Fresh and Filling: A Review of Redbrick Pizza Café
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Few can argue that tasty pizza constitutes a health food, weighed down by its large concentrations of fat, carbohydrates, salt and cholesterol. This paean to all things murderous about the American diet is often accompanied by such damaging accomplices as beer, cheese sticks and pasta. Redbrick Pizza Café manages to mitigate the dish’s unfortunate side effects while adding flavor twists to old standards.
Primarily concentrated in California, the franchise is slowly spreading to other locales such as New Mexico, Texas and Florida. The Brea, California, restaurant faces the Birch Street shopping area, nestled among chain stores, movie theaters and restaurants. An outside patio is surrounded by a rusted metal fence about waist-high and affords people-watching from five two-person tables, also covered in the same rusty color.
The modern interior features a dozen tables seating from two to six, topped with planks of honey-colored wood marked by knots and other homey imperfections. You can watch your order made in the open kitchen, and baked in an open-flame oven.
A terra-cotta colored accent wall is decorated with a chair-rail mosaic of red and pumpkin-tinted tiles, peppered by a strange photo combination of vintage cars and California wildflower landscapes. Golden oldies play lightly in the background and flat-screen TVs hang from the corners, offering subtitles instead of sound for diversion.
So confident is the chain of its healthy advantages that it posted its nutritional content information online long before California law required it. The pizza is available in small (four slices), medium (six) and large (ten). The paper-thin or Chicago-style crust is made with hand-rolled artisan dough held together by olive oil and baked to a golden-brown in just three minutes.
Only a few of the available combos are listed on the display board – the menu lists more. My favorite is the RBP Works, which includes pepperoni, ham, bacon, Italian-style sausage, mushrooms, black olives, red onions, bell peppers, mozzarella and red sauce. I substitute the black olives with garlic. Feel free to do the same with any of the other ingredients. If none of the options suit you, you can make your own by filling in a special form, or simply telling the attendant first-hand. Calorie hounds will relish the RBP Works calorie count of 640, for the entire small pizza.
In an attempt to reduce my carb consumption, I’ve been ordering the salads lately. The half size is plenty big for one. The Italian Salad features romaine, red bell peppers, salami, mozzarella, kalamata olives, red onions, ham, feta cheese and croutons. Leave off the Greek dressing, which can be a bit oily: the concoction is flavorful enough. The salad contains 144 calories plus another 160 for the Greek dressing.
Other specialties of the house include the following:
- Fhazani, which is an Italian fire-roasted flatbread loaded with fresh organic lettuce and tomatoes, plus whatever toppings you pick. The ingredients among the pizzas, salads and fhazani are interchangeable.
- Pizzada, which puts any salad on top of a thin fire-roasted mozzarella artisan crust.
- Gelato, with ten choices appearing behind a glass case, and more options from the back room. The small cup can squeeze up to two flavors, which are ever-changing but can include biscotti, coconut, tiramasu, chocolate and vanilla.
- Bhrazani, which puts any gelato on top of a triple chocolate fire-roasted gourmet brownie, topped with chocolate drizzle.
- Wine by the glass or bottle, such as Beringer Merlot, St. Michelle Chardonnay and Ruffini Chianti. Your beverages can also be a standard soda with unlimited refills, organic bottled sodas, handcrafted microbrews, and premium Italian coffees like Americano, expresso, latte and cappuccino.
The casual atmosphere, speedy and friendly service, customization and varied selections have turned Redbrick Pizza Café into one of our favorite haunts. We go there at least once a week and recommend it frequently to friends.
- REDBRICK PIZZA CAFE
Our RedBrick oven sears your pizza at more than 1000º in just 3 minutes*. The result is a delicate golden crust, delicious thin crisp center with fascinating flavors that are healthier and better for you. Savor... the passion of century old Italian t