© Photo special to The Guardian by Bob Gray
Chef Adam Loo has put his own stamp on the wonderful cuisine at the Daniel Brenan Brickhouse in Charlottetown.
I don’t know if the Daniel Brenan Brickhouse in Charlottetown has finally hit its stride or if I’ve finally figured the place out. But I’ve had some awfully good meals there this summer.
It’s likely a combination of both.
The Brickhouse has confused me a bit since its inception a summer ago.
Is it a trendy supper club?
Maybe a local food beacon where foodies can watch their meal being prepared in the open kitchen?
A slick upscale bar and grill?
Or is it a place to sink into a soft, comfy chair and let the evening slowly slip away?
Maybe a bit of all of these, as the place has three distinct floors and three distinct vibes, but the high-quality food holds them all together.
Adam Loo has become the executive chef of the Brickhouse this year, and a more inspired choice would be hard to imagine.
His menu is packed with fresh Island products, with the Brickhouse website listing 23 local suppliers as well as “market stands from tip to tip.”
His food is sensational, and the Brickhouse menu is flexible, with lots of large-portion appetizers designed for sharing or for making a light meal on their own, a shorter list of intriguing entrees and surprisingly decadent burgers and flatbreads.
Charlottetown’s commercial class has begun to flock to the Brickhouse for business lunches, and as we had a visiting dignitary arrive from Montreal, we thought we would join the lunch crowd last week, although it was hardly business.
Earlene chose an order of five bacon-wrapped scallops, with both scallops (Mickey Rose) and bacon (Taylor Meats) emanating locally. She added a “side” of fresh vegetables, and it came in a cute miniature skillet crammed with perfectly sautéed peas, green beans, carrots, onions and spinach.
I tried a cup of the excellent seafood chowder (featuring mussels, salmon and new potatoes in a superb smooth cream and basil broth) and then dug into the chicken flatbread.
Brickhouse flatbread is made from scratch daily and then grilled in front of you in the open kitchen. I was delighted with how wonderful my choice was — topped with very thick slices of fresh roasted chicken breast smothered in green onions and tomatoes, in a roasted red pepper and tomato sauce.
But the piece de resistance was the pulled pork flatbread, which our guest, Heidi, chose. Perfect fresh grilled flatbread rounds covered in local pulled pork cooked to an almost candied sweetness, topped with cheddar and the same great roasted red pepper sauce which graced my choice — it was superb.
After the first bite, she announced, “Okay, I’m checking out — I won’t be talking for a while now,” as she focused on the task at hand.
Her side was a mini-skillet of wonderful mac and cheese.
“Definitely not KD,” she mumbled, when she came up for air.
I love coasting in Marc’s Studio on the top floor of the Brickhouse — a great lounge dedicated to the memory of iconic Island artist and activist, the late Marc Gallant, who first restored the building and worked out of the top floor.
And now I think the first-floor open kitchen hasn’t seen the last of me at lunchtimes, either. Those flatbreads tasted like a lot more.
Lunch for two (flatbreads and sides) came to $24.88, with taxes in.
Each Friday throughout the summer, Bob Gray points readers to quality Prince Edward Island eating establishments in his Summer Savoury column. Suggestions and comments are welcome at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @bgray5.