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“Reliably Excellent”
Review of Brian's

Brian's
Ranked #4 of 48 Restaurants in Lambertville
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Contemporary
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Reservations
Reviewed March 14, 2013

Does anyone remember the John McPhee piece in the New Yorker from years ago: "Brigade de Cuisine"? In it the author begins by describing the ten best meals of his life...and they are all from the same unnamed restaurant. Brian's is for me what that unnamed restaurant was for McPhee.

We have had more meals there than I can remember...and not a single one let me down. Yes, some nights when every table is full you may be in for a leisurely evening. That's not the fault of your server. This is one restaurant where the celebrity chef/owner isn't in some penthouse somewhere interviewing cooks for his latest high-end eatery. Chef Brian Held is actually in the kitchen cooking your food! That means on busy nights you should relax, enjoy your wine and conversation, and just wait for the food, because it's *always* worth waiting for. And anyway, for my money, leisurely is preferable to being rushed to turn the table over.

And, okay, maybe this isn't a stuffy starched linen "fine dining" venue. If that's what you seek then you should look elsewhere, but know you will be missing some of the best food of your life.
Brian's is more relaxed—more like an inn. The plates are not 3 bites carefully arranged into fussy works of art but they are wonderful and satisfying. Again, not your style? You have lots of other choices. But it's sad to think you'll never experience his Veal Blanquette or Wild Mushroom Soup just to give 2 examples.

I actually feel conflicted about writing this review. I would prefer to keep Brian's on the down low—it's getting difficult to book a table some nights. But when I read cruel nonsense like: "The pretentious waiter who s.p.e.a k.s s.o s.l.o.w.l.y and the dimwit waitress who MUST be related" I just can't allow that to go unchallenged.

Maybe Brian's isn't for everyone. Maybe it's only for people who love great food at a fair price. But that's enough for me.

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1  Thank fehmann
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviews (247)
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202 - 206 of 247 reviews

Reviewed March 12, 2013

Food is wonderful, Brian is obviously a talented chef but the staff are useless and the resaurant itself is devoid of any atmosphere! The pretentious waiter who s.p.e.a k.s s.o s.l.o.w.l.y and the dimwit waitress who MUST be related - careful if you get the table by the door, very draughty. I'd eat at a Brians again, but never this one.

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3  Thank Chick1961
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 6, 2013

Yes, this is a beautiful place and a nice successor to No Nine (I know long gone now but still missed). The place was packed when we went for dinner and prices for a prix fixe were reasonable, though the mark-up for some of the pricier items would have been nice to know about beforehand. Just like some of the previous reviewers,the seat by the door is very uncomfortable, though the staff does everything in their power to minimize the effects by keeping curtains closed, but it's an uphill battle when customers hold the door open for minutes without concern about the effects on the temperature inside.
In any event, the main attraction is of course the food and that was very good. The mushroom soup was excellent, though it was hard to tell what mushrooms were actually in there as the truffle oil sort of took over. The beef with horseradish was quite good, but I actually would have preferred a better distribution of the horseradish. Big blobs of it had managed to get amongst the vegetables and that made for a few coughing fits (the lighting is nice and cozy, but it makes it harder to tell some things apart). I actually prefer beef in a horseradish creme fraiche sauce, but other than the uneven/hidden distribution of the horseradish this was a nice variation. The meat was definitely very tender and cut with the fork very easily just the way it's supposed to be. The vegetables and mashed potatoes were very good as well. Unfortunately, by the time dessert came around, I was already pretty full. The pineapple and coconut ice cream made for a nice combination. If the pineapple would have been a bit more caramelized and the coconut ice cream a bit less sweet it would have been excellent. The ice cream ended up on my husband's white bread pudding which needed a bit more sauce. Overall, a very enjoyable meal, with great service. The food just fell a bit short of an excellent rating.

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Thank Lagourmandise
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

My boyfriend and I went to Brian's for a romantic dinner about two weeks ago. It was a great experience. Yes it is noisy, Yes it is crowded, Yes it is difficult to get a reservation if you don't plan well ahead. But guess what? THE FOOD IS WONDERFUL- which explains it all. I had the shrimp cheesecake appetizer- which was unique and tasty. My boyfriend loved his mushroom soup and crabcake entree. My rare tuna with a mustard sauce was done perfectly. The veggies were also great- at a lot of places they are overdone and just end up being a colorful garnish (disappointing) but these were crisp and yummy- especially the beets. The chocolate torte with banana ice cream was the right size and really great.
I like this place a lot.
It's simple and reasonably priced. I recommend dinner here. Call ahead!!!

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1  Thank teawinefrench
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 25, 2013

$40 prix fixe this past Friday
BYOB
Specials: monkfish was great
prix fixe includes - appetizer, entree, dessert but they are flexible about nixing the dessert for a salad

You really need to make a reservation. The service staff is attentive and the kitchen is rather efficient, unless as most kitchens do...have a slow period when many tables are sat at once.

Ending up paying about $50 per person with the tip included.

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1  Thank Janou J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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