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  • Reservations Recommended

    Restaurant Review ~ Brick Lane / 1636 17th St., NW

    Not the Yellow Brick Road. What do Elton John, The Beatles, and The Wonderful World of Oz have in common? The Yellow Brick Road as lyrics or as a movie scene. And all of this comes to mind when you hear about the relatively new Brick Wall eatery in Dupont Circle. In fact, the restaurant does feature brick walls, though not yellow — but it also packs in brunch crowds on busy Sundays.

    Although there’s plenty of outdoor seating on sunny days, all tables are apt to be full. Never mind — inside seating is both in the downstairs bar and upstairs, both on a tiny balcony overlooking the action below or in a rear skylit space. Once indoors, patrons can choose an empty table, but they can also hang out at the bar where a bartender/server will also serve your order from the menu as well as pour out booze as desired.

    Responding to all the incoming a nd outgoing orders, the waitstaff (and most likely the cooks) scramble to serve, making the scene itself very hectic. But despite the flurry, each staff member smiles and is courteous, regardless of all the demands on time and energy.

    Settled down and scanning the brunch/lunch menu, patrons can kick off brunch eats with a tempting watermelon salad or roasted red pepper hummus, both of which appear on the lunch menu. But if this is the day’s first meal, check out all the breakfast-centric dishes, from crème brûlée French toast and buttermilk pancakes to a frittata to what management labels as a Brick Lane Breakfast, packed with French toast or pancakes, eggs, home fries or fruit, and bacon and sausage.

    Patrons can also head to bigger, beefier dishes with a choice of burgers or a turkey BLT, an egg/cheese croissant, and tomato-basil grilled cheese. But if someone wants a tailored-down meal, consider the traditional Eggs Benedict, with two poached eggs on Canadian bacon, and then posted on toasted English muffins with a drizzle of Hollandaise sauce. The kitchen could kick the flavors up with a dash of black pepper or a sprinkle of chili sauce. The choice of sides includes home fries — here cubes of potatoes fried until somewhat crispy — or salad. Opt for the potatoes.

    If you prefer, of course, you could check out the lunch menu, depending on which time/day you sit down. Then choices more or less mimic what brunch offers, with the addition of heartier entrées, such as Atlantic salmon, vegetable pad Thai (or variations with chicken or shrimp) and roast chicken breast. Dinner offerings have many repeats, until the entrée choices, which add pasta, seafood paella, Diver scallops, and meaty entrées of pork tenderloin medallions, hanger steak, and rack of lamb.

    Alas, dessert choices are limited to a crème brûlée with seasonal fresh berries, chocolate lava cake with espresso caramel, and seasonal fresh fruit with a drizzle. Perhaps a creamy cheesecake may be in the menu’s future?

    Brick Lane Restaurant / Brunch, lunch, dinner daily. (202) 525-5309.

     

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    Alexandra Greeley is a food writer, editor, and restaurant reviewer. She has authored books on Asian and Mexican cuisines published by Simon & Schuster, Doubleday, and Macmillan. Other credits include restaurant reviews and food articles for national and regional publications, as well as former editor of the Vegetarian Times and former food editor/writer for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong. Click here to visit her website.