The Brick Bar & Grill

Barbecue and summertime go together, and The Brick's menu and outdoor patio fit the bill. My boyfriend Rob and I tried the Central Point restaurant for dinner. Once called Rostel's, we knew that the restaurant had changed ownership, but we didn't know what to expect.

Clark and Joni Mears bought Rostel's in March of 2008. The restaurant served steaks, seafood and chicken. When the Mears added barbecue to the menu in February, they also changed the restaurant's name to The Brick.

Aptly named, the restaurant sits in a historical brick building on the corner of Pine and Third streets. According to Joni Mears, the building began as a music store in 1889.

The Brick is the Mears' eighth or so restaurant venture, and the hosts offer a full bar, a dining room and two banquet rooms on the second floor where Joni Mears caters parties.

The night we visited, there was a breeze cool enough to keep us off of the patio and at one of the tables in the dining room.

Barbecue is a big feature of the newer menu. There's St. Louis-style baby back ribs — ribs that have been cut from the center of the rib bone — along with beef brisket, chicken and pulled pork. The barbecue dishes are served with baked beans, cole slaw, sweet potato fries, corn bread and dessert.

Rob slipped into a meat-lover's utopia as he read the menu, and I knew I'd be dining non-vegetarian as well.

We ordered a shrimp cocktail of black tiger prawns ($9.50) from the bar menu. Other short bar orders include calamari, mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, hot wings, tempura-battered mushrooms, fried ravioli, fries and onion rings.

The prawns were good considering Central Point's inland geography, and served with cocktail sauce in a long-stemmed martini glass.

I spotted the restaurant's BBQ Burger topped with Brick House Barbecue Sauce and served with onion rings and thought for sure it would be Rob's choice. But instead he went for the pulled pork on a pub roll with honey mustard barbecue sauce and fries ($8.75). This sandwich is the restaurant's most popular, according to our waitress. Others include shredded roast beef, chicken salad croissant, turkey bacon croissant, turkey club, French dip and a grilled avocado, bacon, lettuce, tomato and cheese.

I gave in to the 10-ounce Blue New York steak ($21.95), with a baked potato, salad and dinner roll. There's also a rib-eye, but I was swayed by the dollop of blue cheese butter on the New York.

The dinner entrees include scampi, deep-fried prawns or fish, grilled coho salmon, chicken alfredo and chicken cordon blue. A couple of house specials tout pot roast and a chicken-fried steak. The salads include a Caesar, a Cobb, a Smokey Pear Salad, chef and taco salads.

My dinner salad was great all by itself — full of hearty romaine, shaved carrots and tomato wedges, tossed in a creamy blue cheese dressing and sprinkled with crumbled blue cheese. I was in a blue cheese utopia.

Rob's sandwich came with a large basket of French fries, and my steak was served with a baked potato and a generous portion of fresh, steamed vegetables.

I rarely order a steak, but this piece of certified Angus beef was tender and delicious. I had ordered it cooked medium, and it was grilled to a T. Any self-reproach for dining on beef melted away — right along with the butter and sour cream on the baked potato.

Rob liked his sandwich, too. The honey mustard barbecue sauce hit a flavorful spot with the pulled pork.

The Mears have put a good steakhouse into the old Rostel building. The food is more basic and a little less spendy that some dinner houses.

The Brick also offers a breakfast buffet Saturdays and Sundays and fish and chips — all you can eat — on Fridays. The bar is open until midnight Fridays and Saturdays, until 10 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays.

With the weather warming in the Rogue Valley, Rob and I will be back to try the patio seating and more of the restaurant's barbecue.

— Laurie Heuston

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