Family Dining at Corte Madera's Brick & Bottle
August 16, 2010Posted by pamela |
Last week we had a chance to try out the restaurant Brick & Bottle, which recently opened in Corte Madera in the spot Izzy's once occupied. At the helm of Brick & Bottle is acclaimed chef and Marin resident Scott Howard. Locals may remember his previous efforts at the highly regarded Fork in San Anselmo, and Scott Howard in the city. Brick & Bottle offers what it terms "simple California cooking" using super fresh local ingredients (no processed or frozen foods here) in a warm, family-friendly setting.
The staff at Brick & Bottle really go out of their way to make families welcome, although the restaurant is elegant enough to make a great "date night" spot as well. On this trip, we took the children along.
Upon arrival our kids were given coloring sheets and crayons, and we were seated in the cozy (but somewhat dark) main dining room. We all got a look at the open kitchen on the way to our table, with special attention paid to the wood-burning pizza oven. The kids were also given temporary tattoos with the restaurant's logo, which made them happy, as did the Shirley Temples that we let them get in lieu of the normal milk or water. These are all-natural, concocted with house-made grenadine and seltzer and devoid of any corn syrup. Grown ups can partake of numerous local wines, including wines on tap, and beers, if they're so inclined. We both got pints of Kent Lake Kölsch from Fairfax's Iron Springs Brewery.
The children's menu also made us all happy. It featured some of the usual kids' menu suspects like grilled cheese, a burger, and spaghetti with butter and parmesan, as well as scaled-down versions of some of the dishes on their regular menu, like a grilled skirt steak, petrale sole, and a traditional margherita pizza topped with house-made mozzarella. Our four-year-old daughter (predictably) opted for the grilled cheese with french fries, and the seven-year-old decided to try the pizza.
While our daughter was somewhat suspicious of the fact that the cheddar cheese was white and not the expected yellow (she's in that phase now), she nevertheless enjoyed it, but our son was extatic about his pizza. At $5, it's a bargain, and appears to be the same size, or close to the same size as the version on the regular menu. We all tried a bit and loved every bite, from the fresh tomato sauce to the crisp but chewy crust. We also had enough to bring home for lunch the next day.
All items on the kids' menu cost $5 or $7, and really help make taking the family out to eat affordable. Before you start thinking the Brick & Bottle is some "family dining" spot like Fresh Choice or your neighborhood Mexican restaurant, be assured that it's not. It's a "grown-up's" place that does a great job making sure the entire family feels at home. My son was really excited to go out to a "nice" restaurant, so much in fact that he made sure he wore his nice outfit. He kept looking around the dining room and telling us how thrilled he was to be there.
You'll also find a bustling and often boisterous bar here, thanks to the great happy hour deals, specialty cocktails ($9 for most), tasty bar snacks, and outdoor dining on the patio. If you want to bring your own wine, corkage is only $5, and the fee is donated to charity.
Of course our adult meals were excellent as well. We split a salad of roasted beets, goat cheese, and wild arugula, and I had ricotta ravioli swathed in a sauce of incredibly fresh sweet corn and heirloom tomatoes. My husband didn't want to share his skirt steak that was paired with some excellent addictive fries and a small but tasty BLT salad—fresh greens with bacon and cherry tomatoes topped with a couple nuggets of Point Reyes blue cheese. For dessert we all shared a butterscotch pudding. It's one of my favorite desserts of all time, and it didn't disappoint at Brick & Bottle, where they top it with whipped cream and some crushed peanut brittle.
Other menu items we considered were smoked pork shoulder with a chive biscuit and jalapeño slaw, the grown-up sized petrale sole with dungeness crab mashed potatoes, a braised short-rib and gruyere melt sandwich, and rotisserie chicken with smoked gouda orzo mac-and-cheese. Pizzas from the wood-fired oven also looked good, including the margherita, duck confit (pictured here), and wild mushroom.
Service was fantastic: attentive, unobtrusive, and welcoming. In fact, one of the best things about Brick & Bottle was that everyone from the manager on down seemed to really be having a good time working there. We'll definitely be back!
In keeping with its family-friendly emphasis, Brick & Bottle offers pizza parties for kids. Call the restaurant for more information at (415) 924-3366. Brick & Bottle is located at 55 Tamal Vista in the Marketplace shopping center (right across from Book Passage). Also, if you mention that you read this article on Marin Mommies, you get a free dessert for the table. You can learn more about them and even make a reservation by visiting their website at www.brickandbottle.com.