Sunday, February 19, 2006

Brick Oven

He: This was our second visit to Brick Oven (10710 Research, Austin, TX). The first one was a year or two ago and we came away with a rather favorable impression of the restaurant. We went back because I felt like eating some rich Italian food. Things started off on a somewhat more homely note than I had expected. As we were lead to our table, I noticed that the greeter was wearing something that looked suspiciously like carpet slippers. Of course there is nothing wrong with that, especially in a restaurant that is supposed to serve homestyle Italian food.

So, let's talk about the food. We got the Italian stromboli and the chicken cannelloni, salads and a chocolate mousse cake for desert. The plan was to share all of the food. The stromboli was quite serviceable, but left me wondering why I had been so eager to come back. It came with all the usual fillings and marinara sauce on the side. As the waitress explained to us, the difference between a stromboli and a calzone is that the stromboli has vent holes cut into it. Consequently the contents are a little dryer. Our stromboli was certainly a case in point. The contents did turn out to be a little dry and there seemed to be too much dough for the amount of sausage, peppers, and other flavorful stuff inside.

Nonetheless, I liked the stromboli better than the cannelloni, but part of the problem was that they were fairly cold by the time I tried them. The actual cannelloni was a bit mealy, almost as if it hadn't been fully cooked. The cheese almost certainly came out of a zippered bag that said 'Kraft' somewhere on it, and the tomato-based cream sauce that I remembered fondly from my first visit was surprisingly tasteless. I am sure that this dish would have been more appealing while hot, but probably not enough to live up to expectations.

The dessert was a pretty decent, but most likely mass-produced cake. It was a little too sweet and lacked the complex flavor of cakes made with high quality chocolate. However, it delivered an appropriate degree of enjoyment for the cost of $4 a slice.

Despite being disappointed with the food, I think Brick Oven is a fine place for a casual and inexpensive dinner. Our bill came to $33 including the salads and one dessert. I wouldn't call this restaurant a bargain, but the quality of the food is pretty much in line with the cost. Should I come back, I'll make sure that I am seriously hungry and order one of their good looking pizzas.

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