Brick Oven Cafe. Kenner: 2805 Williams Blvd.. 504-466-2097.
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 12:34
Brick Oven Cafe
WHY IT'S NOTEWORTHY
It appears to be slick and commercial, but the food fulfills all the menu’s promises. The specialties are pizza (indeed baked in a wood-fired brick oven) and pasta, with all the expected accompaniments. The menu is more like one you'd find in the Northeast than in New Orleans. Lots of vegetables, white sauces, olive-oil-and-herb sauces, and seafood. The cooking and service are inconsistent, but unless it's overwhelmed with customers it’s a fun place. The Brick Oven is one of the five or six or so best places to eat near the airport, where the pickings are slim.
If the brick oven is working (it occasionally goes down), the pizza will be quite good, with a thin, crunchy-edged crust and toppings of good, fresh ingredients. The kitchen turns out a number of dishes not often seen elsewhere, notably chicken Vesuvio, spaghetti amatriciana, and panneed veal chops Milanese. The food is better than one expects across the board.
When the Brick Oven opened in 1991, it was as a prototype for a planned chain of Italian eateries. That explains the unusual iconography (the Statue of Liberty is the logo) and design. In fact, the founders were a family with a long history of New Orleans Italian restaurants, Irene's and Fausto's among them. A few years ago they sold it to the family that owns Deanie's in Bucktown. They have kept the menu and style intact.
The place is smaller than it looks, thanks to the mirrors and big windows. It is getting a bit worn out here and there. The brick oven is the centerpiece of a semi-open kitchen. The Statue of Liberty stands outside the front door.
Eggplant rolatine (stuffed with mozzarella, baked, red sauce).
Italian stuffed artichoke.
»Grilled Italian sausage with peppers and onions.
Caprese salad (tomatoes and fresh mozzarella).
»Pizza Liberta, Fiorentina, or primavera.
Chicken Vesuvio (with Italian sausage and roasted potatoes).
»Chicken with artichokes and mushrooms.
Chicken or veal Marsala.
»Chicken or veal Sorrentina (with eggplant).
»Veal chop Liberta (stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese).
»Veal chop Milanese (pounded and fried).
Penne all' amatriciana.
»Spaghetti Bolognese, aglio olio, carbonara, or puttanesca.
Rigatoni with four cheeses.
»Redfish piccata (with shrimp and capers).
Filet mignon with garlic butter or bourbon sauce.
FOR BEST RESULTS
Order a pizza or two immediately upon being seated, and have that as an appetizer. Most of the entrees can easily be split, with the ratio of two entrees per three people about right. Avoid seafood entrees; it's not a specialty.
OPPORTUNITIES FOR IMPROVEMENT
Wherever fresh tomatoes appear, they are never quite ripe enough (example: on the pizza). Service has never been terrific, either in efficiency or hospitality.
FACTORS OTHER THAN FOOD
Up to three points, positive or negative, for these characteristics. Absence of points denotes average performance in the matter.
- Dining Environment
- Consistency -1
- Service -1
- Value +1
- Wine and Bar
- Local Color +1
- Medium private room
- Open Sunday lunch and dinner
- Open Monday lunch and dinner
- Open all afternoon
- Unusually large servings
- Quick, good meal
- Good for children
- Easy, nearby parking
- Reservations accepted
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