The menu, dispatched by talented Executive Chef Will Preisch, is divided into "snacks" (adorable nosh materials) and "plates" (a collection of 10 petite entree-style dishes). Some early highlights? Mussels on the half shell ($4)—neatly served atop a pile of stones, with smokey mussel aioli and Tabasco mignonette—are the highlight of the "snack" section, although the hazelnut "baked beans" ($5) are a close second. The beef (served two ways—tender pink slices, and shredded) with smoke, and a salt-baked potato ($17) is a satisfying plate of meaty goodness for the carnivores out there. The beet, farro, chicory, cream cheese salad ($10) is a rich yet refreshing salad plated on a chic slab of slate.
Bent Brick's bar, headed up by Bar Manager Adam Robinson, is equally impressive—sporting 13 local wines on tap, a grip of trusty microbrews and nine feisty cocktails, including the "G & Tea" (gin and chamomile tonic), Lakeside (with vodka and rhubarb), and The Stranger (with bourbon and sarsaparilla). I polished off my meal with a panna cotta-like buttermilk pudding, served with graham cracker crumble, a scoop of green strawberry sorbet and house-made red strawberry sauce.
Okay, so Bent Brick is not a traditional American "tavern," but whatever it is, it's damn fine.
GO: Bent Brick, 1639 NW Marshall, 688-1655, http://thebentbrick.com/, Dinner 5-10 pm Tuesday-Saturday, Happy Hour 5-6:30 pm Tuesday-Friday. $$.