From a culinary standpoint, English food is at the bottom of the international totem pole. It's a cuisine that's been given a bad rap, one that Brinkley's is attempting to rectify with their twist on traditional English fare.
Overall, the space is set up well. They definitely pull off the vintage English eatery. There is a nice mix of bigger tables, including big comfy booths, in the back and smaller hangout tables by the bar, perfect for a drink after work with your friends. There's an inviting bar, dim lighting, candles on every table, attentive wait staff, young, attractive patrons, and (naturally) a massive painting of a dissected turtle on the wall.
All sound too good to be true? Indeed, we haven't gotten to the food yet. In that area, unfortunately, Brinkley's has stayed too true to its English roots. I guess you can't have everything. It's not the British way.
Food RundownPot Of Seasonal Pickles
More like "jar of four tiny pickles and a bunch of onions and beets." You get more pickle on the side with your burger than you do when you actually order them here.Artisanal Meat and Cheese Plate
Straight up, this just isn't good. None of the cheese selections left anyone at our table wanting more, and half of it went uneaten. Also, the spreadable chorizo tasted like Fanta with hot sauce.Pint of Roasted Prawns
Four big ass shrimp fully equipped with their heads and tails still intact. Somehow, there wasn't much flavor to speak of here, and at $18, this is definitely something we'd skip next time.Apple, Oatmeal and Stout BangerFor a place with a menu that leans British, the portions are the exact opposite. The Apple, Oatmeal, and Stout Banger (notice that is not plural) with mash is quite tasty, but really? One sausage? It was like one serving on a tasting menu, but they serve it as a main plate. It was even served on a small plate. I could have eaten three portions.Grilled Striped Bass
A pretty boring piece of fish. They tried to dress it up with a fall themed pumpkin puree and caramelized chicory and herb salad, but that didn't really work. The fish was bland and a little overcooked. Good thing I was knee deep in my third Six Points Sweet Action, that beer makes any meal taste better.
Stilton and Pork Sausage with Bubble and Squeak
Did I know what bubble and squeak was before ordering this? Nope. Thanks to Al Gore and the fine inventors of mobile internet, I was quickly brought up to speed on the mysteries of bubble and squeak: "A traditional English dish made with the shallow-fried leftover vegetables from a roast dinner." The chief ingredients are potato and cabbage, and this one included bits of ham and bacon, key word being bits. It was heavy on the cabbage and light on everything else. The one sausage link was a decent bite, but the bites that followed bordered on revolting and after four bites, it was gone. Again with the portion size. We're still hungry!
I'm not going to lie, this dish was tasty. But I think it's a safe assumption that if you deep-fry anything, nine times out of ten it's going to be delicious. I would have liked a little more than the shot glass of ice cream it came with though.