BRC Gastropub

"Our logo is a big red rooster, and you'll find one in the parking lot," says Lance Fegen of the new BRC Gastropub (519 Shepherd, 713-861-2233). Fegen and his partner at Glass Wall, Shepard Ross, are among the partners in the new venture. "We saw a niche in the market for a more wallet-friendly place," he says. "We wanted a place where chefs would want to hang out, because if chefs want to hang out there, you know the food is good."

The BRC is an upscale pub with great food and artisanal beers at a lower price point than many other places, in a space that used to be a beer-and-dominoes joint. "We have a fun, lively pub atmosphere, where we kicked up the food a notch. We call it a more chef-driven approach to pub food." The chef is Jeff Axline, who worked at Glass Wall for the first two years it was open, then did stints at other places including the Houstonian, before "coming back to the family," as Ross says. "We have about 30 American craft beers on tap and about the same number in bottles as well as some boutique wines," he added.

One of the most popular appetizers is the Charred Pimento Cheese Dip, which came with whole slices of potato crisps. Instead of plain old pimentos, the dip features a char-grilled version for added flavor. The Maryland Crabcake was chock-full of lump crabmeat and very tasty. A homemade jar of pickles included half sours as well as pickled asparagus. The Mussels and Fries came with a variety of sauces; the creamy garlic one was a wonderful choice. Finally, a State Fair Griddle Cheese Sandwich was filled with pulled short rib meat along with cheddar and Muenster cheeses. We'll definitely be back, maybe when the crowds have died down a bit.

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Paul Galvani