tender veal scaloppini piccata in a delicate butter and lemon caper sauce. All entreés are accompanied by oven roasted potatoes and the vegetable du jour.
The chef at Brick Café prepares wonderful orata, a flaky, Mediterranean fish, in a white wine, lemon and parsley sauce for a light and delicious meal ($17). Baked fillet of sole is stuffed with scallops and shrimp in white wine and chives. Fresh pasta dishes include tender, handmade gnocchi with your choice of pesto, gorgonzola cheese or tomato basil sauce. A new addition to the menu is fresh rigatoni with veal ragu sauce, which was excellent. There are several options for those eschewing meat, such as spinach fettuccine with shitake mushrooms, chopped tomatoes, garlic and oil.
Desserts at Brick Café are made on the premises and hard to resist. White chocolate and blueberry bread pudding is served with a dollop of whipped cream and the dark chocolate mousse cake will satisfy any chocoholic. The chocolate bombe is a house favorite, though there's the sublime créme brulee, as well as their perfect crepes Suzette, filled with fruit jam.
Weekend brunch at Brick Café is perfect for that special date or a get together with friends or family. Served Saturday and Sunday, from 11 am till 4:30 pm, brunch offers everything from fluffy omelets to French toast to many of their regular dinner items, soups and salads, such as sliced bresaola with arugula and tomato salad. The Brick burger is juicy and delicious. At the adjoining Brick Bar, you can enjoy some light fare such as elegant sandwiches on freshly baked bread while you sip on a cocktail or a coffee drink.
Brick Café is open seven days a week for dinner from 5pm till 11pm, and weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays from 11am till 4:30pm, with dinner service beginning at 5pm. For fine bistro fare, a romantic setting and reasonable prices, visit Brick Café soon.