BrickTop’s food good, service suffers

Posted March 11, 2014


BrickTop’s Restaurant, located on the corner of Miracle Mile and Ponce de Leon Boulevard, definitely catches the eye. Most pleasing are the flames amidst a large fire pit engulfed by seemingly cozy couches.

Admiring the uniquely decorated exterior, I just had to walk in.

The restaurant is upscale with simple yet unique décor; the bar has upside down balloon-like lights hanging from the ceiling. The interior is simple yet classy with maroon walls and brown tables. The kitchen is large and open allowing customers to watch as the chefs prepare their food.

The dim, subtle light gives off a romantic mood. However, if you’re one with bad eye sight, good luck trying to read the menu.

Maybe because of the way I dressed (wearing black jeans and a tee-shirt) and that I had my neon pink backpack and computer with me, I was treated with extreme and utter disregard. The hostesses looked at me as if I was out of place, like a fish out of water or a homeless person looking to use the bathroom and they treated me as such.

After politely asking for a table of one, the hostess proceeded to seat me in a dark isolated table in a corner of the bar. There was no “Hello, how are you?” or “How can I help you?”; it was simply my telling them I was a party of one, the exchange of awkward glances and a “right this way.”

Noticing that I wasn’t the only one wearing jeans and a tee-shirt, I became rather observant of my surroundings and especially aware of how I was being treated.

The menu confirmed the upscale classiness of the restaurant with $10 cocktails, each of which I wanted to try. They had an excellent draft beer selection priced at $5.50 and wine ranging between $6-$16 a glass.

The food menu was rather small and pricey, but not unreasonable with the main courses averaging around $25 a piece. Each section of the menu had, at most, five options to choose from but a very good selection at that.

Fifteen minutes after being seated my waiter still hadn’t come by. After about 10 minutes, the hostess came to tell me someone would be right with me. I wasn’t mad or upset, in fact I was extremely patient and content the entire time.

Prickly pear margarita (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

Prickly pear margarita (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

When the waiter finally did come, he didn’t even bother introducing himself, instead, he just asked what I wanted to drink. I ordered a prickly pear margarita and a water.

From a server’s perspective, I guess he thought I was just drinking because after he dropped off my delicious looking prickly pear margarita, he began to walk away. I nearly had to yell and waive him down just to take my food order in which he responded, “Oh, you’re ordering food, too?”

Not taking offense to his rather rude assumption, I ordered the parmesan crusted chicken with Cinderella mashed potatoes and took the first sip of my margarita.

If you’ve ever been swimming in the ocean then you know exactly how atrocious the taste of salt water is. Unfortunately for me, that’s exactly what the first sip of my Prickly Pear Margarita tasted like.

There was far too much salt on the rim. I felt as if I had just ingested an entire box of rock salt or as though I’d just inhaled a mouthful of the saltiest sea-water ever; it was awful.

Aside from the saltiness of the first few sips, the drink definitely had a considerable amount of alcohol. You definitely get your money’s worth, not like other places that overcharge for drinks where you can barely taste the liquor.

The overall quality of the drink was decent. I was even willing to try the lemon drop martini as well, had my service been better.

I waited a relatively normal amount of time for my food and, when it arrived, it looked and smelled phenomenal.

Parmesan crusted chicken (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

Parmesan crusted chicken (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

On a large white plate were two large Parmesan crusted chicken cutlets cooked to perfection, with buttery mashed potatoes.

Some might say there was way too much butter on them but, since I’m a butter lover, I didn’t mind. Although they arrived cold, they were whipped to perfection and melted in your mouth like cotton candy.

The chicken was also amazing; it was tender, crunchy, and seasoned with care, each bite just as delicious as the first. I highly recommend trying this dish.

In all, it was the profoundly exquisite food that made up for the very poor and inadequate service.

I saw my waiter a total of three times. Once when he took my drink order, next, when he dropped off my drink (and had to flag him down to take my food order) and third when he dropped off the check (I already had my card on the table waiting to be picked up).

Prickly Pear margarita and parmesan crusted chicken with mashed potatoes (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

Prickly Pear margarita and parmesan crusted chicken with mashed potatoes (Photo by Melissa Mallin).

Having been a server for five years, I know what it’s like. The waiter took one look at me and made the assumption that because I was young and by myself, I was a bad tipper. Having experience waiting tables, I tip the way that I like to be tipped — 25 percent at least!

I went to BrickTop’s on a Monday night around 8:30 p.m., when it wasn’t all that crowded. There was absolutely no reason for the inadequate service other than having been judged poorly by my waiter.

Aside from that, my waiter didn’t even bother leaving a pen when he dropped off the check!!! I’ve experienced bad service but I’ve never experienced this much negligence.

The total cost of my meal was about $30 ($29.17 to be exact). The food was exquisite and exceeded well beyond my expectations.

Had the food not been as good, I would have requested to see a manager because I was definitely not treated with respect.

As I waited patiently for my meal and even during, I noticed the rude glare of the hostess every time she walked by me. My waiter made no effort to treat me as a customer; in fact, he treated me as a waste of time and space. It was extremely obvious that, for whatever reason, I was not (or at least I did not feel) welcome.

I was a lone student with a backpack who just wanted to finish some work while I ate. I wouldn’t necessarily base your experience on mine, however, I do feel as though this is a very judgmental place.

If you’re someone like me, who shows up alone and in jeans and a tee-shirt (mind you I was not the only one) then prepare to get less than satisfactory service.

I must stress the point that the food is so magnificent that it just about makes up for the terrible service. I’d be willing to try this place again, but preferably with a date or a friend next time.

  • BrickTop’s Restaurant
  • 2418 Ponce de Leon Blvd, Coral Gables, Fla., 33134
  • 305-443-9992
  • Hours- 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m.
  • $$$
  • American, steakhouse, seafood
  • Ratings:
    • Food: 4 stars
    • Service: 0-1 stars
    • Overall experience: 2 stars