Monday – Saturday:
Lunch 11:30 am – 3 pm / Dinner 5 – 9 pm
Brunch 10 am – 2:30 pm / Dinner 5 – 9 pm
We eat at Brix every now and then. It's one of those mid-tier high-end restaurants that's been around for a while in the area, and you could tell that the owners were trying to break out of the middle of the pack. They brought in a big name chef, Anne Gingrass-Paik in early 2009. They spent a pretty good chunk of change on refurbishing the restaurant right before the financial implosion of 2008 created a tourist air pocket. They had an ill-fated name change from Brix to 25 Brix (25 degrees to show when the grapes are harvested) and then reverted back to Brix partly because the name was too much of a PITA to explain to customers (we asked a waiter why the name change and he basically couldn't explain it coherently either.) and partly because a lot of people weren't happy with what 25 Brix was dishing out.
We've eaten there a few times, and have had solid meals and just ok ones over the years, but they've had some chef turnover during that time. As noted above, they've gone through some changes over the years with their newest theme being "farm-to-table" dining and the new chef 2009. But interestingly, despite the changes, our impression of it now is a little better than before 2008 but the overall feel is similar. But more on that later. So, let's start with our most recent visit in 2010.
We started off with the cream of corn soup which was a fine soup.
We also started off with some mussels and grilled bread which were solid although not at Bistro Jeanty's level or Bouchon's. I think there was supposed to be Spanish chorizo in there, but it didn't seem like there was much in there.
One of their signature dishes is the porcini rubbed New York steak with blue cheese and trumpet mushrooms. This was better than fine and was a good piece of meat cooked well. Maybe, if you're one of those steak purists ("just salt and pepper!") you might complain a bit about the blue cheese and porcini taking too much attention away from the meat, but I thought it was tasty.
Some sides of fries and polenta with melted truffle cheese. And both were fine. Actually, the polenta with melted truffle cheese was fairly tasty.
And below, two desserts. The first is a strawberry parfait with a strawberry sorbet at the top and fresh strawberries, cake, and fresh cream. I was in the mood for something lighter given the heaviness of the steak, and it served its role.
And then finally a baked alaska with lemon ice cream, almond cake, and a huckleberry sorbet which is also one of their main desserts. It was described as an "ice cake" which sounded sexier than a baked alaska. It didn't quite do it for us and was strangely unsatisfying. For instance, at least the parfait was light (fresh strawberries and cake and cream) and crisp (sorbet). The baked alaska was just...there.
Brix setting and service
Brix has one of the prettiest outdoor views in the Napa Valley area in the back of the restaurant. If you go for lunch, you should definitely try for an outdoor seat. Inside, it's more like a lodge with large wooden tables, some plush chairs, some wooden ones, etc. There's a fairly large wine shop connected to the restaurant as well.
Service is for the most part is ok. We've had some nights where the service was subpar and other nights where it was fine. Just sort of depends on who you got that night which is disappointing given the prices that they charge for their food and how the owners are trying to position the restaurant.
Price of our meal
2 glasses of wine + 2 appetizers + 1 side + 1 entree + 2 desserts = $150
2 glasses of wine + 1 appetizer + 2 entrees + 1 dessert + tax & tip = $150
Ah, yes, now here's the rub. Brix charges fairly high prices for their food andservice and always has, regardless of chef. Dinner plates are often in the $20-$30 range. Sides are $6 each ($6 for fries?!?!) And for that money, it just doesn't seem like things are as good as they should be. We've had decent meals there, but never great ones. We've even had some subpar ones. We'll still eat there just for variety and see how the new chef evolves, but even with all the changes, it's still just a little too middle of the pack for food and service for those prices. It's like the owners see themselves as one of the best so they charge like it.
Other Brix reviews and links
- Yelp reviews on Brix
- Tripadvisor Brix reviews
- Citysearch Brix reviews
- IgoUgo reviews
- SF Gate review