Monday, February 7, 2011

Brix Napa Valley Grille & Wine Bar

Brix was horrible. There, I said it. I don't even feel like slowly getting into that one point that I will try to make at the end. I mean, the atmosphere is OK (however, it is known as a "cougar" hangout at night haha. I cannot vouch for that though since I haven't been there past dinner time; although I do notice that there were no kids nor teens around me when I went for dinner), the appetizers were mediocre, the service was not bad, but honestly, it was the main dishes that really REALLY killed it. I mean when I average everything out, Brix shouldn't be "horrible" right? But trust me, the mains were so bad that it didn't matter if the appetizers were awesome (which they weren't anyway) I would still stay away from Brix if possible in the future. I was glad I had a voucher for $70 from Groupclick (paid $30 for it) or else I would have wanted to kill someone if I actually had to pay full price for this meal.


Here's the "crowd" that night. I also know that Brix does a lot of corporate parties. Not sure if I'm crazy about that big screen TV on the left there. We were seated in the dining room, NOT the bar, leave the big flatscreens at the bar please.




Drinks were fine, although I would have preferred fruits such as strawberries or raspberries as well in my sangria - mine had just a piece of lemon, lime, and orange. All acidic / tangy fruits.


Brix Truffle Fries - Dusted with Grano Padano, truffle mayo. The mayo was good, but anything with truffle is bound to be good. So besides the mayo, it was basically just fries with cheese sprinkled on top, which is a bit weird because the powdered cheese were dry (unlike a poutine with melted cheese / cheese curds) and I've never had dry powdered cheese on fries before.


Quesadilla - Sun-dried tomato cream cheese, chicken, caramelized onions,jalapenos & Monterey Jack cheese. I actually liked the quesadillas because it was served very hot and the cream cheese was thick and cheesy. The tortilla was also thin and not  thick nor doughy. 


Brix mini burgers - House made tomato relish, melted American cheese. 


The burgers were not bad except for the "house made tomato relish". I'd much prefer regular ketchup over this house made relish that tasted merely like plain canned tomato sauce. They did not serve any other condiments with it either.


Out of the three appetizers, I enjoyed the quesidillas the most, the second would be the burgers, and then the fries (because of the truffle mayo and not really the fries themselves). So here comes the entrées.

Beer Braised Short Ribs - My boyfriend had this. I want to point out that my boyfriend is not a "foodie" and is not picky about food at all like how I am, but even he had major problems with his entree. 


Let's begin with the short ribs. Not sure about you but I thought short ribs had bones. There weren't any in that slab of meat. OK so fine, no bone, can live with that, right? Well not if the "short rib" tasted more like "stewed beef". My boyfriend actually said that the texture of the meat was so dry and flaky it reminded him of the stewed beef that is left over from making soup. When he used a fork to peel away the meat, thin shreds of dry meat will come off individually.  I'm pretty sure thats why the plate had so much sauce just so whoever is eating it can use the sauce to mask the dryness of the "short rib". 


Lets move along now to the sides. You can see here that the "house made tomato relish" aka "canned tomato sauce" appears again. This relish adds nothing to the dish, not only does it not belong, it doesn't even compliment anything - it doesn't go with the veggies, or the short rib (there was already sauce for that). It was just...there. As for the grilled veggies, which were the asparagus and the bok choy, were all way over cooked / grilled. Look at the leaves below. It is all shriveled, shrunken, and dry, which actually gave off a bitter taste. 


That piece of boy choy actually reminds me of dried preserved vegetables ("muy choy" in Cantonese) which is way more tastier than the above.


My boyfriend did not finish the mashed potatoes either. Sad because my boyfriend usually cleans the plate. 

Ahi Tuna Salad with Goat Cheese Fritter - When the plate came I was genuinely so thrilled because it looks great. The salad was stacked high, the colours were beautiful, everything looked so promising.


And now, the sad part begins. First of all there were only three tiny pieces of ahi tuna. I mean, if the three pieces of ahi tuna tasted really good, I wouldn't have complained (as much). But they were the worst ahi tuna I've ever tasted. The seared part was so hard and the whole piece of fish was extremely dry. There was zero moisture left in those pieces of fish; when I was chewing it, it made my tongue dry. Yeah, I know that sounds impossible but it did. I gave some to my boyfriend to try and he made a face. As for the chips you see stacked on the top? They were stale, no crispiness to it at all. Obviously they didn't even bother to make fresh chips. 


I added this goat cheese fritter to the salad, which cost $3.95. Even though I didn't know what I was expecting, I was still expecting more than this tiny ball of goat cheese. But this fritter was the best part of my salad. The greens itself was mediocre and lacked dressing.


I'm not sure if I can make myself more clear, but there is no way I'm going to Brix again. If I do end up going there, just know that it was not by choice. I know it sounds bad, but I still feel ripped off with the 57% off voucher..

Brix Napa Valley Grille & Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

16 comments:

kiki's B.F.F said...

yes, it a "cougar" hangout at night... been there for drinks at night, good thing we didn't try any of their food and just open bottles of wine =P

The Food Junkie said...

@kiki - Yeah, I would stick with the drinks at Brix since I know our taste in food is pretty similar!

Joanne said...

I've never heard of this Brix place before but after reading your review, I'm super glad to have never eaten there. You can tell if a resto is good by the way they treat their vegetables. Oh boy, that bok choy looks so sad! Good observation on the meat being covered with sauce to camouflage it's dryness. That is a trick they do in resto's that I've seen before. Yuck!
Question #1: Did you complain to the server or send the food back? Question #2: Did your server ask you how the meal was after? I would tell them it sucked if they asked me.
After years of eating crappy food and not saying anything in restaurants, I have zero tolerance for being ripped off now and it shouldn't matter if you are using a coupon, you deserve good quality food!

The Food Junkie said...

@Joanne - Haha I'm not surprised that you haven't heard of Brix since it's all the way up in Markham. As for your questions:

1) I could have sent the food back, but I usually don't send food back unless they messed up my order (i.e. steak being overcooked when I asked for rare). Although yes, the short rib was overcooked here, we were pretty much unhappy with every single element with our entrées, including taste. If we were to send back our entrées with all those negative comments, I'm pretty sure someone in the kitchen will spit in our food~ Maybe I'm just too paranoid from hearing horror stories from resto kitchens.

2) Maybe I will take your advice next time and just tell the server I am unhappy w/ the food, and just leave it at that w/o having it sent back. IMO unless they can produce a perfectly braised short rib and find a fresh piece of ahi tuna without ruining it, all in 10 minutes, I'm afraid I don't have the patience. But that's just me. But like you said, I should have told the server at least so that they are aware of it.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. I almost bought a voucher for this place but was too late and mt order didn't go through. I am glad I dodged this.

Ronald said...

Yes I eat pretty much anything without complaints but those short ribs were subpar at bestttttttt.....

The Food Junkie said...

@Anonymous - Thanks for reading :) I'm glad you dodged this deal as well haha~ FYI someone said to me that it seems like chain restaurants are better than Brix, and I told them yeah, I would choose Milestones or Moxies over this place any day!

@Ron - That speaks volumes ^_^

Leesh said...

I went to Brix when it first opened. Mike took me and a bunch of my friends to celebrate my new job. I remember the food being really good and they had this awesome espresso creme brulee - this was back in 2004. The last time I ate there was in 2006 and have been wanting to go back to see what it's like. Maybe I will re-think this now that I have read your review.

The Food Junkie said...

@Leesh - Ahhh maybe they deteriorated after several years? Not sure, or maybe it's a hit and miss? I feel like a lot of restaurant these days are not very consistent =(

drewdogg said...

Someone should have warned you! Place is famous for being terrible.

The Food Junkie said...

@drewdogg - LOL I know :( odd thing is some ppl still tell me they like the place (for food) :/

drewdogg said...

Someone should have warned you! Place is famous for being terrible.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this review. I almost bought a voucher for this place but was too late and mt order didn't go through. I am glad I dodged this.

Joanne said...

I've never heard of this Brix place before but after reading your review, I'm super glad to have never eaten there. You can tell if a resto is good by the way they treat their vegetables. Oh boy, that bok choy looks so sad! Good observation on the meat being covered with sauce to camouflage it's dryness. That is a trick they do in resto's that I've seen before. Yuck!
Question #1: Did you complain to the server or send the food back? Question #2: Did your server ask you how the meal was after? I would tell them it sucked if they asked me.
After years of eating crappy food and not saying anything in restaurants, I have zero tolerance for being ripped off now and it shouldn't matter if you are using a coupon, you deserve good quality food!

kiki's B.F.F said...

yes, it a "cougar" hangout at night... been there for drinks at night, good thing we didn't try any of their food and just open bottles of wine =P

Adriennechau said...

Yeah I agree. If Nava didn't close down really...I wouldn't be going there...the first time (and that's the only time) I've been to Brix, I was very disappointed. The food was so dry and hard, it actually cut the insides of my mouth eating it. The service was terribly slow. I hope this time I go, it won't be as bad but I doubt I'll be heading there again after this.

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