I’ve been venturing to Long Beach a little more recently. There’s been a few eateries dotted around that city which are worth visiting, the majority of them independently owned, each offering something unique and specific. Brix at the Shore is one of these places. Situated on the corner of Claremont and E 2nd Avenue, it is indescript until you walk inside. Within the confines of this little neighborhood spot is a delightful space with images of New York City and music of Frank Sinatra as backdrop. If you’re lucky enough to meet owner Rick Reich, then I’ll say, your visit is complete.
The menu not only offers up some New York deli favorites but each section and items are given Yiddish titles which I find highly amusing. I laugh out loud as I get to “The Shiksa” and Rick exclaims “named after my wife” and we all chuckle.
I think what I love about Brix is the things on the menu comprises of things I really like to eat, and, generally veer towards ordering whenever I see them on the menu. For example, pretzels. Pretzel Schtick ($4) is a warm house-made pretzel — though not chewy like a traditional pretzel — is soft, airy and tasty, especially when dipped into the house-made jalapeno honey mustard.
Then there is Oy Vey! Onion Rings ($6.50), a basket of beer-battered rings with spicy sprinkle, served with chipotle aioli. I would have ordered these even without its moniker, as I love onion rings, regardless. These are fantastic, and even my dining companion who is not usually a fan, likes them. My biggest pet peeve when it comes to onion rings is when you bite into them, the entire ring of onion pulls out of the batter. Not the ones here. Each bite breaks off where it should, and the onion is tender on the inside with a very crispy exterior, but not at all greasy. These are some of the best onions I’ve ever eaten.
With my obsession of wings, you know Whacked Wings ($8.50) are in order. These chicken wings are tossed in a well-balanced sweet and spicy barbecue sauce with a nice kick. They are moist and pull away from the bones with ease. Served with an aromatic cilantro-avocado aioli, which incidentally, also works well with the onion rings.
Sausages are another favorite of mine so Schnitzengruben ($10) becomes part of our meal. It is a trio of gourmet sausages — chicken jalapeno, smoked kielbasa, cheddar brat — topped with sauteed bell peppers and onions are served with jalapeno honey mustard. I would have preferred the mustard to be served separately instead of being drizzled over the sausages as they flavors are somewhat masked by the condiment.
Of course, when one visits a New York-style deli, there is no excuse not to have one of the sandwiches. We try The Mitzvah ($9 half/$13 small 4oz/$16.50 large 8oz) with corned beef, Brix Deli sauce, sauerkraut, melted Swiss on lightly toasted rye. I want more sauerkraut on the sandwich — a lot more. The corned beef is okay, but we definitely like the pastrami better.
The pastrami sandwich is Fuhgeddaboudit ($8.50 half/$11.50 small 4oz/$15 large 8oz), served warm with Brix Deli sauce, melted Swiss, house coleslaw, and also, on lightly toasted rye. The meat possesses good flavor, and is not fatty.
There are no sides served with sandwiches, so upon Rick’s suggestion, we opt for Garlic Fries ($3). They are rather good, with a jalapeno garlic topping which is a great accompaniment. My friend likes the ranch sauce which comes on the side, but again, I am happy dipping mine in the cilantro-avocado aioli.
Our meal here is enjoyable, and especially made so by Rick’s presence. I love his energy and the stories he shares with his customers. He is straight-forward, no-nonsense, exactly what I expect from a native New Yorker, even if he’s been here for decades.
Brix at the Shore
5372 E 2nd St
Long Beach, CA 90803