It’s been a journey for Tara Glick, a longtime pastry chef at some of the city’s highest-profile restaurants — Danny Meyer’s Maialino, Andrew Carmellini’s Locanda Verde, and Marc Forgione’s American Cut, to name three — who chucked it all and quietly opened a fantastic little ice cream parlor called Brix Haus last November in Prospect Lefferts Gardens.
There were some side-quests for Glick along the way, including a well-regarded restaurant in Weehawken that shuttered last fall, and an early pandemic cafe-bakery-general store/wine shop with Jef Diesel, her friend and the owner of the neighborhood wine bar Glou, on the corner of Rogers and Sterling, which now trafficks in pan pizzas (and, of course, wine). A year ago Glick signed a lease in Hoboken for what would have been the first Brix Haus, but she hasn’t been able to start construction over there yet.
“New Jersey’s not being friendly to me,” Glick tells Brooklyn Magazine. “So I’m re-concentrating my efforts in Brooklyn. Brooklyn has always been very welcoming.” Turns out that collab with Diesel back in 2020 would be a fortuitous one, as the Brix Haus space is technically part of Glou — the two are attached via the basement — a cozy arrangement that made for a quick, four-week build-out.
The ice cream here is a unique combination of American and Italian styles. “I kind of picked what I like from each,” says Glick. “It has a high butterfat content like American ice cream, but at Brix Haus we churn it at a slower speed, so it’s less aerated, like Italian gelato. It’s a denser, chewier product. And we use gelato freezers, so it’s served at a little bit of a higher temperature than ice cream. It’s more pliable, not rock hard.”
It’s also delicious. There are three everyday flavors: Basic V, a straight-up vanilla; Brix Trax, which has a sweet cream base loaded with peanut butter, crushed Oreos, and chocolate chips; and Glick’s signature creation, a popcorn flavor with a rich and buttery delightfulness. Add in eight or so flavors rotating in on a regular basis, and you have some of the best new ice cream to hit town in years.
I devoured a Brix Haus triple scoop cone last week, because why not, you only live once. The chocolate cookies flavor boasts a lot of true cocoa taste, with cookie crumbs adding a bit of texture. Glick always has two vegan varieties on hand. The raspberry chip sherbert is as creamy and satisfying as the butterfat scoops. And the Brix Trax is remarkable for its restraint, the multiple mix-ins complementing, rather than overwhelming, the actual ice cream base.
Glick sent me home with some hand-packed pints, including a miraculously not-too-too-sweet fluffernutter flavor, and an outstanding hot honey crunch, featuring a habanero honey base studded with crunchy honeycomb candy and dark chocolate chunks.
You can also create your own sundaes, with any combination of Glick’s hot fudge, caramel sauce, whipped cream, and/or amarena cherries. But the pro order here is the Brix Haus Crackerjack, which Glick created years ago in the kitchen of Tribeca’s tony steakhouse American Cut (it’s still on the menu there), and stars scoops of her popcorn ice cream, plus caramel sauce, lots of housemade caramel corn and peanut brittle, and a generous dollop of whipped cream. This is a world-class dessert, and a bargain at $10.
The majestic Crackerjack sundae, $10 (Scott Lynch)
Brix, in case you couldn’t guess by the dog-eared logo that’s everywhere, is Glick’s French bulldog-Boston Terrier mix, named after the unit of measurement pastry chefs use for sugar. Unsurprisingly, perhaps, Glick makes a “pooch scoop” for dogs, which we did not sample.
The space itself is pretty large, but half of it is taken up by the semi-open kitchen, separated from the ordering area by a shelving unit filled with Brix Haus merch. The only seating for now is a four-person banquette along one wall, though come spring Glick plans on adding a tree-box bench and a few tables outside on the sidewalk.
“I love this neighborhood,” says Glick, though that doesn’t mean she plans on sitting still. In fact, she tells us she’d love to open a Brix Haus in every neighborhood in Brooklyn. We should all be so lucky.
Brix Haus is located at 406 Rogers Avenue, enter on Sterling Street, and is currently open on Thursday through Saturday from 2 to 8 p.m., and on Sunday from 2 to 6, with expanded hours coming once the weather warms up.