“Do vegetarians eat animal crackers?”
A couple of weeks ago I had a lunch meeting in Placerville and, by chance, we ended up at Bricks Eats & Drinks, which is located at 482 Main Street in Placerville. Although it has been open for about six months, this was my first time there and I was delighted with the new decor, lighting and… well everything.
I ordered their pastrami Reuben, which came with slaw, smoked Gouda and 1000 island dressing on marbled rye. It was very good and, with the outstanding crispy fries that accompanied it and an order of sweet potato planks, with a buttermilk ranch dipping sauce, I ended up taking half of it home.
Their fries are just wonderful and are coated to make them crisp and stay that way. The sweet potato planks, which are variously sized, fried and served hot, were also very good and reheated nicely later that day to accompany the remaining half of my sandwich.
Last week I had an opportunity to stop by again, this time to talk with the General Manager, Laura Hartrick. She is a delightful lady with a lot of experience in the food business, 18 years of it off and on with this restaurant owner, Jose Rodriquez.
Hartrick had three dishes from the Starters and Small Eats portion of menu prepared for me to try: Ba Bas, spicy blackened lamb chops served on a bed of their very unique delicious slaw, with a sweet pepper relish; Hot & Spicy Shrimp, jumbo shrimp with butter, garlic and Cajun spices, accompanied by sliced sourdough for dipping and Fried Green Tomatoes, panko crusted on a bed of grits, topped with a tomatillo salsa and creme Fraîche.
The lamb chops were very spicy, but very flavorful and not over cooked. The sweet pepper relish was a great accompaniment and the slaw, which I took home, is a unique and delicious combination of sliced and chopped vegetables you will probably not find elsewhere. Together, the three worked wonderfully, and the slaw, even by itself, was crisp and delicious.
The shrimp were not overcooked (Hartrick asked me to notice) and nicely spiced. The bread dipped into the sauce became decadently buttery and garlicky, but I couldn’t stop doing it.
The tomatoes were my favorite. The tender green tomato slices, the crispiness of the Panko and the sweet and slightly acid flavor of the tomatillo sauce and the creme Fraîche, just went together wonderfully. I took the leftovers home and didn’t even warm them. They were still wonderful.
The menu at Bricks is quite large with more starters, a number of delicious looking soups and salads, burgers and sandwiches and Big Eats, liked Bricks meatloaf, top sirloin, center cut ribeye and New York steaks, Normandy (pork) chops, chipotle barbecued baby back ribs, chicken saltimbocca and piccata, sesame seed and peppercorn crusted ahi, fresh Atlantic salmon, shrimp scampi and one of the two favorite dishes, along with the burgers, fish and chips.
I asked Hartrick about their menu and she said it is designed to not compete with their sister restaurant, Cascada, down the street. I liked the lamb chops and told me Cascada has a rack of lamb, so they don’t. And, like Cascada, they have a unique “reservation” system.
They call their’s “Fast Pass,” which gives you priority seating, rather than them holding a table for you. You call ahead and when you arrive, they put you at the front of the line. It seems to be working quite well, especially during the busy 6 until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday evening hours.
Bricks has a full bar and lots of local wines. The bartender was serving a watermelon cocktail with “poprocks” on the rim and said they also have a “Courthouse” cocktail which, if you have more than, two, will probably get your there. They also have eight very drinkable beers on tap.
The kitchen hours are 11 through 8:30, Sunday through Thursday, and until 9:30 on Friday and Saturday. “If it is a happening night,” said Hartrick, we will stay open later.
For Monday night football, they will have “happy hour” with food and drink specials from 3 until closing.
For more information, call (530) 303-3480, and to see the whole menu and more, visit www.bricksonmainstreet.com.
Oh, I commented on the outstanding photographs of Placerville on the wall and Hartrick told me they were done by a Shingle Springs business, Studio B, owned by Scott and Sharon Benton. Copies are available and they can be reached at (530) 677-5369 or on the internet at bentonphotography.net.