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“World Cuisine” Has Spotty Coverage at Brix 67

The Summit restaurant serves up culinary hits and misses, with heavy Italian influences and select Asian and Cajun touches.

At first glance, Brix 67 does indeed seem worldly, the stated motif hanging above the front door. Named after its location and with a slight nod to its partial bricked interior and beautiful brick oven, Brix 67 has good intentions. The duo-tone wood décor, sleek upright leather chairs, and curtained-off tables are both elegant and the perfect backdrop for an inventive fusion menu. But a quick look at the menu proves otherwise, and that in a nutshell sums up the somewhat disappointing downtown Summit restaurant.

The menu is heavily weighted toward Italian fare with a few Asian and Cajun tweaks thrown in for good measure. The appetizers list features the bulk of the fusion twists and includes dishes such as Cajun calamari ($11.95), gyoza ($7.95), edamame ($6.95), shrimp shumai ($7.95), and "Six Shrimp Three Ways" ($15.95), the three ways being wonton-wrapped, chilled, and prepared with coconut.

After that, the offerings consist of mostly Italian specialties: chicken served Milanese ($16.95) or parmigiana ($17.95), chicken or veal Saltimboca ($18.95 and $20.95) or Fungi ($17.95 and $19.95), shrimp marinara or fra'diavolo ($23.95), and shrimp oregonato ($23.95). There are also a fair number of salads ($8.95-$13.95), pizzas ($10.95-$12.95), pastas ($16.95-$23.95), a few fish and steak dishes, as well as three "heathy" entrees.

Dining at Brix 67 is comfortable and leisurely—but the meal unfortunately takes a while to find its groove. The bread basket, with its hot, assorted rolls, was the best of all the starters I sampled. The lobster pot stickers ($11.95) were unfortunately not really pot stickers and included no detectable lobster. Instead, what was delivered to the table were fried, greasy wontons filled with crab and served with a soy dipping sauce. If there were bits of lobster in there, I certainly could not taste it. The "pot sticker" filling lacked nuance and texture and was certainly not enhanced by the soy sauce.

I had higher hopes for the Rustica pizza ($12.95), which I ordered without the chicken. The pizza station is visible to the back part of the restaurant, and I watched the chef roll out the thinnest of crusts which he topped with sautéed spinach and mozzarella before sliding the pie into the red-hot brick oven. When the pizza arrived, it too, left me wanting. The crust, while ultra-thin, was not crisp on the bottom, and the sauce had very little flavor. What did pack a punch were the delicious, roasted red peppers. But they certainly did not make up for the rest of the pizza's downfalls.

The kitchen performed much stronger with its main courses, and if nothing else, one certainly won't go hungry thanks to their large portions. The Nori-wrapped tuna ($29.95) was an interesting presentation. A mongo pile of sautéed spinach served as the bottom layer of a mountain of mashed potatoes flanked by thin slices of tuna. The tuna, which was not the highest grade cut, had been covered in Japanese seaweed, battered, and quickly pan fried. The technique added an interesting crunch to the bite, and all of the components went well with the wasabi-teriyaki glaze that was drizzled over the entire plate.  

Also at par was the Veal Fungi ($19.95), a thin filet sautéed with mushrooms in a Marsala wine demi-glaze. The veal, sauce, and mashed potatoes were prepared satisfactorily, but I must call out the truly awful vegetable side. The sad pile of mushy, overcooked broccoli and carrots had no business being on that—or any—plate.

Desserts are all homemade and include tiramisu ($6.95), ice creams, gelatos, and an assortment of cakes ($7.95-$8.95): lava, New York cheesecake, lemon coconut, fudge, and carrot.

Perhaps the most interesting element of the BYO is its support of New Jersey-based Alba Vineyards. The restaurant does not have a liquor license, however it does carry a variety of sparkling, red, and white wines solely from Alba and presumably operates under the vineyard's retail license. Wine is sold by the bottle ($19-$34)—despite the fact that the restaurant's Web site states otherwise. Customers are encouraged to take home whatever they don't consume at the table. It is a unique option for diners who have not brought their own and a commendable way to support a "local" independent business.

Brix 67's space is enormous, and during warm weather the front area is opened up to the street. Lunchtime seems to draw a bigger crowd, especially on weekends. The lunch options mirror much of the dinner menu, both in content and price. Some of the heavier dinner entrees are substituted with two additional sandwich wraps ($8.95 and $9.95), but otherwise the make-up is virtually identical.

All in all, I don't feel Brix 67 ultimately lives up to what it intended. The dishes are not that inventive, inspired, or even exotic and the kitchen certainly makes missteps in execution. It's also very easy to rack up a hefty bill which would be worth it if the cuisine delivered. One must, however, give points for effort, especially for service. I do believe Brix 67 is trying to create a luxe atmosphere with food to match. I just wish they'd try a little harder.

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Brix 67

67 Union Place, Summit

(908) 273-4448

Hours of Operation:

Monday through Thursday, 11:30 am-10 pm

Friday and Saturday, 12-11 pm

Sunday, 12-9 pm

BYO. Select varietals from NJ's Alba Vineyard are also available by the bottle (and can be taken post-dining).

Children's menu, catering, take-out, and private party room available.

All major credit cards accepted.

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