Update (November 2013): The quality of Brick has fallen like a ... well, you know. That a burned beyond belief margarita pizza made it to the table during a rush was forgivable under the circumstances. It was taken off of the bill, but no other consideration was offered. I let it slide. On my next two visits the food got progressively worse until, on what would be my final visit, the pizza was sloppy and my beloved Pappardelle had been reduced to something that tasted like a bland casserole served at a wake. Spend your food dollars elsewhere. I will be.
San Clemente, CA. My first visit years ago was a culinary nightmare of gummy burritos and shitty pizza at IPA bars. Then I was introduced to Vine, which is still my favorite San Clemente restaurant. Nick's makes some solid and highly enjoyable American food. That was pretty much my story of San Clemente dining until recently.
With the arrival of Brick four of my favorite words: local, organic, seasonal and sustainable, have found a home in San Clemente. It's pizza and pasta at Brick ... and perfectly charred octopus with warm potato salad ... and crispy, herbed ricotta-stuffed zucchini blossoms.
The pizzas feature some wood-fired standards alongside some newer favorites like the English with prosciutto and figs or the Salsiccia with house made sausage and caramelized fennel that all come on a nice, crisp crust. That house made sausage also appears with steamed mussels as well as the hand made Orecchiette pasta with flowering broccoli, shiitake, and pecorino. My favorite pasta selection is the Pappardelle, a slow roasted veal ragu with shaved Parmigiano. The portions are great at Brick, sometimes too great for my often light appetite, and the Pappardelle tastes just as amazing after a reheat in a pan with light olive oil the next day as it does straight from their kitchen.
And speaking of veal, if you find yourself at Brick when the tender and complex veal ravioli is available don't hesitate to order it.
Brick also features a good-sized wine, beer and cocktail list and the desserts are classic and well prepared. Although, my daughter has put in a strong request for the Cookie Jar to return to the dessert menu. And speaking of kids, Brick lets them make put their own toppings on their pizzas for a little extra fun.
I should also mention that the service is friendly and efficient for such a bustling restaurant. I haven't been in for brunch yet, but the menu looks great.
216 N El Camino Real
San Clemente, CA