I (obnoxiously) alluded to an unreal date night on Instabrag a week or so ago, and while Kenny pulled out all the stops, the evening concluded with a major dinner at one of the best spots in town, 20 Brix. Homerun.
So let’s talk about 20 Brix for one second. 20 Brix is this killer little spot located on the corner of Main Street in Milford. Friends of ours raved about it for the longest time and it took us forever to finally get there, which is bummer number one, because after our first trip, we understood what all the fuss was about. However, bummer number two was the fact that the first time we did dine, I was pregnant and seeing that it boasts itself as an amazing wine bar, all I wanted to do was kick back and fully indulge. So watching Kenny enjoy a glass of wine was a little painful, however all was not tortuous because the food.was.ridic. They have the kind of menu that makes you want to order one of everything. Ultimately deciding on what one dish to order was like ultimately deciding on what one family member to save in a fire. A terribly difficult hypothetical decision that we’ve all been forced to ponder at one time or another.
But this night, I was back to my spirits-loving self and I wanted all the wines. Kenny and I went in craving red, and upon a smart recommendation, we went with the Point North pinot noir. Even though I love wine in general, I’m not super fluent once we get into the varietals. My awareness of wine is like my awareness of the continent of Asian. I can (roughly) recognize countries that belong there, but if I had to list them and/or pinpoint them specifically on a map, I’d be like uhhhh. The same is when I’m ordering wine. I like pinot noirs, I’ll say. And someone who knows a thing or two will ask What kind of pinot noir do your like? or What do you like about them? and my response will be uhhhh.
So when we went to order one bottle because I had heard of it once, the waitress described it and we realized it was not necessarily what we were looking for. We ultimately just trusted her recommendation of Point North, which was an excellent pinot to nurse through the night. It drank very smoothly. (And thus concludes my sommelier-like ability to describe wine.)
After settling in with the wine, and snacking on a bit of bread, the courses began. We were lucky enough to try a sampling of their winter menu, which was not out at the time, however the menu debuted on December 1 and is definitely one for the books.
With that, our first course was cauliflower soup. Kenny’s a huge soup guy, which if you know him, you can one hundred percent hear him saying that (emphasis on the huge). I’m pretty Wednesday Addams when it comes to soup. I don’t really get it and don’t really care for it, but surprise, surprise, this thick creamy bowl of cauliflower silkiness is soup for soup lovers and distrusters alike. Deeply creamy, with a spicy kick of mustard oil, this bowl started dinner off with a warm and percolating bang.
Next up were two small plates, which is another reason 20 Brix is the best. Some people hate on small plates, but for a couple of kids who love eating and trying all sorts of things, going the small, shareable plates route is typically something we’d prefer nine times out of ten.
The first was the roasted carrots. I would almost always categorize carrots as hearty because carrots are just such strong, earthy roots. And the preparation of these was serious, with white bbq ranch cabbage, sweet peppers, sesame, and aged cheddar. The cheddar bites were better of course, but the overall dish was hot, with some crunch, and a glaze that stuck around. Even after I moved on to the second plate, I kept coming back for more.
The second was the sautéed snow peas. I mean, they’re peas for crying out loud, how exciting can they be? But these were ex.citing. Prepared with Kentuckyaki (a bourbon teriyaki), parmesan, radish, and pepita, this too was a surprisingly hearty dish. With the warm and crunchy slaw, and the perfect rich element of parmesan, this was one that I’m desperately craving as I sit here and type.
The main courses were straight out of my diary. First, the shrimp and grits. This is a 20 Brix signature and rightfully so. As we all know by now, shellfish is my lifeblood, and when mixed with goat cheese grits – yes, you read that right – goat cheese grits, you find yourself in southern comfort cheesy creamy heaven. There was also andouille sausage bites and tomato jalapeño gravy. I imagine this to be how Alabama does fiesta.
But the real main event was the arctic blue nose. Prepared with horseradish celery root puree, smoked beet demi, swiss chard, and gherkin butter, this was meat and potatoes from the sea. This fish was thick and meaty and ate almost like poultry. And the puree and demi warranted a straw alone. This fish is now like skate wing to me – if I see it on the menu, it will be ordered before the server can deliver her may I…?
And with our breaths well above normal resting heart rate, we were served crème brulée, a crème brulée that puts all other crème brulées to shame. The custard was rich without being heavy, and the torched carmel topping was the crunch you could only hope to crave. If Kenny’s a huge soup guy, I’m a huge sweets gal, and this was an amazing dessert to end on. This one is worth saving room for.
20 Brix is for sure one of the best. It’s on par with Abigail Street and Bouquet when it comes to atmosphere, food quality, and overall experience. It is sweet and inviting and accommodating and serious. You won’t have a bad dish and you’ll feel relaxed with the bounty of wine. It is definitely a destination of choice for us and I look forward to our many future dates.
Thanks to H. Clay Mitchell and Chef Paul Barraco for the experience!