The Brick is Back? Not Sure…

Originally built in 1763, The Brick Hotel is a beautiful restaurant, bar, and 15-room quaint inn with a Victorian era ambience. The main dining areas are encircled with a glass enclosed porch with very desirable seating as it wraps around and overlooks historic Newtown and their garden, where diners can sit and enjoy the outdoor view. Very charming—at least at one point in time.

Once a popular destination, The Brick denigrated down to a Trip Advisor’s rating of only 2.5. And we can attest to that. In October 2014, Russ, his son Daniel and I went for a Sunday brunch which is supposed to last until 2:00. We arrived at 12:30 and the offerings were all but gone and were not replenished for the duration of the brunch! At $27 per head, it was inexcusable. It was obvious, the aging inn was struggling to maintain the polish for which it was once revered.

The cold buffet offerings are spread out on the bar…

…while the hot food is across the way. You can see there were pretty slim pickins.

A sample of the hot offerings that were scraped together.

And morsels from the cold buffet.

Daniel and Russ even found room for dessert.

In November 2015, infamous British culinary and hospitality expert Gordon Ramsay took on The Brick in Fox TV’s Hotel Hell. After revamping the menu and addressing hygiene issues, he and his team gave the walls and furniture a sleek remodeling with a palette of classy shades of grey. Now renovated with a trendy entrance area, The Brick still has many features from the seventeen hundreds still intact, such as the first-floor staircase.

Gordon Ramsay instructs the waitstaff on the new menu.

The foyer with the famous revamped staircase.

But our first visit back in quite some time, even before the brunch episode, was the Thursday evening before Labor Day weekend 2014. We made it just in time for the end of their happy hour. The fact that hardly anyone was around, either inside or out, was an indication of the Brick’s slow demise—although we didn’t know it at the time.

Our view from the garden during happy hour back in August 2014. It’s apparent that there were few, if any, other patrons. Our much younger waitress kept calling us “you’s lovebirds.”

We shared the dinner menu appetizer Black & Blue grilled flatbread with blackened steak, crumbled bleu cheese and caramelized onions. 

We also shared a Happy Hour Special called Buffalo Shrimp with a trio of battered crispy tiger shrimp, garlic buffalo sauce, bleu cheese slaw and remoulade. 

Even though recent Trip Advisor reviews are still complaining about the shabby hotel accommodations, we were ready to give it another chance, this time for dinner on a Saturday night. Let’s just say it wasn’t a promising start! Entering into that large revamped foyer, no one was manning the hostess station, so Russ ventured into the bar area, but again nobody there…

He finally caught sight of someone in the kitchen and got her attention (although Russ swore she was trying to vanish). She asked us if we had reservations—are you kidding me??—there were only two other occupied tables on the wrap around porch, and no one else in sight! Finally seated and with menus in hand, we selected a bottle of wine then set about deciding what to order—if not a bit fearfully.

Russ reviews the menu in the all-but-empty wraparound porch.

The Sherry Infused Wild Mushroom Soup appealed to both of us as a starter, and it was delicious! Russ chose the New York Strip, medium rare, drizzled wth a demi-glaze that came plated over a mound of risotto and wilted spinach. He had no complaints.

The not very exciting to look at mushroom soup, that tasted superb.

Russ’s New York strip came pre-sliced.

My entree, Center Cut Pork Chops (something I usually never order when I’m out, so I don’t know what possessed me) arrived over a bed of roasted baby potatoes, sautéd brussels sprouts, and sweet and spicy apples. The accompaniments were probably some of the best I’ve ever eaten, so moist, tender and full of flavor. The chops on the other hand, were dry and overdone, a real disappointment.

Lynn’s pork chop dish looked great, but the meat was dry and overdone.

In the past couple of years, we have had their bar menu in the garden; their Sunday brunch and Saturday dinner, both on the wrap-around porch. It hasn’t exactly been “three strikes your out” but I imagine if things don’t improve and patron traffic increase, The Brick Hotel will definitely be history—literally…

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