We’re back. After a two-and-a-half year hiatus due to boredom with the restaurant choices in central IL, we finally have something new to write about.

The Brick House Bar and Grill opened this week in the space formerly occupied by Two Flowers at the refurbished Unique Suites Hotel on Rt. 16 in Charleston. The new restaurant and hotel are owned by the same folks who own Dirty’s Bar and Grill further east on Rt. 16. Hopefully this bodes well for the longevity of the restaurant, because this one’s a keeper. We stopped in tonight to give it a try and were pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food.

The menu is typical American with steaks, chicken, pasta, and seafood. The dishes are taken beyond the routine by different spices and sauces. Tonight Sarah had the Chicken Parmesan and I had a dish called Chateau Bistro, which was a center cut sirloin sliced and served with a bourbon creme sauce. Sarah’s dish came with ziti and fire roasted corn. Mine came with mashed red potatoes. We both started with a Caesar salad. The salads were ok, although the lettuce seemed a bit wilted from washing. The entrees, however, were simply outstanding. Sarah’s Chicken Parmesan was a huge piece of perfectly cooked breaded chicken over ziti with a vodka-based tomato sauce. The chicken was covered in melted cheese. My steak was also cooked to perfection and the bourbon creme sauce was an excellent addition that nicely complement the steak without overpowering it. Both side dishes were very tasty. Our bill, which included two glasses of wine, came to $50 with the tip. Not bad for an excellent meal for two. I look forward to our next visit there. There are lots of interesting things on the menu I wish to try.

Note to the chef: My compliments, sir. Well done.

Note to the owner: Kudos on opening what is sure to become the best restaurant in Coles County. I wish you success. You’ll see me often.