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April 2017

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Brick’s Brings Barbecue to Redding

The first time Femme de Joie dined at Brick's, back when it was on Placer Street (in the tiny building now occupied by the wildly popular Wilda's), she was underwhelmed. She and Amico del Signore ordered sandwiches (the exact contents now forgotten) which arrived slathered in a sweet red barbecue sauce that completely obliterated any smoke or grill taste. It could have been terry-cloth in those rolls; we wouldn't have been able to tell. Privately we vowed to never return.

But years went by. Brick's prospered and moved to a bigger location. The disappointing pain of those first sauce sandwiches eased. And eventually Brick's was given a second chance to redeem themselves. Breakfast seemed like a good place to start, so one Saturday morning we hied ourselves to Eureka Way to try it out.

If there is a Redding restaurant with a more poorly designed parking lot than Brick's, M. de Joie would be afraid to attempt parking in there. It isn't Brick's fault;' this lot has been like this for a number of years. It's as though the inventor of the Tilt-a-Whirl decided to transfer the concept of an amusement park ride to paving.

There have been several restaurants in this spot. If memory serves, there was the Donut Wheel, the ill-fated Avocado's, La Gondola (sorely missed), and possibly a couple of others. The current interior arrangement isn't fancy - wooden tables and chairs, a small beer bar in the back, a salad bar.

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Tri-tip and eggs, $9.89.

Tri-tip is one of those cuts of meat that everyone professes to love, but is nearly always dessicated and rendered flavorless by well-meaning cooks. This, however, was luscious and tender, with smoke rings around the edges. House-made hash browns were similarly well-executed - crunchy exterior and creamy interior.

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Chicken-fried steak and eggs, $10.89

We debated whether this chicken-fried steak was better than the one served at Dry Creek Station. While we didn't come to a definitive conclusion, we agreed it was equal. The steak still had some pinkness in the center and was quite juicy - a rarity for CFS. M. de Joie has never cared much for country potatoes/home fries in restaurants because they always seem to have an off taste, but these were delicious, crisp without being burned, and without that old-oil taste.

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Grits, $2.89

Is there another place in Shasta County serving grits? They aren't everyone's cup of tea, but it's worth ordering a small cupful and trying them with butter, a squeeze of honey, or using them to mop up egg yolk. These were al dente, as Joe Pesci prefers.

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Southwest chicken Reuben, $7.99

Brick's serves an interesting variation on the standard Reuben, substituting smoked shredded chicken for corned beef. It made for a messy, drippy, and delectable sandwich, the smoky chicken holding its own with the other ingredients. The swirled rye bread didn't hold up so well and finally collapsed.

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Hot link sandwich, $7.99

Femme de Joie does enjoy food that's fiery enough to make her reach for the Tums. The hot link sandwich at Brick's did just that, but it was worth it. A combination of sliced Andouille and Louisiana hot links, this might be a bit too spicy for some people. It is hot, as the name implies, and a bit on the greasy side, but the piquant seasonings make this more than just one-note hot.

Both sandwiches came with waffle-cut fries, which added support to M. de Joie's theory that any French fried potatoes which are sliced in fancy shapes will always be inferior to fries sliced in the usual wedges or finger strips.

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Spicy mac and cheese, $2.99

We both liked the creamy shell mac and cheese - not overcooked or dry, it did have a little heat but wasn't so hot that the kids would reject it out of hand.

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Coleslaw, $1.59

One the other hand, M. de Joie wasn't crazy about the coleslaw, which was less than crunchy. With a non-sweet mustardy dressing, it would have been better served on a sandwich as a relish rather than as a side dish.

Overall, Femme de Joie likes Brick's and is glad she gave them a second and third chance. The atmosphere is casual and service is friendly, if a little on the slow side at times. And they get huge Brownie points for serving Guinness and Newcastle Brown Ale on tap. It's a good locally owned and operated place on Redding's West Side, an area that could use some more decent restaurants. Rather than stop at that chain burger hatchery across the street, give Brick's a try (they serve burgers too).

Brick's Smokehouse BBQ & Grill, 1970 Eureka Way, Redding, CA 96001. 530-245-9158. Fax 530-245-9163. Open Monday-Friday, 10 AM - 11 PM; Saturday & Sunday open 6 AM for breakfast. Beer and wine. Vegetarian options. Cash, cards; no checks. On-site parking lot from hell or park on the street. Website at http://bricksbbq.com/index.php/home

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