The Watching League

A subtle breastaurant? Brick House's confusing low-cut uniforms are part of the show

A subtle breastaurant? Brick House's confusing low-cut uniforms are part of the show

Brick House waitresses
A subtle breastaurant? This is the Brick House's typical uniform. Courtesy photo
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, beer
There are ton of different choices for drinks at Brick House. But quantity is not quality. Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, sliders, hamburgers, burgers
Going with the sliders at Brick House wasn't my best idea. Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, deviled eggs, bacon
There are some interesting food choices at Brick House. Some hit, others don't. Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, meatballs
Are these the meatballs you expect when a whole section of the menu is devoted to the item? Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, fried shrimp
Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, pizza
Photo by Amy Chien
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, queso, cheese
Photo by Amy Chien
Brick House waitresses
Brick House, bar, lounge, breastaraunt
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, beer
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, sliders, hamburgers, burgers
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, deviled eggs, bacon
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, meatballs
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, fried shrimp
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, pizza
Amy, Brick House, November 2012, queso, cheese

Editor's note: Amy Chien is on a one-woman quest to find the perfect bar to watch football (and especially the Houston Texans) in.

Although not nearly as grueling as the Tough Mudder, finishing the Warrior Dash still called for celebratory beers and fried food. Brick House on the Northwest Freeway was the perfect place to stop by on the way back home. I was excited to revisit Brick House as part of my quest to find the perfect football-watching sports bar.

The Crowd
I was expecting an older crowd since we were outside of the Loop and into the burbs. To my surprise, the crowd was mostly in their twenties and thirties with a sprinkling of middle aged couples. No kids to be seen here, perhaps because it is a semi breastaurant (although that didn’t seem to stop people from bringing their children to Twin Peaks).

The waitresses wear low-cut, cleavage heavy polo shirts. I wish they would pick a side: Either be overtly sexy or wear regular uniforms. The subtle breastaurant-ness confuses me.

Score: Field Goal (Three Points)

Televisions/Game Viewage
Brick House has plenty of screens around for your viewing pleasure as well as at least five types of seating: Tables, regular booths, booths with couches, La-Z-Boys, and bar. I loved the sofa booths — the cushion covers look like something my grandparents would have, a substantial cloth that is nice and cozy.

 The waitresses wear low-cut, cleavage heavy polo shirts. I wish they would pick a side: Either be overtly sexy or wear regular uniforms. 

My personal preference would be the La-Z-Boy sofas (who wouldn’t want to be the Joey and Chandler at a bar?) but since we had a big group, we were seated at a table. Fine by me since that made the food sharing easier. I did, however, glance jealously at the La-Z-Boys complete with trays and drink holders on my way to the bathroom.

Every table had views of multiple screens, and the manager even took the initiative to ask if we wanted to watch the Saints game since the husband was wearing a New Orleans jersey.

Score: Touchdown and a two-point conversion (Eight Points)

Drinks
Sometimes quantity is not quality, so I was wary of getting too excited about the prospect of choosing from their 80-plus beer selection. I got an Australian stout from Coopers Best Brewery, while the husband got an English nut brown ale from Samuel Smith Brewery. Both lived up to our expectations.

My friends lauded praise on the Pimms Cup and the Black & Blue (Blue Moon and Guinness) as well. I was still recovering from a hangover, or else I would have definitely tried the The Zombie (Bacardi Rum, Bacardi 151, Captain Morgan, Pineapple, Orange & topped with Myers’s Dark Rum) which apparently is so potent that they limit it to one per customer.

Score: Field Goal (Three Points)

Food
We started the game off with deviled eggs with bacon, which were served on an elevated silver platter. The presentation was great but the eggs were a little rubbery.

I was disappointed that the Blue & White Chips (blue cheese crumbles and white queso) were served with potato chips instead of tortilla chips (we are in Texas, after all!), but my friends found it to be a refreshing change. I had to admit, the spicy and creamy queso paired quite well with the house made chips.

 The excellent service more than made up for the food shortcomings. 

The sliders didn’t fare quite as well. The buns were stale and the patties were thin and overcooked. I should’ve listened to the manager, who highly recommended their burgers instead of their sliders.

The panko parmesan crusted zucchini curls made up for the lackluster sliders, especially when dipped in the sriracha ranch that came on the side. The Sweet and Spicy Tails (crispy shrimp, cherry peppers & sweet chili sauce) were lightly breaded, keeping the shrimp juicy and tender.

Unlike with the sliders, I followed the manager’s advice and got the housemade traditional meatballs. I figured the meatballs here had to be good — they had their own category on the Brick House menu, after all!

Having recently read all about the New York based restaurant Meatball Shop, I had a very definite image in my head of juicy, large meatballs, oozing with sauce and cheese. In reality, the Brick House meatballs were hard to break apart, dry, and small. The bread that came on the side reminded me of the grocery store frozen loafs you pop in the bakery: Greasy and not nearly yeasty enough.

The only saving grace in this dish were the fried mozzarella sticks. Lesson learned: Fried foods are always better!

Thankfully, we ended the game with the Kobe brick pizza. Unlike the bread that came with the meatballs, you can tell the slightly charred but still soft crust was made at the restaurant.

Pieces of tender and flavorful Kobe beef and generous slices of bacon covered the pizza, and the bitterness of the arugula evened out the sweet caramelized onions.

The excellent service more than made up for the food shortcomings. No one knew we were there to review the restaurant (who reviews Brick House?), yet the manager stopped by our table several times to make sure everything was OK, as he did for most other parties there. They were more than happy to give us taste samples for the beer, our food and drinks came out promptly, and they even gave us two extra refills on our queso.

Score: Field Goal (Three Points)

Recap: 17 points

Brick House is a great place to watch the game with above average drinks, mediocre food and excellent service. I would definitely return if I were in the area.