Sherman's Food Adventures: Brix & Mortar

Brix & Mortar

Boy, we haven't been back to Brix & Mortar for quite some time!  The last time was in 2017 and unofficially, I was back in 2021 for a wedding.  So it was about time we returned to see what has changed (or not changed).  Well the first thing we noticed was the live music (which was fantastic) where a booth used to be in the corner of the restaurant.  Predictably, the menu is completely different.   We arrived in time for happy hour, so we scored on some bevvies as well as some appies.

The first of which was the Albacore Tuna Tartare served with prawn crackers and a sesame tapioca crisp.  Buttery and soft, the tuna tartare was mildly-seasoned which meant we could taste the fish (which is a good thing).  It was fresh and had the taste of the sea.  It was accented by scallions that gave it some brightness.  Personally, I could've done with a bit more acidity though.  The crackers were a great vessel for the tartare since they were light and crispy. 

Next we had the Popcorn Halibut with tartar sauce and house-made potato chips.  I quickly ate some once it arrived since I knew they would only get drier as they sat.  Good thing too as the first few bites yielded moist and flaky halibut coated in a light tempura batter.  The ones I ate at the end were less moist.  Absolutely loved the tartar sauce as it was creamy with plenty of acidity.  Chips were thin and crispy.

We ended up with one appie from the main menu in the Seared Sea Scallops.  They were perfectly prepared as evidenced in the picture.  Beyond the caramelized sear, the scallops were buttery and slightly rare on the inside.  Tender and sweet, those scallops would've been great on their own, but the accompaniments underneath elevated the dish.  We found confit pork belly that was crispy and provided salty fattiness to the dish.  This was balanced off by the acidic and sweet pickled pineapple that was also rather spicy (loved the heat!).  Cilantro, radish and peanuts gave this dish a uniquely Thai-flavour to the dish.

For my main, I went for the Grilled "Lumina" Lamb Neck with curry-braised lamb & potato gnocchi, green peas and grana padano.  I absolutely loved this dish as the lamb neck was super tender and fatty.  It was cooked just enough and the inherent flavour was enhanced by the spiced curry.  The flavours were rich and full-bodied (especially with even more lamb).  The salty and nutty cheese went well with this.  Also loved the gnocchi as they were tender with a bite.

Viv had the Wild Sockeye Salmon with lentil cassoulet, peppergreens and meyer lemon habanero beurre blanc.  That piece of salmon was prepared expertly with an aggressive char on the outside that resulted in crispy skin that was smoky.  It helped activate the fats and the fish was tender and flaky.  It was seasoned enough on its own, but the beurre blanc was really flavourful with hints of saffron.

For dessert, we had the Strawberry Pannacotta which was super refreshing and great for a Summer day.  The pannacotta itself was creamy and not too stiff.  The corn flakes on top added a wonderful crunch and sweetness.  We found passionfruit pearls that afforded some tropical notes while the sorghum strawberries were sweet with some pop.  What brought this all together was the lemon curd as its tanginess balanced off the layers of sweetness.  Pretty solid meal at Brix & Mortar where the outdoor seating was great on a moderate temperature day.  Service as solid and prices were fair.

The Good:
- Solid eats
- Excellent service
- Nice outdoor dining area

The Bad:
- Other than the first few bites, the halibut was rather dry


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