The Brick Bar and Broiler

Review by KandN with TracyLee
The Brick Bar and Broiler occupies a prominent corner downtown on Liberty and State. So it's surprising that I lived here so many years before I even noticed it while driving through town. I guess I was paying more attention to the traffic. Growing up in a small town made Salem seem like a metropolis to me.
"Are you kidding me? Three whole lanes all going in the same direction?! Like I don't have enough to do looking for addresses?!"
After 17 years, I think I finally have the knack down. ;>)

I mentioned The Brick in a twitter conversation with another fan last week. We decided to meet there for lunch on the following Saturday. Part of it was wanting to try their food, part was wanting to meet Sushicats and the last was seeing how it would work to use Twitter as a way to meet up. If there's interest we think it will be a fun way to gather eatsalem fans at a local eatery.

The hour for our "blind date" approached. Since it was Saturday, we were prepared for a couple of trips around the block, but N and I lucked out - someone backed out of a parking spot right across the street. We entered The Brick on the bar side and walked through looking for our tweet-up couple, hoping that eye contact would be the clue. We decided Sushicats and her N weren't there yet and found a table for 4. The two of us chatted and browsed the menu, wondering how long to wait before we ordered. (We're so new to this!)
And so after tweeting that we had arrived and waiting a scant 6 minutes, we went ahead and ordered lunch. I ordered the Turkey Dynamo and N ordered the Prime Rib sandwich - both of us asked for the garlic, rosemary fries. Our sandwiches were delivered promptly. My sandwich was was hot off the grill, with a crunchy exterior. The turkey was generously sliced. I loved the addition and just right quantity of the baby spinach, but wish the tomato slices had been wee bit thicker and the mayo spread thinner. I enjoyed my garlic, rosemary fries and yet wished there had been a little more rosemary. All in all it seemed like good "pub grub" with friendly service. Their menu has a long, delicious sounding list of burgers and sandwiches, along with a nice selection of appetizers and salads.

Tracylee, AKA Sushikats here. Over the years, I've spent many happy hours at The Brick, but only eaten there a few times. I've always been impressed with the number of items on their menu that someone as picky as me can choose from.
I ordered the Garlic Swiss Dip with Cottage Cheese, and my N ordered the Oyster Sandwich with Rosemary Garlic Fries, and a Dead Guy on draft. The service to the point of the food being served was reasonably paced. The first thing I noticed was the minimal amount of au jus that was served with my dip. I made do. The second was that I didn't get any silverware with which to eat my cottage cheese. Luckily, K's N hadn't needed his fork, so I used it. We did have to ask for napkins. Melissa, the waitress, seemed to be handling most of the tables, but still had time to chat with some regulars. My sandwich was quite tasty, but N declared his meal to be "ordinary".

There's plenty to look at while you eat and visit. The inside of The Brick is loaded with a variety of beer advertisements and paraphernalia - busy and colorful. Tables for 2-6 line the exterior wall and a higher table made for 10 or so, occupies the area between the bar and the tables on the exterior wall. An adjacent room, on the Liberty side, is open to minors. Everything appeared clean yet well used. I imagine it's a hopping place on Friday and Saturday nights.

105 Liberty St. NE


Salem Man said...

The first ever twitter meet up. How fun.

Anonymous said...

Tracylee said, "The first thing I noticed was the minimal amount of au jus that was served with my dip. I made do. The second was that I didn't get any silverware with which to eat my cottage cheese. Luckily, K's N hadn't needed his fork, so I used it."

This is something I have always wondered about. Why don't customers just ask the server rather than "make do" (for more au jus and a fork in your case). You're paying for a meal and tipping for service. Why are people hesitant to ask the server?

And what about food not made to the specifications on the menu or prepared the way you ordered it or even poor quality food? Do you (the readers) send it back, ask that it be taken off the check, ect.? Do you tip even if the service is bad because you feel guilty or bad for the server?

I've eaten at the Brick numerous times. I stopped eating there. I just found the food to be mediocre.

tracylee said...

Anonymous, we did ask for napkins and a water refill. If I'd run out of au jus or thought it wouldn't have done at all, I'd have asked, and K's N offered the fork before I had a chance to ask Melissa. There really wasn't anything else that required silverware.

I'm not afraid to speak up and ask for what I need, but we were having a great conversation!

Pam said...

Hy hubby is a chef and we are both hard-core foodies. We have a term for restaurants that serve the same old stuff: SS Restaurants. SS meaning "Same Sh_ _."

When we first moved here from Mpls, my foodie/chef hubby and I were strolling around downtown and stopped to look at the Brick's menu in the window. After a moment, he said, "Oh, a SS restaurant."

We turned the corner and he stopped to read the menu in that window, then exclaimed, "This restaurant has the SS as the last one!"

I replied, "This is the same restaurant."

Because he has dubbed it a SS restaurant, we haven't been there to eat, but we did go in one Saturday night for a rare date night and it was busy busy busy. Still, we had friendly, fast service. I'd go back, despite what he thinks...

KandN said...

Kinda funny how most of us have our little "code" terms for restaurants.
Salem Man,
I'm digging this whole tweet-up thing. It would be fun have someone instigate one every month or so.
BTW, when will we have the next vicarious meal? :>)

Chuck Bradley said...

This is the storied watering hole among the 30 and 40 something happy hour set of my chosen vocation. Since I don't fit the age profile and do most of my alcohol consumption in my home where the chairs are comfortable and the atmosphere quiet, I'd never been here before. I would describe the decor as a visual assault. An optical cacophony of beer and booze signs, both neon and otherwise, assails the eye. The black and white checked floor tile (ala 1965) adds to the general disharmony. The chairs, stools and benches are maliciously designed torture devises crafted to get you wrapped around three quick drinks and out the door, possibly motivated by liability issues. I inquired as to whether their cole slaw was made fresh in-house. Being assured it was I ordered a "My Other Brother Daryl" Sandwich with the slaw. It was a tiny soft French roll filled with turkey, bacon, tomato and fresh mushrooms with wafer thin slices of melted cheddar and Swiss cheeses melted on top. An intriguing concept diminished by lack of quality of ingredients (processed turkey meat and cheeses). It would have been a questionable value ($8.50) even at twice its size. My server, Melissa, did an adequate, if not exceptional job. It took me 17 years to try this inexplicably popular spot. Maybe I'll check it out again in another 17. They do not accept American Express.