I consider myself a typical guy so I enjoy the sight of female servers in tight shirts and jean shorts serving me drinks and food. The waitstaff at Brick House Tavern + Tap (871 S. Hurstbourne Parkway) are not so hard on the eyes however as they are on a guy’s patience. (That would be a funnier line if the staff were dressed as scantly clad nurses instead of simply scantly clad, and I was an actual patient other than hungry and impatient.)
The slogan on the take out menu reads “take me out for a quickie” and the irony was not lost on me this week as it took more than an hour for silverware and delivered incorrectly. I also love the business model of distract the male diner with beautiful women and sports and they may forget they were hungry. I’m a dude after all, so I can relate. But being a recently married dude and convinced into hosting my in-laws for dinner, customer service and appetite were sent to the forefront of my priorities.
The phrase “you get what you pay for” weighs heavily in the foreshadowing of what followed. My beautiful wife suggested Brickhouse Tavern + Tap which only proves how well she knows and loves me. The food is guy food at its best, there are flat-screen televisions in almost every direction with ESPN 'round the clock, wood-burning fireplaces, lounge chairs to relax after a big meal, and the staff fulfill any fantasy of waitress I’ve ever had. (Note: It's great place for guys to have a meal, not to get to know the in-laws due to over-aural stimulation.)
The phrase “distract the male diner with beautiful women and sports and they may forget they were hungry” was assaulted with the phrase “you get what you pay for.” The service was awful, beautiful, but terrible—like my first prom date. I paid, yet received no attention and got little service. Alternatively the food, when it arrived, was delicious.
My wife and I started with the Sweet & Spicy Tails which consisted of large shrimp, flash-fried cherry peppers and sweet and spicy chili sauce. It was expensive, but rivals many Cajun restaurants in the area and worth the price if not the wait. A few beers in my in-laws opened us up to conversations about recent specials and dishes we’d like to try next time to include the section of the menu titled The Cure which of all things includes Chicken & Waffles, which is fried chicken patties, toasted fluffy waffles and all coated in maple syrup (Somewhere in cartoon-land, Homer Simpson just passed out.)
As far as a recommendation, I’d suggest that Brickouse is a great place to take the guys, but not the in-laws nor foodies in your life. It’s where Hooter girls learn tricks and the 13-year-old guy in us all lives out his fantasies. On the flipside it is a cool-looking place: outdoor patio, fire pits, nice decor. It has a very beautiful and expensive-looking layout with all kinds of beer, little, medium, big, or blinding sizes to pick from – which also reminds me of my first prom.
You don’t go for the decor on the walls however. A restaurant should be about the food, then service. Great service can salvage a mediocre meal, but bad service will kill the best-made dish and that’s where I found myself with in-laws in-tow. It is a fantastic place for the under 30 (male) crowd and the over 40 crowd who wants to feel under 30 again—which is what you’re actually paying for after all. And if having a bad time, wear sunglasses and drink their signature 100 oz beer bong. No joke, they actually offer this option. Ultimately, the best-looking car on the showroom floor is usually the one that’s been test driven the most. (Insert a ‘lipstick on a pig Sarah Palin joke here.)
So you do indeed get what you pay for, but you have to set your expectations so you pay for what you want. A great place to visit for a bachelor party or sporting event, but realize that the place you invite your in-laws reflects on you and likewise the service should reflect on the establishment. The joint needs a cigar lounge and Hugh Hefner to complete the picture for me, but I left with a full belly, a great conversation with the Manager CJ, and a little dizzy from cold beer, questionable service, and consistently not trying to make eye contact with any of the staff's wardrobe. So what if I’m still digging myself out from under from the man cave of the Brickhouse Tavern + Tap just so I can get to the upper level of the dog house I’ve found myself in. I’ll go back for sure, but I'm learning and now know who and what to ask for next time, and of course, whom to invite.
Photo: Brickhouse Tavern + Tap