Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Restaurant review: Brix

Last night, lydy and timprov and I decided to try Brix, a fairly new "bistro and wine bar." It's in St. Louis Park, in the Excelsior and Grand area where Mojito used to be. We'll definitely be going back, with various parties in tow. This was good stuff.

To start off with, it was kind of sad to have a restaurant called Mojito replaced by a restaurant that made far, far better mojitos. On the other hand, it's handy for us that the good mojitos are available. The bellini was also what you would expect of a bellini: boozy but tasty. (As the driver I had water. But the alcohol options were numerous and interesting-looking. Some wine we like and don't get often, some wine we've never heard of. We don't know enough about wine that we should have heard of everything on the menu of something that bills itself as a wine bar, and yet it happens sometimes. So this is maybe hopeful for finding something interesting.)

The calamari was fairly disappointing -- not rubbery or unpleasant in any way, just not particularly interesting. Very little spice in the breading. Very little spice to the accompanying sauce. And while fried cephalopod with tomato sauce to dip is a good idea when executed competently but without brilliance, it looks like they do other things better here. We had the duck mezzaluna for our other appetizer, and that was really lovely, with a tangy fruit compote over it. And I don't really like most duck (combines the worst features of chicken and bacon), so when I enjoy a duck dish, you know they did it well.

The waiter -- oh, let me back up a minute. The waiter was excellent. He was friendly without false-chumminess or that toothache-inducing level of perkiness that seems to show up an alarming amount of the time lately. He was attentive but did not hard-sell anything; he had a sincere concern for things being not just approximately right but exactly right. And some of that concern was shown in areas where it probably wouldn't have been possible for him to do those things if it wasn't restaurant policy that the staff should make things exactly right for the customers. He had little bits of consideration like bringing extra small plates to make it easier when we commented that we would just steal bites of each other's meals. He didn't do anything flashy. He was simply one of the best waiters I've had in a long, long time. He nearly sold me a steak. Me. A steak. In a restaurant. Good waiter.

So. The waiter went over the highlights of the menu, and the three things he said were pasta highlights were things we were considering anyway, so we ordered one of each: the lobster strichetti, the sausage agnoletti, and the butternut squash cappelletti. The strichetti is somewhat misnamed, because there was a significant amount of crab and scallop in it as well as the lobster (this was described on the menu), which for me was all to the good -- I wouldn't have ordered it if it had just been lobster. It didn't fall into the "so rich you can't take more than two bites" trap some restaurants do with seafood pastas -- the vodka cream tomato sauce was a light touch. Good stuff. The other two entrees were even better. lydy was so happy with her cappelletti. "I have hats!" she kept exclaiming. "Hats!" And they were lovely little hats, with the brown butter sauce not at all draggy on the tongue, nothing over-sweet as squash pasta can get. Little perfect fried sage leaves. So good. And the row of agnoletti was solid without being heavy, nice, nice stuff.

Presentation was lovely -- things were pretty without being fussy.

Dessert was not bad but not nearly as interesting as the entrees. The tiramisu was a little weird. The lemoncello cheesecake (with blueberries) was pretty good but not outstanding, and the chocolate budino was ever so slightly overdone. This is the bit where the waiter noticed and offered to bring me another, since this one was not quite fudgy enough in his estimation. I was already halfway through it and would never have eaten the second one, but it was a good sign that he noticed and offered to replace a dessert that was essentially fine -- not quite spot-on, though, and they apparently care about that. I don't know. A lot of places do really well with essentially boring dessert menus, so maybe they shouldn't change it, but it seems like just one or two changes could make a really big difference between an acceptable dessert menu and a notable one.

One can't eat like that every day -- at least, I can't -- and so there will be simply roasted squash and salad today, but I like that, too. Also probably I will make banana bread.

Also there will be writing and reading and putting several things in the mail. Quiet day at home, I expect. These are much appreciated sometimes.

(Also there are bonbons. I have not forgotten International Bonbons and Movie Magazines Month. I hope you haven't, either! It is a worthy observance!)
Tags: so juicy sweeeeet

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