Swanky restaurant? Upscale sports bar? Rehabbed dive with leftover Al Capone insignia and beer ads? Yup! Red Brick in North Center lets you decide.
Apparently whoever decided the name believes vanilla is the new red; the rusty beige brick-stacked walls inspired the name. In any event, catch a game, choose between Italian or Turkish, and if you can't decide, just go for the pizza. We witnessed two couples shouting from the outside into open French doors how satisfying their pies tasted.
Snapping shots from the street, within view of the Irving Park Brown Line and where pay boxes digested a few of my statehood quarters, I was semi-disenchanted by a gentleman that nearly clotheslined me for my actions. He ended up being my server, making up for the awkwardness with smiles and attentiveness, although I slightly wanted to spike his water at the bar (liquor license pending) with a chill pill.
Dark-wood floors and tables, black cherry booths, sizzling lounge tracks playing on a super sound system, track lights and exposed ventilation roping the room mark the ritzy restaurant characteristics. Flat screens tuned to a series of soccer matches and a selection of bar food recreate the establishment as a sports bar. James Dean portraits and Southern Comfort signs give the space blue-collar cred.
Never mind a menu meaty on typos and lacking fruity language; the plates, however boring they may sound, actually arouse the palate. If Red Brick patrons opt it a sports bar, then perhaps a menu only describing pastas by name or a salmon sandwich as a "salmon fish served with lettuce, onion and tomatoes," works. But exotic choices need luring taglines, otherwise, the Red Brick vegetable layers ($6.95) just have us guessing.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: David-Anthony Gonzalez