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Hit The Brixton
Matt Lee | Photo: Anthony Tahlier | April 2, 2014
Andersonville’s The Brixton brings a creative spin to small plates and craft cocktails.
Seeing as The Brixton is establishing itself as an Andersonville neighborhood destination, I decided to take a longtime Andersonville native with me to dine there.
“Oh, it’s where In Fine Spirits used to be,” he said as we walked down the street, echoing a familiar lamentation for the passing of a long-gone neighborhood gem, and underscoring the sentiment that, in a roundabout way, chef Kevin McMullen’s new restaurant has large shoes to fill.
While it’s hard to know what it will feel like to walk into The Brixton in warmer weather, on this cold night, it was just right: There was a pot of mulled wine on the window ledge, filling the restaurant with a sweet, spiced aroma reminiscent of the holidays. The dimly lit space is furnished in dark woods, plaids and brick, and the design strikes a nice balance between comfortable and cool—the latter underscored by the New Wave soundtrack on the night we visited.
Looking over the menu, I encountered a minor setback: The much-touted Brixton Burger was nowhere to be found. The burger, with shallot jam, Tillamook cheddar and bacon, is causing quite the stir, and I had planned on ordering one... but, alas.
Feeling meaty nonetheless, my pal and I started with the chicken liver pate and jerky—on this night, pepperoni-flavored, though McMullen switches that up often. The jerky was flavorful, spicy and hearty, and both a creative and delicious way to start a meal. My friend, rather a connoisseur of the stuff, found the generous portion of pate, served with huckleberry jam and mustard, “smooth, rich and decadent.” We finished the pile of crostinis it was served with and asked our server for a few more to polish it off.
We liked the pate so much, in fact, we also ordered the even richer rillettes, a pate-like dish made of pork cooked slowly in fat. We enjoyed this treat with two of the imaginative, visually arresting custom cocktails. My friend, the bourbon-lover, was beyond pleased with his High Thyme—a Bulleit-based concoction flavored with maple syrup, lemon and a dash of Fresno chile, the latter providing a kick he particularly liked. I found my White Riot equally appealing. A light, complex mixture of gin, Luxardo cherry liqueur, citrus, bitters and ginger beer, it was the perfect, refreshing counterpoint to the extraordinarily creamy rillettes.
Why stop there? Off the large plates menu, continuing our splurge of unchecked decadence, we split the chicken sandwich, served on brioche with a thick secret sauce. It was, simply put, fried perfection, with a sweet and crunchy skin, and meat so tender it nearly fell apart to the touch.
I’d completely forgotten about the burger—until I saw the table next to ours being served a gorgeous one, along with what was perhaps the best-smelling basket of fries I’ve ever encountered. Our waitress informed us that it had been taken off the menu temporarily; they had been serving so many of them that the preparation was smoking up the restaurant, and they needed a few days to air it out. One could, however, order it off-menu.
So, it always pays to ask. As for me, I’ll have to wait until my next visit to this excellent neighborhood spot worthy of any legacy.
5420 N. Clark St.
Open for dinner, Tue.-Sun.
Brix Chicken Sandwich.......$12