Brick American Eatery Lands Like a Brick

Brian Freedman has a disastrous time of it at Brick American Eatery on the 1700 block of Lombard Street.

[I]t’s the food that really burrowed into my soul and elicited a deep, break-up-style depression. An order of duck nachos was a plate of—wait for it—four chips. Each was topped with a forgettable duck confit, a glop of crema, and pedestrian avocado mousse. The chips were straight from a bag and heading toward stale, and seasoned with a spice blend as electrifying as an afternoon at the DMV. There also was no perceptible acid or other sign of life in this overpriced hillock of mediocrity. Chicken fried rock shrimp were encased in a gluey carapace that was made additionally repellent by a buffalo-wing-style sauce and “Maytag aioli” whose juxtaposition of funkiness and high-toned heat did a disservice to actual Buffalo-style anything I’ve had recently.

Everything About Brick, in Rittenhouse, Is Lovely—Except for the Food [Philadelphia Weekly]
Brick American Eatery [Official Site]

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • Buckethead

    I had a similar experience. My food wasn’t quite as bad as Brian’s apparently was but it was like the menu was conceived and plated in 1990.

  • PennBrat

    Looking forward to the new Jolly’s in UCity that is raving is gonna have great food from chef at Brick….bad kareoke with shitty food chased by handles of cheap vodka…awesome

  • redsonya75

    Brunch was pretty awful too. I don’t think 2 cubes of cantaloupe and a strawberry and a grape constitutes as “fruit salad”. Shame, because I live around the block from it.

  • Kevin Cut

    I really wanted to love this place as I live in the area, but the food and service were beyond bad. I miss the old FISH in this location.

  • bobnewhart1

    this was almost a better review than the xfinity live! one

  • Michael G

    Even the name is bad. Not as bad as Deuce or Hoof and Fin but close. Dead restaurant walking….give it 3-4 more months? Maybe Foobooz can start a pool where we bet on when restaurants will die.

  • Not Surprised

    I have not eaten there but have worked for Jolly and have to say he has always been out of touch with reality. He would get drunk and fire everyone on a weekly basis. His brother had to get a restraining order against him to keep him out of the prime rib.
    Not surprised by yet another failure in a long line of Jolly disasters
    Jolly should be dubbed the “king of closure”
    Cannot understand how he continue to get people to back him.

    • Neighbor

      This is crazy talk on a food review. I honestly have been to brick three times for dinner and once for brunch and I think they by far have the BEST food I have ever eaten And hOnestly it does not matter what one of the owners may or may not be doing brick is very busy every time I have been there so god bless him he must be doing something right and the staff are very friendly! I give brick four stars!!!!!

  • Brick Layer?

    Maybe Brick was coined because Jolly and the crew there will be doing masonry work this summer when his place closes or like when you miss a shot badly in basketball

    I know the owners at the piano bar at broad and locust and they are changing the name to get away from the negative stigma that the “Jolly” name brings

    good luck university city – Michael G – put me down for 1 month on Jolly’s University City

  • Anthony albeit

    If you want to go tit for tat the delco crew that owns jolly’s on locust street also owns fish and could not make payroll and that’s why fish closed Mike G. So if you wanna bring jollys drama against brick I stand by bricks food so if your not a coward come try the food for yourself.

  • Brick Layer

    Yo Tony – “tit for tat” “delco crew” are you kidding me?

    The review done by a professional stands on its own. And it looks like the overwhelming consensus is that the food is really not that good.

    But if you like it you are free to go there to eat as much as it pleases you.

    After this review and my one bad personal experience I will not be back.

    There are too many good places to dine in the area

  • Anthony albeit

    Ya the delco crew and this so called precessional is obviously someone who has a personal vendetta against jolly for other reasons because all of these comments are about experiences that do not relate to brick so put your personal feelings aside and stop hiding behind your computer and stop by 1708 Lombard.

  • TS

    I also live in the area and have eaten at brick many times. I enjoy it, as do the reviewers on Yelp. Brick has 4 1/2 starts there. You have to try the Duck Nachos. Yummy

  • badjack

    No, Anthony, it’s not obvious that it’s a personal vendetta. What’s obvious is that the “so called precessional” had a shitty experience (it’s also obvious that you work there).

    People hate places sometimes – it’s not necessarily some sinister conspiracy.

  • Greenie

    Wow, I read that review as well. I just used a Groupon at Brick. We got one appetizer and two entrees for $20. The wines could have been a better selection but my husband loved his entree (scallops) and I liked mine (special steak for the night) We had a 7:30 reservation but had to wait 1/2 hour for our table as they were a little over booked. The hostess (Diane?) was kind enought to buy us a drink at the bar. We had a lovely time and I would also echo the yelp reviews.

  • Neighbor

    It’s lovely. Just what we wanted. The wait for a table can be long unless you book ahead. They are expanding with more seats. I posted my review on Yelp a while ago. Not everything was perfect (didnt like the AC) but overall its a pretty nice time with delicious food.

  • MaryonSouth

    I’m a neighbor too! Go there once a week and the staff is as nice as can be. It’s a family run place and I love that! The price points are perfect and there’s always 3/4 specials every night. I used to go see Reed and Tom at Astral Plane and Brick has that feel. Friendly, nieighborhood people.

  • absurd

    Anthony – the review is about the bad food at brick not jolly and if you work there step it up rather than display your lack of education on here

    TS – Brian obviously did not have the same experience as you with the 4 stale out of the bag nachos

    Its pretty obvious that Greenie neighbor and Mary are all employees or owners because the overwhelming opinion is that the food is really bad. I ate there and my lamb burger was overcooked and tasted bad but the fries were good not soggy like Brian’s

  • Neighbor

    Im not an employee or owner. Just a regular patron who heard about what was being said. I can only say I have a different opinion and it seems that the vast majority of Yelpers have a different opinion as well. The entire neighborhood loves it, as they did Fish, its just different. Down to earth, friendly, approachable. Theres always a family member there to greet you.

  • no

    “so called precessional” – are you accusing them of having a wobble when they spin? Because that’s just low!

  • Devon

    I think it’s funny that people are commenting on here about Jollys character. I thought this was to rate brick? And for anyone who had a question about the name the former chef from fish actually came up with it. So if you have anything to comment on about that contact FISH. Jolly is not the only person involved in brick so if there is something anyone has to say about him please leave brick out of it.

  • SOS

    Recently had dinner with my wife and her father. The server was very nice and considerate albeit somewhat unpolished. However, the food was terrific. I had the tuna wontons and the steak sandwich. My father in law the skate and my wife the scallops. We all tried at least a bite or two of each dish and liked every single one.

    The only lasting effect of this review will be that moving forward I’ll be skeptical of anything Brian Freedman writes.

    As for Brick, I’ve spent the last week thinking of an excuse to return (with all of the amazing restaurants in Philadelphia, we try to spread the love) and will surely find one soon.

  • barryg

    Brian Freedman has been a hack since day one and a terrible writer to boot. However in this case, I actually agree with the gist of his review if not the degree and conclusion. The food at Brick when I ate there was very average, but mostly well prepared. No stale chips on the duck nachos (though the duck itself was a bit mealy and did lack some punch) and the skate wing was cooked perfectly (albeit not plated well). The menu is not cutting edge and the ingredients are not premium but the prices and fair and the service is friendly and good. A good, pleasant neighborhood spot but not a destination. It’s a good fit for that location and I suspect they will be successful–unless the crazy-cheap Groupon and TravelZoo offers they keep doing don’t kill them.

    Brian however can’t come to to a conclusion like that, and needs to bash any place that isn’t either trendy or “exotic” (see his pathetic, gushing reviews of Ethiopian and Cambodian restaurants where he heaps praise on any dish he never ate before regardless of quality), in some vain attempt to keep his foodie credibility–which he doesn’t realize he never had in the first place.