ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL
This Avondale restaurant appeals to all palates — which isn't always a good thing
3585 St. Johns Ave.
In the heart of scenic Avondale lies a middle-of-the-road eatery that offers modern American fare, a place that has a familiar bit of everything and appeals to the masses, but in the process sometimes compromises on quality.
Salad aficionados will be thrilled: There are more than a dozen leafy creations on the menu. On a recent visit, I tried seared ahi tuna salad ($16) over mixed greens with alternating thick slices of ripe avocado and colorful mango. It was light yet satisfying. My favorite is the kale salad — but instead of the maple-glazed salmon ($15) it accompanies, I substituted the house-made veggie burger (sans melted provolone) and added artichoke hearts. The finely chopped kale is tossed with a tangy blend of olive oil, lemon juice and parmesan, then decorated with pine nuts. The pink-hued veggie patty is a hearty concoction of hearty brown rice, black beans, milled flax seed, quinoa, barley, beets and mushrooms. There are even charred grill marks on it, so don't knock it 'til you've tried it.
Sandwiches abound, and there's something for all palates: burgers, lump crab cake, barbecue pulled pork, mahi mahi. The bacon burger ($12) was OK for lunch — not massive, but not dainty, either — and topped with melted cheddar, lettuce, tomato, pickles, onion and crispy strips of crisscrossed bacon. Sides include a chilled couscous salad, cole slaw, fries, sweet potato fries (yes!), kale salad, loaded baked potato or the featured side of the day.
The corn-crusted tilapia fish tacos ($10) with a chipotle tartar sauce, soy ginger and shredded napa cabbage, weren't memorable. Skip these and get a sandwich.
Entrées, served with the same selection of side items, truly run the gamut — grilled salmon, shrimp and grits, sea scallops, rack of lamb (go big or go home?), filet mignon and a 16-ounce roasted prime rib. Most will reward you with leftovers.
In addition to a lengthy wine list, Brick offers a handful of desserts, along with cappuccino and espresso beverages, but I've always been too full to partake. (And Biscottis' ever-impressive dessert case across the street always seems to beckon when I'm nearby.)
Serving brunch on the weekend until 3 p.m., Brick is open daily for lunch and dinner. There's ample seating in the shade outdoors, a large bar area indoors and a dining room with high ceilings. It's solid standard fare, but suffers a bit from trying to be all things to all people.