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Brickhouse BBQ

In a word: A sign of good things to come.

The specs: #0537  
Address, hours & details via Isthmus; reviews at Isthmus, Badger Herald, 77 Square, EatDrinkMadison blog, Yelp, Beer Advocate, Madison Magazine, QSC; opening at Badger Herald, threads at The Daily Page Forum  once and twice, listing at EatDrinkMadison; official web site, Facebook, Brickhouse BBQ on Urbanspoon

Latest Brickhouse BBQ news and reviews

JM ate the two meat combo with ribs and ham, mac and cheese, and coleslaw and a lemonade.
Nichole ate the sausage combo with collard greens, sweet potato salad, and a Lake Louie an Ale Asylum Big Slick Stout.
The bill was $34, or $17/person, plus tip.
JM and Nichole both gave Brickhouse BBQ an A- (see our grading rubric).

BBQ has its adherents hither and yon and, while we would claim no title relative to others in our midwestern cohort, we do know from good meats. Brickhouse, then, offers a thoroughly tasty implementation of the slow-cooked meat phenom that seems to us like a re-importation of BBQ via the coasts. Their website mentions Memphis, but our man from Tennessee has never mentioned this particular style of meat prep. All speculating aside: it tastes good.

Sauce trioThe brick house itself is a barn. Three stories of expansive dining rooms with large tables suggest it handles game day/weekend/Freak Fest/Obama-rally-afterparty crowds well, but when we were there, most seats were empty save those on the rooftop patio. Shielded from direct sun, it was high enough up to avoid all that rat-race noise down on Gorham, and the view of the capitol dome wasn't bad.

We got our drinks and a plate of sauces in advance. Spoons and ramekins triggered a spate of tasting (we blame the National Mustard Museum). Of the three, the mustard BBQ was truly the standout. The basic house BBQ was more sweet than smoke, and the vinegar-based sauce had a smokiness we liked, too. Despite liberal sampling, we had plenty of sauce left for our dinners, in case anyone was wondering.

Two meat combo

These ribs were the gnawable kind, none too tender but not bad. JM liked the grilled ham quite a bit, which we attribute to its being from Jordandal Farms (our favorite). He was expecting the also-grilled pineapple salsa to have more than just pineapple in it, especially given that the cornbread and sweet potato salad had been gussied up with chopped peppers and onion.

Sausage, greens, sweet potato salad

There were probably four wieners' worth in the sausage combo. The Cajun links were tender, with a kick, while the smoked sausages had a snappier skin. The whole dish benefited from pickled bell peppers and more mustard BBQ sauce.

As for the sides:

  • Cole slaw: eh.
  • Sweet potato salad: cool and liberally dressed, with chipotle, cilantro, onion, and more diced peppers.
  • Mac and cheese: Cavatappi curls in a mild, sweet-ish sauce that toed the line between fake-smooth and too gritty.
  • Jalapeño cornbread: moist. Nichole had to steal JM's since she didn't get a slice but he didn't really mind.
  • Collard greens: not overcooked, with more grilled ham diced on top rather than boiled in.

It wasn't a bad value, either: our two entrees yielded two dinners plus three bag lunches (with a couple tortillas and carrot sticks thrown in). Brickhouse may not be what you're expecting, but it is good.

Comments

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I checked this place out last week and thought their pulled pork bbq was really good too. One thing that should be mentioned is their INCREDIBLE beer selection. They had two to three dozen great beers from all around the midwest on tap. I sat at the bar and my jaw dropped.

I haven't tried it, but I find something kind of unsettling about eating in what sure appears to be a tax shelter, owned by a couple who will soon be going to prison for their latest round of tax evasion. Not trying to politicize a food blog, but it is a pretty crazy situation.

I have never such a lackluster review turn into an 'A-' for example…

'eh', ' gnawable', 'not overcooked', 'not bad'. it says something about the place when the best compliment is a double negative.
I feel as if they should change there menu. if the place across the street did it (Domino's), Brickhouse can do it too.

Food - 'D' (It's at least gnawable, but not what i was expecting. If you have a glowing 'BBQ' lets actually have BBQ inside okay.)

Drinks, Ambiance - 'A+'

= C. Food is 66% of the grade ;-)

it's definatley a 'eh' kinda of place, and thats my opinion. but you basically gave the same grade. it's call 'Damning with faint praise'

Bobby - grade inflation. We have it, and we don't deny it. However, "not overcooked" with regard to greens *is* a compliment because so many places wreck greens, in my opinion, and again, Jordandal meat: enough said. And what's this about Domino's?

Jason - we don't mind political awareness. The owners' tax evasion issue is worth noting, and we probably should have at least mentioned it as we did La Ha's labor issues. So thank you for bringing it up. We pretend to not feel guilty because we "have" to go everywhere on the list, and we've already been over the fact that we tend to go easier on (gasp) non-chains. Yeah. I said it.

Can someone fill me on this tax controversy? I've heard absolutely nothing on it.

As to the food itself: it looks terrific.

Ben: Filing false tax returns.

Two years for him, one year for her.

La Hacienda mistreating workers was a legitimate issue for whether we should visit the restaurant. This is just small-town gossip that has nothing to do with food quality.

Ooh, we're so burned, Timmy.

Come on. It's a federal crime, federal prison, what do you want? We shouldn't talk about it? In the Big City, this kind of thing happens all the time?

If a restaurateur has a problem paying off financial obligations, do you really not see how that can translate to what's on the plate? They don't grow their own ribs, Timmy. They gotta buy 'em from someone, and if they stiff someone on the bill? Or if they start buying shitty ingredients to cut costs and still charge the same prices?

These are valid concerns for anyone in a service industry. "Small-town" cheap shots are just that.

But do they put pineapple on their pizza?

Beer selection fantastic
Greens salty(!) and overdone
Mac&cheese dry, bland, not cheesy
Caesar salad excellent

A nitpick: Big Slick Stout is from Ale Asylum, Lake Louie's stout offerings are Mr.Mephisto and their Milk Stout.

Thanks, Dave! Fixed.

I ate lunch at Brickhouse BBQ this past week and it is a tough place to park at noon. The decor is lovely... but the food misses the mark. I had the distinct impression that I was eating at a cross between Famous Dave's (the brisket) and Fat Sandwich (the cheese and the onion rings shoved into the sandwich. I think the roll was big enough to accommodate the fries too, a la Fat Sandwich. My experience was very ordinary. If you're looking for real BBQ, you've got a better chance at Famous Dave's (and even that isn't real BBQ).

I went there for the second time tonight because some friends wanted to go. I got pulled pork both times. Being a North Carolina girl (well, sort of - I lived there for 10 years anyway), I opted for the vinegar sauce last time - which was fine but nothing to write home about. After reading your review again, though, I tried the mustard sauce this time around. It was great! So even though I'd probably give the place an overall "B" rating, that mustard sauce moved it a up a notch or two in my book...

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