May 11th, 2010
BRC: Large Crimson Rooster, Mighty Fine Burger
In 6 Words: Home-made, Pickles, Griddled, Gastropub, Microbrew, Fegen
It didn’t take much to notice BRC for the first time. With a parking lot barricaded by caution tape and a monstrous neon-fueled sign with the anonymous acronym, there was more than enough to draw my eye as I drove up Shepherd. This was a little over a month ago and led me to contact my friend in the industry to try to find out what exactly this “BRC” was going to be. Although details were hard to come by, we at least figured out that it was the brainchild of Glass Wall chef, Lance Fegen.
By chance, I came across a notice about National Pretzel Day two weeks ago. Intrigued, I followed the iBreadCrumb trail and found my way to BRC’s facebook page. Soft pretzels? Multitudes of beer? Cuisine a la Fegen? Plans were to be made. I shot a quick message over to Stephan, who cleared his schedule and passed the invitation on to his wife. Another message dispatched to my chef friend quickly brought our dinner party to an even table of four.
I picked up the chef and got up to the restaurant, positioned precariously between Durham and Shepherd, only to find the small (maybe twelve spaces) parking lot brimming with shiny coupes. ‘Twas an afternoon for street parking up against Kicks, home of the Houston Roller Derby and indoor-type soccer activities. On a side note, I have the sneaking suspicion that BRC will be home to a lovely valet stand in its near future.
Stephan and his wife were already seated in the small outside section of BRC. Beautiful, temperate evenings in Houston were made for dining outdoors, especially if those meals include beer and gastropub fare. We sat down and immediately ordered the soft pretzels, the daily honoree, and perused the menu. Filled with reasonably priced options, it could give one pause in selecting the appropriate dining option. For me, BRC’s Monday night $6.50 Cheeseburger special immediately garnered my attention.
As we all know, saving money on one thing only leads to spending it on something else. With the entrée figured out, immediate attention was given to appetizers. Blue Crab Beignets and Louisiana Boudin Balls were the most enticing options.
“What would you recommend?”
“Well, the boudin seems to be a favorite,” responds our server, with an assured air.
“Really? And how long have you been open,” I ask, following up.
“Only, three days.”
“So how can it be a favorite?”
She told me that the chef’s friends had been the people who said that the boudin was best. But that seems unimportant to us. She added that it must be a good recommendation because their palates are much more mature. She has looked into my eyes and seen the soul of a fast-food-fiend. I don’t know how I feel about being judged so easily and adequately.
Our pretzels came out, accompanied by a rainbow of beer choices, and vanish from the lime green plates quickly. This is a good holiday, indeed. Luckily, the table wasn’t clear for too long before the appetizers came out and were scattered around our four top. Along with the beignets and balls, a jar of pickled asparagus, garlic and pickles (redundant?) was placed on our table. For being the most modest of choices, the clear, wire-bale jar was a hit among our group. The beignets were a bit burnt on the outside and overly gooey once passed the dark char, but still tasty. The boudin was good, especially on top of the sweet relish, but still, we kept returning to the pickles.
Stephan and I both ordered the cheeseburger special, which certainly limited our trial options, but that is forgotten after we had taken the first bite. There would be no sharing of this delicious BRC creation. With a custom blend of ground meats, freshly cooked fries, and all the trimmings between the bun halves, I didn’t even look up to notice the State Fair Griddled Cheese (short-rib and tomato stuffed into a classic, cheddar grilled cheese) or Mussels. Maybe this is why I’ve always received criticism for living in my own little manufactured reality. My reality is burgers and fries.
As we attempted to polish off our plates (which proved difficult with the pile of fries), we sat back and ordered another round of assorted microbrews with no room for anything more. The sign of a good meal includes a refusal of dessert afterward. This a mantra I will continue to live by, even if the sweet tooths out there object. But as day turns to night, I return to the question I had oh so long ago when I first drove by the large rectangular sign.
“What does it all mean?”
I’m not talking about life. That I know (actually, I don’t have the slightest clue about life… I do know it comes with a numbered spinner, though). For what does BRC stand?
I’ll leave you with this little observation and let you draw your own conclusion: Atop the menu perches a very large crimson rooster. I’m sure you can put the pieces together from there.
Where –519 Shepherd Drive, Houston, TX 77007 (View Map)
What – Microbrews, Burger Specials and Saturday Brunch
Wear – What Would You Wear to a Gastropub?
How Much – A Perfect Affordable Option
When – Mon-Tue 11AM-12AM; Wed-Fri 11AM-2AM; Sat 10AM-2AM; Sun 11AM-12AM
Web – Homepage; Facebook