Brooks in Ventura?
Can someone tell me about Brooks?
I've been invited there for a function and was wondering if I could get a bit of advance recon on the place.
Never been, never heard of the place.
The Chowhound search provided almost no relevant info (unless I did it wrong, which should not be discounted).
I've perused their menu, and nothing stands out as terribly bad or good.
Many thanks as always.
My wife and I celebrated our 15th wedding anniversary in Ventura and at Brooks last weekend. We had a great time and really loved Brooks. Shortly after being seated, we were served bread with garlic-infused olive oil for dipping that was delicious. We started the meal with the heirloom tomato salad, which found slices of tomato drizzled with oil and balsamic beneath a phyllo dough pastry filled with a melted mix of three cheeses. It was rather amazing.
For mains, I had the night's "Grill Special" which was a 9 oz. filet mignon with broccoli and mashed potatoes for $34. It was very good from first bite to the last, if not spectacular. My wife opted for the 8 oz. Kobe burger for $24, which was a thing of beauty. The hearty Kobe patty was topped with melted cheese, applewood bacon and a thick, remarkably smooth and rich slab of seared foie gras in addition to the standard lettuce, tomato, etc. It was huge and she chose to eat it mostly with a knife and fork. She was in heaven every bite. Oh yeah, it also came with a heaping pile of truffle parmesan fries and a homemade ketchup that were incredible.
We had a $100 gift certificate from Restaurant.com, so we went for two desserts. We had the Maytag bleu cheesecake and a chocolate-peanut butter layered cake-type thing. The bleu cheese was a tad strong in the cheesecake but worked well when paired with the honey-apricot-pecan (iirc) glaze that accompanied it. The other dessert was indulgent and rich but perhaps too much so. It was nothing incredible.
I would definitely return to Brooks and would probably opt to order my entree a little more adventurously next time. The service was outstanding and the restaurant is sparse yet beautiful inside.
545 East Thompson Boulevard, Ventura, CA 93001
Where here's the report back.
Let's preface this by saying that all of our did enjoy our dinner. Service was for the most part impeccable -- both professional and attentive without being cloying. Overall the food was solid, but not spectacular, especially at its price points.
The foie gras dumplings were way too sweet, so sweet that the fois gras might as well have been mud. The same was for the jidori chicken - the sauce that was paired with it was just too much, and for some reason the meat was quite dry and stringy. This came highly recommended from our server, but it was an utter letdown. The flatbreads, however, were terrific. I could eat these things all day long. Other items -- fish and chips and fries -- were fine, but nothing memorable.
Chocolate peanut butter cake thing for dessert. Very nice way to end the menu.
I wouldn't go out of my way to dine at Brooks simply b/c the food can be so hit and miss. I think the kitchen has potential and the front of the house is obviously well taken care of, but the back of the house seems so uneven. Maybe this is due to its transition from a regular menu (app, entree, dessert) to one that is more "tapas-style" or maybe it's just poor execution.
Ventura County is really the land of chain restaurants and for Ventura, Brooks is one of the better chef owned restaurants. However, it can be hit or miss. Recently the chef seems to have changed the concept and is now offering more "starters" or small plates and fewer dinner entree options. The last time we were there, since there were so few choices for dinner, we ordered strictly from the "starter" menu. The calamari appetizer and the mussles were very good, the other things we tried were so-so. It is possible to spend quite a bit on the various small plates and leave hungry and feeling like for the money spent, a trip into LA would have been a better choice for dinner. Please report back and let us know your thoughts on dining at Brooks.
re: mary c
I have been there once, a couple of months ago, on the recommendation of someone whose food opinions I respect. Mary c is correct about the concept, i.e., lots of small plates (a number of which can be ordered in small or large sizes). Ms. Dr. Oz and I shared 5 or 6 small plates for dinner, and all of them -- as with mary c, including mussels and calamari -- were very good. I don't remember how much we spent, though it was less than $100 including drinks, and we left full and very satisfied. Before going to Brooks my favorite Ventura restaurant was Maria Bonita (on Main St., cattycorner from the mission); now it's a tie.
256 E Main St, Ventura, CA 93001
Main St Cafe
450 Main St, El Segundo, CA 90245
It's a block from my favorite downtown Ventura restaurant (Jonathan at Peirano's). I've never actually been there, but I've looked in the window and the decor is very nice, fwiw.
545 East Thompson Boulevard, Ventura, CA 93001