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Brick and Brine

April 15, 2022

  • 100 W. Michigan Avenue
  • Kalamazoo, MI 49007
  • (269) 343-4444
  • Website
  • Menu

I love my kids and wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world…but sometimes it’s just nice to go to a meal without them.

We didn’t eat out for close to a year and a half during the pandemic. Once everyone was vaccinated, we slowly worked our way back in to our normal routine. We’re eating in restaurants again which we enjoy, but can be a lot when dealing with kids who would rather be at home playing video games.

We kind of got lucky last weekend. L had her first sleepover for a friend’s birthday. We assumed we’d still have B but J’s mom offered to take him for the night. We were picking L up from her friend’s house then heading to East Lansing to see Hamilton for the third time. J’s mom was planning on watching B for us and figured it’d be easier if she just took him on Saturday night.

That left just J and I. We absolutely knew we had to get out for dinner. There are a couple of dinner only fancier places that we’ve been wanting to get to.

We picked the new restaurant from Greenleaf Hospitality.

Brick and Brine is in the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo on the corner of Michigan and Rose. The restaurant is on the Kalamazoo Mall side of the hotel behind Old Burdick’s. It takes the space that was formally occupied by Zazio’s.

You can get to the restaurant either by going through the front doors of the Radisson or there is an entrance off The Kalamazoo Mall between Burdick’s and Brick and Brine. The restaurant is on the first level so if you come in through the parking ramp and skybridge, you’ll need to take the elevators down. They do validate parking in the ramp but we found a street spot nearby and just walked the block or so to the hotel.

I could only get a 9:00 reservation by the time I actually thought to get reservations so we were coming in for a pretty late dinner. The hostess found our reservation then asked if we were celebrating something. J jokingly told her we were celebrating a kid-free dinner and they kind of ran with that.

We only ate at Zazio’s once ten years ago so I don’t really remember much about how the restaurant looked. I know they did a pretty extensive renovation when they announced the change. I remember a lot of red in the décor but that is all gone. The colors are muted and more earthy tones.

Just like Webster’s Prime used to be, Brick and Brine has both a dining room and a bar area. The bar menu is much smaller consisting of mostly apps and handheld foods. This area is right in front of the space and is anchored with a bar looking in to the kitchen.

The dining room is much bigger than we thought it would be. There are a variety of seating arrangements ranging from semi-private booths to the long benches that are shared between multiple tables. The restaurant uses large windows along The Mall side of the space for natural lighting while the interior lighting is kept pretty dim with wall mounted fixtures and hanging ceiling fixtures. There is a mismash of chairs depending on what kind of table you’re sitting at.

We were taken to a two top near the back that shares one of those long bench seats with other tables. When we sat down, we were the only ones there. There was another couple seated a few tables down as we were finishing up our meal but it never felt intrusive. There was plenty of space between us.

As I mentioned earlier, J joked with the hostess we were “celebrating” a date night without kids. The way the hostess signals to the server that a couple/family is celebrating is by dropping poppies on the table. When the waitress came to take our drink orders, the first thing she asked is what are we celebrating so we kind of had to continue the joke.

We had stopped at Crafted Copper before heading downtown for dinner so we had both already had a couple of drinks. We figured one more for dinner was going to be it so we both got something we really wanted to try.

The draft beer list isn’t great which is kind of surprising given how good Burdicks’ is. They only have a few selections but they do have a bigger bottle selection.

I decided to go with a cocktail instead. I didn’t get one at Crafted Copper so I ordered an Old Fashioned. The Fashioned on 8th uses New Holland Beer Barrel Bourbon, a brown sugar simple syrup and ango bitters. I’m a big fan of New Holland’s bourbon and it makes a great Old Fashioned. I had to slow myself down because I didn’t think it’d be wise to order a second drink.

J ordered Mama’s Pear Jam. I ordered the Old Fashioned so she could try mine and order something else she wanted to try. The drink is called a “Comfort Food of Cocktails.” It’s made with Grainger’s vodka, a spiced pear liqueur, a blackberry simple syrup, lymon, and wycliff brut. I didn’t try it but she left nothing in the mason jar mug so it must have been good.

The reason you don’t see a lot of blogs from fancy restaurant from me is because we’re really not fancy restaurant people. If I can’t order French fries with a steak, I’m probably not going to order a steak.

We started off with the Feta appetizer. This little cast iron skillet is served with whipped sheep’s milk feta, honey, sesame, thyme, and lemon alongside a grilled bread. This was mostly for J. She loves Feta. I don’t mind it but I don’t love it like she does. Her plan was to get an appetizers and something small for dinner so I let take as much as she wanted and just grabbed one piece of bread for myself so I could try it.

The waitress also brought out a couple pieces of Focaccia bread and some whipped butter. J let me have both of these since she was working on the Feta at the time. The bread was light and fluffy. It was a good start and a better take on bread than typical dinner rolls.

I hate going to fancy places and ordering the cheapest item on the menu. I always think the waiter is judging me but the cheapest thing is usually the thing I really want to try.

I went back and forth before ordering. They have a couple different chicken preparations that both sounded amazing. There’s a fried chicken and a brick-fired chicken. I ordered neither. I really just have a hard time passing up a burger.

My pick was the Brick + Brine Burger. This sandwich starts with a 10 oz “natural angus custom grind.” It’s topped with bacon, aged cheddar, caramelized onions, house pickles, and a house steak sauce and served on a brioche roll. This sandwich was quite amazing. The meat was tender, juicy, salty, and clung to the cheese that had melted in to it. The bacon added another salt layer and was super crispy but not burnt. I feel bad sometimes ordering the cheapest thing on the menu but after taking a bite, I had no regrets. This is one of the best burgers I’ve ever put in my mouth.

The sandwich came with a little fryer basket of garlic fries. There were quite a lot of fries on the side of this burger. The potatoes were cut thin, fried crispy, and covered with garlic and fresh herbs. They were just as good as the burger.

J ordered more cheese. She also considered the fried or brick-fired chicken but it sounded like too much food for her at this point in the evening. She picked the Mac + Cheese for a Cause. This is actually a side dish but it’s almost a shareable side. The Mac is made with torchio pasta, aged gruyere, fontina, and aged cheddar. The cheese sauce was so delicious. J was stealing some of my fries to dip it in the leftover sauce.

We were pretty stuffed at this point and declined the dessert menu.

Our bill for this amazing meal was a little over $60 before tip.

Brick and Brine is a great addition to downtown Kalamazoo. It kind of combines Webster’s Prime and Zazio’s in to one fantastic restaurant. The thing that really jumped out to me is that you don’t really feel like you’re in a hotel restaurant. They’ve done a great job making the restaurant spacious but also intimate and inviting. We don’t get out to meals like this very often but Brick and Brine is a great option.

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