I hate to admit this but in the past six years I've lived in Napa Valley, I've probably driven past Brix,a little over a thousand times yet have dined there once. I went there for brunch a few summers ago and remembered thinking it was ok but nothing to rave about. And the reality is, nothing I ate compelled me to go back.
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how you look it, there are so many great restaurants up and down Napa Valley that our tolerance for ok food or ok service is at a serious low. If we're not wowed by authentic, delicious food then the chances of returning are nil.
But back to my story about Brix- my friends Jeff Durham and Joey Wolosz, also vintners of Gentleman Farmer Wines, texted me the other day letting me know about the Happy Hour at Brix - Monday-Friday from 4-6pm, they offer 50% off the entire bar menu, 50% off their wines by the glass list and 50% off all cocktails. Since they were the ones I had brunch with at Brix during my one and only visit, they knew my hesitancy and sent one more text telling me it was good and worth the visit.
And so I met them after work yesterday to try Brix out one more time. Even without the special happy hour prices, the bar menu food is good to very good and I would have no problems paying full price on many of the appetizers and small plates I tried. Even better, you can go there and not know many people there, which for me is a perk. Highlights on the menu were the following:
- sautéed squid – super-fresh and perfectly cooked- not rubbery
- organic baby beet & crescenza cheese salad - the pistachio vinaigrette brought the whole salad together
- mini burger trio served with super-ripe Roma tomato slices on the mini sesame seed bun
- cast iron roasted mussels with white wine, shallots and dill – again, cooked perfectly.
How about the wines by the glass? It's a good list and it makes me happy that wine director Jeff Creamer includes good wineries within their arm’s reach. Wines like Bridesmaid Red '08, Groth SB '12 and Paradigm Rose '11 - they’re good wines at full price and awesome at 50% off happy hour prices.
Take advantage of this happy hour deal as I think it's the best special offer in the valley right now. And while you're there, walk around their 2-acre backyard of gardens, vineyard and view the Mayacama Mountain range, it's pretty spectacular. And as you're checking out the garden, take notice of the veggies they're growing because chances are you’ll be enjoying them during your meal as Chef Chris Jones incorporates them into his seasonal menu.
Photo above- view looking due west at the Mayacama Mountains in Brix's backyard.
Happy Wednesday and official first day of Spring 2013!
- Kerrin Laz, Wine Director