The Brick Alley Pub
140 Thames Street, Newport, RI 02840 (map); 401-849-6334; brickalley.com
Cooking Method: Broiled
Short Order: While not a bad burger, it unfortunately doesn't taste as good as it looks.
Want Fries with That? Comes with standard frozen fries or side salad, Caesar salad, mixed veg, or cole slaw
Price: Hamburger, $8.95; Huntsman burger, $11.95
Notes: Be prepared to wait on the weekends
The Brick Alley Pub has been a go-to stop in Newport for over 30 years. Located among the many shops, bars, and restaurants on Thames Street, the Brick Alley Pub greats you with its sunshine yellow facade and awnings. The restaurant is a labyrinth of dining areas all decorated in that kitschy T.G.I. Friday's style except this version isn't tacky.
From their menu of 11 burgers, I went with the Huntsman Burger, a half pound broiled sirloin burger topped with applewood smoked bacon, Great Hill blue cheese (I'm a sucker for blue cheese burgers), and Vermont white cheddar cheese. Upon its arrival my excitement grew. Unfortunately this burger's good looks outweighed its taste. That being said, this was by no means a bad hamburger—it just fell a little flat.
I order my burger medium, but it was cooked a little past that, resulting in a slightly dried out patty. The toppings on their own were all fantastic: The bacon was perfectly smoky and salty, the Vermont cheddar was well melted and sharp, and the blue cheese, while not as potent as I was looking for, was tangy and creamy. The lettuce was a fine piece of leaf lettuce, but the tomato would have been better off left on the cutting board as it was pretty pink and mealy. The dense, sesame seed-topped white bun held up well to the burger and its toppings.
My problem with this burger was that the components didn't balance each other out. When eaten all together there was not one thing that enhanced the other. The Vermont cheddar overshadowed the mild blue cheese making it almost non-existent, the bacon was lost amongst the other toppings, and the beef lacked that beefiness I craved.
Would I eat this burger again if I was asked to? Absolutely. Would I go out of my way for this burger? Nope. That being said, the Brick Alley Pub has been a bustling, successful stop for a reason: It's a great restaurant, despite the burger. If you find yourself in Newport I highly suggest stopping in. —Alex Wood
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