I have decided that breakfast is the ideal time to eat at Brick’s Smoked Meats restaurant in downtown Sarasota. Actually, that’s only during the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, but more on that later.
I’ve also decided that you don’t have to order barbeque to fall in love with the great smoky flavors coming out of the kitchen at Brick’s. Seriously . . . I already blogged previously on their amazing Kale Chicken Apple salad (one of my favorites!) but on a recent visit, we joined some friends at Brick’s, determined to order anything BUT the acclaimed barbeque so many of us love at Brick’s Smoked Meats. Call it working out the taste buds, if you will.
First off . . . Compliments to the team at Brick’s Smoked Meats. They’ve been open less than a year and the last few times we were there the place was packed! So if you go, go early. For some reason, diners at Brick’s don’t seem to be rushing through their meals. Guess they’re trying to make the enjoyment last!
Celebrating the new, unusually colder weather for Sarasota, Brick’s introduced two “cool weather” inspired cocktails. The first is a Caramel Apple Cider, served in a martini glass. It has that sweetness you’d expect, but it packs a punch on the back end. The second; a Cranberry Smash Old Fashioned, is 100% a “sipping” cocktail. This drink warms you up from the tip of your tongue to the back of your throat, and all the way to your tummy. Delicious.
There are some exciting food add-ons to the Happy Hour Menu as well. Mart ordered the Smoked Cauliflower, which we found to be quite tender, smoky and unique in flavor to any cauliflower recipe we’ve tasted. If they could find a way to make that sauce caramelize on the cauliflower, it would be perfect!
Also new is the Chicken “Chick” Arones. Modeled after Chicharrónes, which are crunchy, puffy pieces of deep-fried pig skin, Brick’s makes their’s with chicken skin that’s been dipped in a cornmeal crust and flash fried. I often find Chicharrónes to be greasy, but just look at the butcher paper in this photo? See any grease? No! And you won’t taste it either. I especially liked the dill pickle aioli, which they made like a remoulade after dehydrating the pickle in the oven.
Next up was the “tail-gate inspired” Smoked Wings. If you haven’t had chicken wings that were smoked first, do yourself a favor and try these beauties! There is just enough barbeque sauce to glaze the wings and caramelize the skin. The dip is a hatch chili ranch dressing, which should be bottled and sold! We kept the sauce at the table after the wings were gone, dipping pretty much everything else into it! Good stuff!
Staying with that “tail-gate” inspiration, where you meet up with friends and talk sports – be it football, hockey, baseball, soccer . . . whatever sport or team you’re cheering for, you’ll want to consider sharing the next two appetizers.
Brick’s Texas Nachos feature plenty of fresh jalapenos to get you fired up, and the salsa is their popular Lone Star caviar. The pulled pork is smoky and tender, sitting atop melted cheese, pickled red onions, tomato, fresh guacamole and a quick drizzle of queso sauce. Great for sharing, these nachos were devoured by our table so quickly they never had a chance to get soggy, like some of those monster sized nachos do.
Also served with corn chips, but on the side, is the Chilled Trinity at Brick’s Smoked Meats. Featuring cups of their popular pimento cheese dip, lone star caviar and fresh guacamole with corn chips. I don’t know which was my favorite, but I’m pretty sure those avocados must have come fresh from our local Farmer’s Market. Yum!
There were two big flavor surprises of the night. Brick’s Smokehouse Burger, and their Breakfast Sandwich. I say they were a surprise because I didn’t expect to be so totally enamored with both of them.
Let me start first with Brick’s Smokehouse Burger . . . I have enjoyed everything I’ve tried at Brick’s, but this burger was the BOMB! Wow! Who knew? Just as smoking helps develop the flavor in ribs, so too does it with Brick’s all natural, hormone-free burgers. This burger has a charred smokey crust and a thick, juicy, lick-your-chops interior. (I’m getting hungry just thinking about it!) You can choose pimento, cheddar, swiss or jack cheese with your burger, as well as a cold side and a bag of chips. For a hot side, like their pimento mac n’cheese, add .99 to the bill and it’s yours. Too good to miss out!
And finally, the Breakfast Sandwich . . . How do I describe a sandwich that would inspire me to get out of bed on a Saturday and drive from Osprey to the Sarasota Downtown Farmer’s Market just to get one? This isn’t just a breakfast sandwich. It’s Brick’s Brunch on a Bun! (My name for it! They’re being humble calling it a Breakfast Sandwich.) Featuring smoked pork, sweet chili bacon, eggs, pickled onion, lettuce, tomato, and Brick’s own house sauce, the Breakfast Sandwich is delivered in a foil wrapper so you can grab one on the run while enjoying the sights and sounds of the Farmer’s Market. The brioche bun is the ideal host for this sandwich as it folds around all that goodness and gently absorbs the flavors. I could eat ten of them. Well . . . maybe two. They are pretty big. And, as noted at the start of this blog, Brick’s only serves the Breakfast Sandwich from 9:00 – 1:00 on Saturdays, so keep that in mind when you don’t see it on the printed menu.
For dessert, Brick’s offer those delightful small canning-jar portions that I love. For only $3.00 each, you can enjoy their Brulee Banana Pudding (my favorite) or their S’Mores with the toasted marshmallow topping or the PB Pumpkin Pecan! That stands for peanut butter. . . with pumpkin and pecans. Are you kidding me! Why not order more than one? (I seem to be on a “keep ordering” theme here. . . )
Overall, I think Brick’s Smoked Meats is one of the absolutely best new additions to downtown Sarasota, with their casual menu and stellar food. Since opening, they’ve changed their order of service, as well. You no longer order at the counter before taking a table. Instead, they take orders at your table, which is great . . . especially if you become inspired to keep ordering, like me! You know I’d be holding up the line!