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July 15, 2010

brique -- yes, that's a lowercase 'b' -- opens in Centreville

briqueThere were some gripes last time I posted a long restaurant press release in its entirety. I got one recently that makes that Aldo's post-Preakness dinner account look sparer than a Twitter post. It's about a restaurant named bríque that opened over the Fourth of July weekend in Centreville. I offer the whole thing up to you, dear Sandbox, because I think it makes fun reading. Here goes. LV

bríque restaurant officially opened its doors over the holiday weekend, in Centreville, Maryland. The restaurant occupies the space previously known as Julia’s, a popular dining venue on the eastern shore for many years.

After months of redesign and preparation, bríque’s owners, Tommy Inzer and Bill Fairbanks, are eager to welcome guests and showcase the fully remodeled dining space. The interior has been completely revamped, showcasing a mix of beautiful hardwood floors, large eggshell-colored chairs, light walls and clean, contemporary plate settings. Adorning the minimalist gray walls hangs a large, glass oval showcasing the restaurant’s name and logo, which also provides subtle lighting during the restaurant’s evening hours.

The menu will evolve every four to six weeks to ensure all ingredients used are at their seasonal peak, while providing ideal flavor components for each dish. The inspiration behind the menu items reflect [Executive Chef William] Dolan’s cooking experience alongside famous chef personalities, coupled with his own unique twist and cooking style.

“My food is all about the flavor. I eat with my stomach, not my eyes”, says Dolan.

The bríque Caesar salad for instance, includes golden puffed cheese rinds as opposed to traditional croutons, in order to provide a crunchy texture and unique flavor. The Pork Rillette Lemans, (available as a table starter) is one of Dolan’s personal favorite dishes to serve. He regularly prepares it for friends and family at dinner parties and for special occasions. The
Rillette is a French-inspired dish consisting of seasoned pork belly and shoulder confit. It is similar to a paté and will be served daily, but with subtle variations. The term Le Mans (also known as Sarthe) refers to the region of France where the dish was made famous.

“I was born to cook this dish”, says Dolan with a smile. He first learned to cook the Rillette from celebrity chef Jacques Pépin, and prefers to pair it with a crisp Sauvignon blanc.

In addition to Braised Short Ribs, Foie Gras and Sweetbreads, Dolan includes several noteworthy seafood dishes. The Crab Maison, is reminiscent of a deviled crab napoleon inspired by the flavors of New Orleans. The Seared Diver Scallops are served on a cauliflower puree and dusted with a combination of “secret ingredients,” according to Dolan. The Hamachi and Black Cod are both sustainable menu items, which is especially important to Dolan. Broiled Bay Bluefish is one of several locally sourced menu items, in addition to sweet corn picked up at the Centreville farmer’s market.

All desserts are prepared personally by Dolan and will change seasonally. “Many restaurants outsource desserts or have other in-house chefs prepare them, but Chef Dolan is equally as talented with desserts as he is with every other aspect of the menu," says Bill Fairbanks. The layered strawberry tort is reminiscent of a strawberry and cream mille fueille, which literally translates to “a thousand layers” in French. Additional dessert offerings include a sea salt dusted crème caramel, chocolate hazelnut crème brulée and a Riesling and vanilla poached pear.

A full and wine list is available on the restaurant’s website at Guests can make reservations online in addition to signing up to receive updates and invitations to special events such as wine tastings, guest chef appearances and seasonal tastings. bríque is currently open for dinner from 5:30-9:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and plans to serve breakfast and lunch in the future.

Posted by Laura Vozzella at 5:35 AM | | Comments (8)


The Aldo's press release was written in-house, so one could excuse its over-the-top hyperbole. The brique press release, on the other hand, was written by a for-hire PR flack, from whom one would expect better. Is it asking too much to include a street address and phone number in the blurb? Why is there barely a mention of the restaurant's entrees? (Did the PR flack run out of adjectives after describing the starters and small plates?) And what, pray tell, is a "full and wine list"?

ReCaptcha: the slummer (guess we're not the target audience for the brique experience)

As someone who has plied the trade, I cringe when a publicist goes into semantic overkill. One sign of a bad press release is the inclusion of unnescessary statements when you consider the converse. Is it possible, for example, that brique's owners are not eager to welcome guests? That instead of clean plate settings, diners will get dirty ones? "My food is all about the flavor," says the chef. What else could it possibly be about? As for being "born to cook this dish," one can only wonder what dish he wasn't born to cook? And will he put it on the menu, anyway? Last but not least is the disclosure that the scallops are dusted with a combination of "secret ingredients." Presumably, if the flack disclosed what was sifted over those scallops, he'd have to kill you. Or maybe the chef would have to kill the publicist. Hopefully, the food and dining experience at brique will outshine the hype -- and maybe even merit some legit adjectives.

MAG, I can agree with some of your points, but I don't take issue with the phrase: "my food is all about the flavor."  It is quite possible that someone's food is not all about the flavor.  Perhaps the emphasis, or some of the emphasis, is on presentation or the selection of ingrediants (organic, cruelty-free, fair trade, etc...) 

Now, I'm not sure how effective any press release is going to be cultivating an image for this restaurant.  As soon as I saw the word "brique", what followed in my mind wasn't dusted scallops. It was "house mighty might just lettin' it all hang out."  Maybe this word association is unique to me. I don't know.

It reads like a bad first draft.

Sounds like no expense was spared except for a copy editor.

RoCK, we so think alike.

Thanks RoCK and LL. Now it's stuck in my head!

And now I'm flashing back to that wonderful Canadian skater who did a free-style routine to this--Kurt Browning (back when he had hair).

This isn't a restaurant. It's a showcase!

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About this blog
Richard Gorelick was appointed The Baltimore Sun's restaurant critic in September 2010. Before joining the paper staff fulltime, he contributed freelance criticism and features articles about food to area and regional publications. Along the way, he dispatched for short-distance trucking companies, shilled for cultural non-profits, and assisted in cognitive neurology research – never the subject, always the control.

He takes restaurants seriously but not himself, and his favorite restaurant is the one you love, too.

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