Brique opens to a Packed House in Centreville
Jul 02, 2010 07:50PM ● Published by Anonymous
I worked my way through college at an upscale gourmet restaurant in St. Michaels, called Shore Restaurant & Lounge (no longer in operation) owned by Sidney and Jim Trond (of Gourmet by the Bay Catering Company). It was there that Sidney painstakingly educated all of the servers on the finer points of gourmet dining. A pre-service meeting was held every weekend to go over the menu, the specials, where the seafood/meat was from, how the desserts were made, how the sauces and stocks were made...and to prepare us for any questions customers may have. (It was from my four years at Shore, that my husband dubbed me to be a "food and wine snob." A definition, by the way, that anyone should take with a grain of salt, as my husband consideres Apple Bees to be "fancy.")
So, with that said, I had very high expectations of not only my server, but the menu as well. I don't mind paying extra for good food, but there is nothing that makes me angrier than paying a lot of money for bad food. As I opened up the the menu, I had to contain a squeal of delight (not only at the reasonable prices--apps/salads ranged from $6 to the higher end of $17 for fois grois, but in addition to a diverse entree menu of $18 (New York strip streak) to $25 (miso glazed black cod fish), there was a "Small Plates" menu that had...wait for it...sweetbreads (in addition to Cedar Plank salmon, mussels, scallops, braised short ribs, and more).
I became somewhat of a vegetarian this past April (more of a selective omnivore) and I haven't had meat in a few months. After reading that menu, I could think of no better excuse to break my diet than their chicken liver and truffle mousse pate appetizer, followed by the crispy sweetbreads small plate, (panko crusted with capers and brown butter viniagrette). I savored every last bite! The pate melted like butter, and the sweet breads were equally delicious. My inlaws, who hail from Swansea in South Wales accompanied me for the evening and ordered the roasted garlic and goat cheese flan with roasted tomato coulis (fabulous) and the New York strip steak with carmelized onion mashed potato and carrotts (both said it was tender and cooked to perfection).
Each course was timed perfectly, with our plates cleared, waters refreshed, silver replaced, the table "crumbed" (and for those of you who don't know what it means to "crumb" a table, I suggest you go spend a summer doing that) and wine topped off when needed. The plates were presented in a simple, yet elegant manner, and we all ordered a dessert. Myself the strawberry tart, and Mum and Dad the creme brulee.
The owners made their rounds gregariously greeting guests with a handshake and a warm smile. In an interview with the Bent Fork's former editor, Andrew Keatts, the owners (Inzer and Fairbanks) had said:
“We’ll offer better food at a lower price, in an atmosphere that’s as fine as it gets. We want you to feel like you’re at the Ritz Carlton, or at least the nicest restaurant on the Eastern Shore [...] When you graduate from high school, or celebrate an anniversary, we want to be the restaurant you come to," Inzer said.
So far, so good. The prices are right, the atmosphere is right, the food is right, and the service is right. Great start for a burgeoning Eastern Shore gem.