On Monday Mrs. SC and I decided to have lunch at Brickhouse BBQ in downtown Madison. Since it was the day after Christmas many businesses and offices were closed and a lot of UW students were out of town, so we were able to park on the street.
We decided to concentrate on the sandwich section of the menu and my first choice was the brisket, which comes nontraditionally topped with cheese and fried onion strings. Fortunately enough meat hung over the edge of the roll so I could get an unadulterated taste, and it was pretty good. Lightly smoky and fork tender, it went well with the cheese and onions.
Whenever I visit a barbecue restaurant for the first time I try to at least sample the pulled pork, and Brickhouse has a good product. Like the brisket it had a good smoke level - not too overpowering, not too faint - and it was nice and moist. I would've preferred a little more bark mixed in but that's just personal preference.
I was hoping my wife would pick a 3rd barbecued meat but she opted for the Angus burger, medium-rare. I didn't try it but she said she liked it; it was cooked to order and juicy without being greasy. I did sample the fries and couldn't tell if they were made fresh in house or were a food service product, but they were hot and crisp.
Brickhouse has 3 house-made sauces: KC style (left), mustard (center), and vinegar (right). Each had a level of sweetness with the KC being the sweetest (as you would expect), but none was too much for me and the other 2 sauces had nice vinegar levels that offset the sugar. For some reason this photo makes me think of a closeup shot of a Muppet.
For my 2 sides I chose pit beans with the pulled pork and spicy green beans with the brisket. I really liked the pit beans as they were smoky and peppery but the green beans really disappointed me. I found them to be more sweet than spicy but that's just a matter of taste and neither right nor wrong, but what really put me off was the rubbery texture. I don't know if they were reheated from a couple of days ago or cooked fresh, but they were way too chewy and not at all tender, and I hope this was just an aberration and that normally they're much better.
Brickhouse is close to campus and as far as I know might be downtown's only specific barbecue restaurant, which is good for them as well as the students and other residents. If I get the chance to return I'll definitely do so, but there are just so many choices around here...