Bricks: Classic fare with original flavorful flair

Bricks is a bit of mystery from the outside.

You may have driven by the Newhall restaurant 100 times and either missed the modest, rust-colored building or didn’t know what was going on inside.

Yummy culinary magic — that’s what’s happening at Bricks, which takes (mostly) American classics and gives them an extra flavorful flair.

Take the Shrimp Po’ Boy ($12), a New Orleans favorite, with tempura shrimp layered on a golden focaccia roll with tangy coleslaw and spicy mayo.

There’s a bit of crunch, succulence, spice and tang in every bite, a great option when you want a light but satisfying sandwich.

The Bricks Burger ($12), on the other hand, is a towering concoction of hot grilled beef, crispy bacon, molten Swiss cheese, caramelized onions and grilled jalapeno. Oh, this burger…it’s decadent, delicious, and has just the right spicy kick. Just try not to grin like a fool when you eat it (I failed).

Bricks’ secret weapon is chef Abad Ruiz, who hails from Oaxaca and makes just about everything in-house, including all the dressings and sauces.

“Abad has a really good sense of taste and how things go together, plus he always adds that little bit of spice that makes each dish special,” said owner Mike Maynard, who took over Bricks in June 2018 with his wife, Dee; his daughter Ally; and son-in-law Jordan Galloway.

The Maynards became regular customers after being turned on to Bricks’ burgers by son Michael a few years ago. “We love a good burger and supporting independent restaurants that aren’t run of the mill,” Maynard said.

They never really thought about owning a restaurant of their own until Maynard recently retired from a 30-year career as head coach for UCLA’s track and field team.

“I got bored and wanted to do something my family could get into,” he said. “I’m a people person, so hospitality is perfect for me. It’s all about building teams, which I’ve done throughout my career.”

Bricks’ current winning team include Abad in the kitchen, with Ally and Justin handling the front and back of the house respectively. Maynard’s goal is to make sure everything is as fresh and locally sourced as possible. That includes the beer options, which features California microbrews on tap. (Try the flight of 4 4 oz. glasses for $7.)

The menu remains largely untouched, which means you can still indulge in the popular Poutine fries, a Canadian cult favorite that combines three of life’s best things – cheese, French fries, and gravy – in one big, beautiful bowl.

Dip the deep-fried curds and the slim, crispy fries into the savory, demi-glace gravy and eat together for a mouthful of happiness.

Newer appetizers include the Mexican-American mashup called Carnitas Tots ($8), golden brown potato puffs topped with a generous mound of tender, seasoned, shredded pork, sour cream, and a fresh pico de gallo.

The Newhall Nachos ($8) invoke more of a Southern flair – think pulled pork bathed in a smoky, slightly sweet barbecue sauce atop seasoned, golden curly fries and melted cheddar cheese.  Both are like adolescent food fantasies brought to life, albeit with a sophisticated gourmet touch, in portions generous enough to share with everyone at the table.

Looking for something a little more on the healthy side? Bricks has 10 salads to choose from.

The fabulous Palm & Arugula salad ($11) pairs peppery arugula with sweet tangerine segments, tender sliced hearts of palm, creamy avocado, and a zesty orange vinaigrette (get it topped with plump, seasoned shrimp for $3 more).

The salmon salad ($13) is another standout, especially when you cut up the perfectly grilled fish and toss with the vibrant mixed greens, juicy tomatoes, red onion, and a soy and citrus-infused ponzu dressing served on the side.

Bricks’ menu is so extensive you could eat here daily for a month straight and not repeat a meal and that’s not even counting brunch on Saturdays and Sundays, with such delights as chicken and waffles, as well as salmon chorizo hash.

With fall in the air, it’s an especially good time to take advantage of Bricks’ two patios. The smaller, more intimate front patio has high-backed booths with leather seats, while the larger back patio has heavy wood tables and a more festive vibe.

And just like the menu, you can’t go wrong with whichever one you choose.

Bricks, 23820 Lyons Avenue, Newhall. Open Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information, call 661-286-1091 or visit www.bricksnewhall.com.

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