Advertisement

Chicken Little Reviews: Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar


Brix Wine and Cheese
Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar — photo by Rachel Jessen

On a rare rain-free afternoon in early June, I was feeling peckish and decided to risk crossing the road for a bite at Brix, one of Iowa City’s newest Northside eateries.

Brix is a place I often overlook for lunch, partly because it’s only been open since last December, and also because I have never been quite sure what I would find on the menu. Can one make a meal on wine, bread and cheese alone?

Luckily, once I’d seated myself at the counter and gotten a peek at the lunch options, my worries were put to rest. Lunch at Brix features a well-rounded mix of unique sandwiches, salads and appetizers. The fare is heavy on the cheese and cured meats, as one might expect of a shop specializing in just that.

My first choice for lunch was the Trattoria Panini, a grilled sandwich featuring cured meats, cheese and olive muffaletta. Sadly, Brix was all out of the muffaletta, and while a substitute was offered, I felt the olive was what made the sandwich special.

Brix scoreI let that disappointment slide like water off a chicken’s back, and made a new selection: The Classic sandwich for $9. The Classic is made with La Quercia prosciutto, Délice de Bourgogne cheese, deli pickles and SoNo champagne and garlic mustard. It is served cold on Motley Cow ciabatta bread. I substituted the side of chips that comes with every sandwich for a $3 Brix house salad of mixed greens, salami, Parmigiano Reggiano and red wine vinaigrette. To complete my meal, I ordered a half pour of Sauvion Vouvray for $4.

While I waited for lunch to arrive, I sipped my wine in Brix’s cozy, inviting space. Not only is Brix a sit-down eatery, it also offers a deli counter stocked with meats, cheese and condiments to-go.

When my order arrived, the greens were slightly bitter and crisp, with a generous garnish of meat and cheese. For just $3, this salad is one of the best lunch buys in town.

The Classic arrived on a small wooden cheese board, a nice nod to the restaurant’s theme. The combo of prosciutto, pickle and the creamy Délice was reminiscent of one of my favorite Midwestern potluck items—the infinitely delectable pickle roll.

Please, let me be clear: This is not your Grandma’s pickle roll. For one thing, holy cow the pickles! They were cut thick, they were crisp and sour—they were basically a perfect specimen of pickleness. My server informed me that these special pickles were from Brooklyn Brine Company.

Délice de Borgougne, which replaces the cream cheese element of the “pickle roll” concept, isn’t exactly the bland, foil-wrapped cube you’re used to, either. This earthy, mushroomy, velvety-soft cheese melded perfectly with the briney pickle, the champagne-garlic mustard and the salty, Iowa-made La Quercia prosciutto.

The slight sweetness of the Vouvray was a nice accompaniment to meal’s salty, rich flavors.

Overall, lunch at Brix is a charming, easygoing experience. The small but elegant menu places gourmet ingredients from around the world alongside neighborhood favorites like Oasis hummus and Motley Cow bread. And while there wasn’t any dessert on the menu that day, it is clear that Brix is a real Iowa City sweet spot.

SIGN UP TODAY

Subscribe for daily news updates from Little Village

SUBSCRIBE


Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV » editor@littlevillagemag.com

IT’S LITTLE VILLAGE’S 20TH ANNIVERSARY.

Join us at the Little Village HQ open house July 20

RSVP
Become a sustaining member or make a one-time contribution:

Support

Advertisement

Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.

Regular

$10/mo or $120/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.

Italic

$20/mo or $240/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.

Bold

$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW)
LittleVillageMag.com connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.