210408BRICKHAUS

Nikki Bolka, a member of The Gazette’s restaurant review team The Four Dishes, picked up this grilled cheese sandwich as part of her order from Brickhaus Cafe in Jefferson.

JEFFERSON

Brickhaus Cafe has been on our radar for a few years now. The last time we ate in Jefferson, we walked around the downtown and thought it looked charming.

Much as we’d like to sit outside and enjoy breakfast by the river, we just couldn’t wait any longer.

Located in one of the oldest buildings in town, Brickhaus opened in 2010 after a renovation that restored the exterior brick as well as the exposed brick inside. Right now, the restaurant is not open for indoor dining, but there is a welcoming, cozy vibe evident even during a quick takeout visit.

The beverage menu has some unusual selections. I had to try the chaga mushroom mocha ($4.50) with oat milk for an additional 50 cents. I hadn’t seen that on a menu before.

Chaga is a fungus that is dried and used as a supplement, boasting lots of vitamins and nutrients and the added benefit that it “might” fight against aging. Hmmm …

The way Brickhaus does it with cinnamon and cacao could get me addicted. It was like a light mocha that was not too sweet and with earthy undertones. It was perfect with the gluten-free monster cookie ($1.75) I ordered, which was deliciously soft with a little texture from the finely ground nuts, oats and M&Ms.

For my meal, I had the soup and salad lunch ($9) with a bag of chips. The warm, rich Southwest soup was creamy with a bit of an afterbite. There were chunks of chicken, beans, corn and small bits of tomato, which helped make it both filling and satisfying.

My Cobb salad came featuring mixed curly greens, bits of peppery bacon, blue cheese, cherry tomatoes, red onions and a hard boiled egg. Fresh and yummy.

Helene’s golden milk latte ($4.50) was the color of sunshine, and it tasted of cardamom—similar to India’s masala chai tea. She opted for whole milk, which lent a creaminess to the drink, and the spices gave it a depth of color (from the turmeric) and flavor (cardamon was the predominant taste, with ginger and pepper toning down any sweetness from the cinnamon and agave).

She picked the Rascal sandwich ($8.50) for her entree. The grilled French bread had a nice crunchiness to it, and while not piled high with roast beef, the meat was tasty. Spinach, red onions and thinly sliced tomatoes rounded out the sandwich while the garlicky, mayo-like sauce added to the flavors. Her side of hummus was more citrusy than garlicky, with crisp carrots adding another bright color to the meal.

Though scones get a bad rap in a lot of households, Helene enjoys them. Her blueberry scone ($2) hit all of her requirements as it was browned on the outside, not too sweet and was filling.

Nikki was intrigued by the beautiful beet latte ($4.50), which she tried with almond milk for an additional 50 cents.

This really was a beautiful drink, with a dusty rose color and the flavor combination of beet, ginger and cinnamon (all organic). It didn’t have the kick of a caffeinated latte, but it was warm and fragrant and very tasty.

For her lunch, Nikki opted for the Brickhaus grilled cheese ($8). She loves grilled pesto and tomato sandwiches, and this took her favorite up a notch with the addition of bacon, feta and cheddar. It was tangy and delicious.

She finished off her meal with a cranberry sour cream bar ($1.75), which was a chewy, fruit-filled treat featuring an oatmeal topping and crust.

Jennifer decided on the herbivore sandwich ($7). Served on thick multigrain bread, the sandwich was bursting at the seams with layers of ripe, fresh vegetables—cucumbers, spinach, sliced tomato, red onion, sprouts and provolone cheese. It was the avocado poblano sauce drizzled over the veggie sandwich that was the star—earthy and garlicky with a nice avocado flavor. She enjoyed every bite, and she was quite impressed that the sauce didn’t make her sandwich soggy during the transit time from Jefferson.

She had ordered Greek pasta salad as a substitute for either kettle chips or carrots and hummus. Unfortunately, the eatery was sold out of the salad, but that just provides another reason to go back for a second visit.

For her beverage, Jennifer selected the avocado mango smoothie ($5.25). Delightfully tropical, it boasted lots of mango flavor and creaminess from the avocado. She commented that she wished she’d had a paper cocktail umbrella for it!

For dessert, she ordered the vegan lemon bread ($2.25), which was extremely moist and refreshing with a prominent lemon flavor that reminded her of summertime. The house-made icing—again with a nice lemony, sweet taste—was light and airy and was a great ending to a superb lunch.

The Four Dishes—Nikki Bolka, Helene Ramsdell, Jennifer Spangler and Beth Webb—review regional restaurants for The Gazette.

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