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Jan 5, 2008 06:32 PM

Brick and Fire, Orlando

Located in the old Cheyenne Salon in Church St., I was very excited to hit up this restaurant. We were escorted in by a very handsome Italian guy and there was no one yet in the restaurant. We immediately ordered a bottle of (very over-priced) wine and started off with salads. Both the Greek and Baby Arugula were declicious, and we ordered two small pizzas for dinner.
If anyone has read my blog, you know that I hate to write negative things about restaurants. But pretty much everything went downhill from here.
The first pizza, grilled artichokes Greek style was delicious. The Chicken and Brie was covered with Pesto which was not mentioned on the menu. Being allergic to pine nuts, we sent the Chicken Pizza back. In the meantime, we enjoyed the artichoke pizza and heard the table next to us receive a free pizza. Twenty minutes later, we received our new sans-pesto pizza, only to discover on the first bite that the dough was still raw.
Our very sweet and eager to please server was very apologetic. We then just asked for our bill and received it a few minutes later without a chat with the manager. Which is then exactly what we asked for. Instead, we had a chat with the super defensive chef who insinuated that we had caused problems for the kitchen. He lied and reported that pesto was described on the menu, which it clearly was not. He then reported that the reason our second pizza was raw was that a line cook had cooked the wrong pizza, which they gave to our neighbors for free.
I have to honestly say that I have never been treated in such a condensending manner in a restaurant before. The "Chef", Mark Dollard, obviously didn't care about his customers. And considrering that Brick and Fire is owned and opereated by the same people as it's predecisor Absinthe, but has drastically changed concepts, I have to go out on a limb and say they are having financial problems.
Long story short, I really feel that I wasted a big chunk of change this evening.
The good news is that after the debacle we crossed the street for a drink at Ceviche, which I'm happy to report had a full bar, loads of people waiting for tables, and still the coolest atmosphere in Orlando.

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  1. Sorry to hear about that Katy. You have always been IMO a spot on poster so I probably won't waste my time based on your experience instead opting for Ceviche which I have had good luck with.

    1. I think this chef should stay in the back of the house and invest in a GM that knows how to run the front of the house. Unbaked dough! Even Dominos can manage that one.

      If I'm hungry for fancy pizza downtown, I'll be going to Urban Flats.

      1. Sorry to hear that. The menu looked decent online. If they have the same kitchen staff they had with Absinthe, however, the place is going to tank in a matter of months. My food experience with Absinthe was similar to yours with Brick. Seemed like the only equipment they had was a phalanx of microwaves to defrost and heat their frozen goods and a portable campfire stove on which to make their "soups" lukewarm. And the front-of-house management was invisible then, too. Such a gorgeous space. It's a shame they can't do right by it.

        My perfect night on Church Street? A great dinner at Ceviche, then dessert at, you guessed it, The Dessert Lady, who should be opening her doors soon.

        1. Katygirl, interesting post and information. Looks like I'll be holding off on visiting for awhile too.

          Chef Mark Dollard was the owner/chef/manager at the former Absinthe. Cameron Kuhn bought Church Street Station in the aftermath of the Lou Perlman bankruptcy. Cameron Kuhn didn't like the Absinthe concept, so away it went...almost overnight.

          You may have been talking to "the manager" in Chef Mark Dollard. I just pulled the B&F site and Mark is listed as the Chef/Partner.

          Not great for customer relations, based on your interaction. As a person who doesn't eat red meat, I'd be quite bothered (and with a VERY upset tummy!) if pancetta/bacon/etc. turned up on a pizza that didn't list that ingredient. Food allergies are nothing to play around with.

          BTW....Here is your pizza description clipped DIRECTLY From the B&F online menu :
          Chicken and Brie 10” 12.75 16” 21.25
          Grilled Chicken Breast, Brie, Garlic, Chervil, and Marinated Fennel
          Hmmmmm no mention of PESTO!!!!


          1 Reply
          1. re: winechic

            Ha! Thanks for having my back! The best part is that he tried to convince me that "Marinated Fennel" is pesto!!! And that was after I told him that I also cook for a living!

          2. It's sad to hear that about Mark Dollard -- I had some interaction with him when Absinthe opened and found that he took criticism in a really open and constructive spirit. As much as I loathed that restaurant, I had respect for him after our conversation.

            Maybe at this point he's getting burnt out -- first Absinthe, now this. In over his head?

            My suggestion would be, GET OUT OF CHURCH ST STATION!!! it seems like a recipe (ha) for disaster.

            3 Replies
            1. re: waffle789

              The Orlando paper slammed the church street area when they reviewed Ceviche. The food critic raved about Ceviche and clobbered the nieghborhood suggesting that They might not make it if they stay at that location. Over agressive panhandlers, constant construction and a general unsafe feeling don't do well for frooffy customers!

                1. re: katygirl

                  I get the impression froofy = rich folks, yuppies, foodies and wannabe foodies who only eat at trendy restaurants.