Need to build on the basics at Browns Socialhouse

I’ve been to Browns in Brentwood a couple of times now and have tried a few things on their menu. Before I can make up my mind on whether or not I really like them, they are going to have to build on some restaurant basics. Their set-up seems to be currying to sports fans, with the amount of big screen TVs around. It’s a noisy venue, but has nice small touches like hooks underneath the tables to conveniently hang your purse instead of having it hang from your chair or sitting on your chair with you which takes up your seating space.

My first visit was a casual dinner between D and I. We began with their warm taco chips and artichoke dip. As a “feature” on their menu, it was a bit underwhelming. I think they need to add heat to the dip or something to make it more unique or memorable. Milestones’ offering it still high on my list in comparison.

For our mains, D ordered the full rack of ribs, which she described “tasted like Swiss Chalet” – which in D’s world is not a bad thing. I tried one, but found the layer of fat on it unpleasant and I didn’t reach for another. I had the crispy halibut fish tacos, which were just average. They add a lot of shredded cabbage to bulk the taco up. It has some fresh tomatoes in the taco but once you add the accompanying salsa, it seemed like  just tomato on top of tomato – which made it drippy. There isn’t much flavour, I had to ask for a slice of lime too add some zing. To ‘upsize’ the dish they actively offer a side of guacamole for a price – which if instead it was included with the dish,  it would probably help elevate it. While their pop prices are a bit higher than average, it is refillable, but you feel like drinking three to make up for the money.

Our friend Mildred, D and I had been planning a dinner out. M. hadn’t gone to a Browns before so that was the impetus for our second visit. We had arrived an hour after their wings special, so I couldn’t try their wings as they had sold out for the night. I was having a tough time choosing something as my appetite has been a bit off of late. M went with a flat bread pizza. D was initially going to order their pad thai, but because it was the only other thing I wanted to eat off the menu that night, she let me have that dish and she ordered the potato-crusted halibut instead.

I was pretty satisfied with the pad thai. It was your average pad thai and could’ve benefitted from a bit more chicken (or larger cuts of chicken). But D really lucked out – she gave me a bite of her potato-crusted halibut, which was laid on top of a bed of tartar sauce, and it was delicious! I could’ve eaten the whole thing easily!

On this second trip service was poor. More than once we had to stop someone other than our server to get things that should have been automatically checked on – water and pop refills, getting to order, checking on our dishes, asking if we want dessert.

As we were celebrating that evening we did have dessert. M and I ordered a key lime pie, but it was more like a key lime cheesecake. It was not what I was expecting, but it was okay. I found the serving small, especially when I didn’t have whipped cream on top like M did (which made hers look bigger). The crust was also quite thick.

So that’s why I can’t make up my mind. There are some highs, but a number of lows – I guess time will tell.

Browns Social House on Urbanspoon

One comment

  1. Oh? Too bad my co-worker is now ex (for her benefit!) coz she used to work at a few Browns’ (N.shore, Langley, Coq?) and knows those managers. She told me/us it was like a restau/lounge. I thought of it as a pub with a wider selection of foods but I’ve never been yet. Guess that’s why they call it a social house. You might get a bit better service at another Browns but I guess you’d have to factor in gas/commute these days. Well, someone’s bdy is coming up! 😀 Except…Browns’ lounge part fills up on game days (though that means less customers per server in the dining area) and this is a weekend with games Sat & Sun.

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