As a Santa Monica resident, I have been complaining that Venice’s Abbot Kinney gets all the luck as far as grub goes (see: Gjelina , Tasting Kitchen, Intelligentsia Coffee) but the tide is beginning to turn as Main Street may be getting a second wind.
At the forefront of this evolution is the new Brick + Mortar. Set behind Peet’s Coffee in a somewhat secluded courtyard, this self-described gastropub strikes a delicate balance between cozy and bustling, making it work equally well for a date or a night out with friends.
The space itself has been gently but firmly reimagined since its days as Salute. Less modern and with a warmer vibe, the eponymous bricks and open beams suit the large space, and the low lighting and deep booths create a nice intimacy.
A large bar dominates the back wall, with offerings that range from a solid beer and wine list to unique house specialty drinks, like Blueberry Breeze – spiked with acai berry vodka – and the savory Cucumber Basil Refresher – garnished with the fragrant, fresh herb.
The menu, an eclectic mix of the melting pot of America, features staples like a fantastic burger and thin crust pizzas, as well as more unusual fare, such as crab & ricotta squash blossom fritters with chili aioli. The food offerings change weekly, reflecting seasonal changes in produce.
I visited recently with a couple of friends and we found ourselves greeted cordially, and were quickly ensconced in a corner booth.
We started with the chicken & pork potpie after getting a thumbs up on the dish from a neighboring table. Well seasoned and juicy, this filling twist on the English standby was a big hit. Another favorite of the table was the appetizer of curried hummus accompanied by a loaf of fresh, hot pizza dough.
Also delicious was the braised beef shin, blue cheese and arugula pizza. And in the end, although full, we managed to polish off a yummy sticky toffee pudding and a triple tiered, moist piece of carrot cake.
It’s safe to say that Brick + Mortar is a welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Brick + Mortar is located at 2435 Main St., Santa Monica. For more information and for reservations, call (310) 450-3434.