In a word: A sign of good things to come.
The specs: #0537
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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.
The 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.
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.
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.