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Poutine and Other New Dishes at BRC Gastropub

When BRC Gastropub first opened, I immediately became a fan of their juicy burgers, luscious roast oysters, and decadent daily macaroni and cheese specials. But after a series of visits, my passion for BRC cooled. It was, perhaps, the seven-month itch one experiences during a relationship with a once-thrilling restaurant.

All right. If you can't read between the lines of this extended metaphor, I'm trying to say I was freakin' sick of their menu.

I tried some other dishes (the state fair grilled cheese, the fish and chips), but they failed to reignite my interest. I patiently waited for new menu items to appear, and when none did, I stopped going and sought satisfaction from other wonderful Houston restaurants.

After a nearly half-year hiatus from BRC, I randomly decided one day to check their website. Lo and behold, much of the menu had been revamped. And, they finally got with the (OpenTable) program and were now taking reservations on weeknights.

Two visits later, I still haven't been able to try all the enticing new dishes (chicken and dumplings, Big MacCock burger, I got my eye on you), but what I have sampled has been excellent.

Like the Poutine St. Baconry ($8), a hot delicious mess of thinly cut fries, rich mushroom gravy, queso, and port short ribs. No curds (sorry, Canucks), but amazing nonetheless, especially when paired with an icy glass of "Berry Thirst-Aide," crisp, fruity, and buzz-worthy despite its dearth of alcohol.

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In an attempt to off-set the heaviness of the poutine, I also tried the new "Hedge Sledge" ($9.50). The name and description should have clued me in that this wasn't some light mix of garden greens but rather a rich bloom of iceberg lettuce topped with blue cheese, rosy baby tomatoes, over-size bacon strips, and soft-boiled eggs. I don't often rave about salads, but the Hedge Wedge almost almost stole the show from my entree sandwich.

And though BRC has significantly changed their culinary offerings, they have retained some of their hallmark dishes like their macaroni and cheeses (pizza, three-cheese, etc.), which now rotate on a set schedule. The bad news, unsurprisingly, is that both old and new items have increased in price. Whereas my BRC dinners used to run me around 22 bucks (drink, appetizer, entree), now it seems I can't get out of there without spending upwards of $30. The food quality stands up to the cost, however, so I will remain a BRC lover, though my visits may no longer be on a bimonthly basis. Nothing ruins a relationship like seeing too much of each other.

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