By LAUREN LEIGHTON and SALLY OSTEEN For The Red & Black
Issue date: 3/29/07 Section: Out & About

 

Sara Beth Holt, 23, has been a cashier at Brett’s Casual American Dining since its opening in February. Patrons order at the cashier and sit either inside or on the patio. Photo: SARA GUEVARA

Sara Beth Holt, 23, has been a cashier at Brett’s Casual American Dining since its opening in February. Patrons order at the cashier and sit either inside or on the patio. Photo: SARA GUEVARA

Brett’s Casual American Restaurant was a great find for us this week.

With a tasty menu, low prices and abundant choices, this eatery has all of its bases covered.

Located on Atlanta Highway in the old Westside Loco’s Grill & Pub building, it’s a longer drive, but who doesn’t go out that way for a Target run at least once a week?

The menu includes starters, salads and soups, seafood and other entr?es, Tex-Mex items, sandwiches and desserts.

The menu items are written on a chalkboard hanging on the wall, but a paper version is also available.

Ordering takes place at the front – diners choose any seat they like, and the food comes out in just a few minutes.

The tall ceilings and open dining area give a relaxed feel to the casual restaurant. Photographs liven up the walls.

Seating is available outside, but we chose an inside booth.

After bringing our food to the table, the server was attentive but not overbearing, adding to the “casual” aspect of Brett’s. The reasonable prices also reflect the name of the restaurant – getting a nice meal won’t break the bank.

For starters, items such as artichoke-spinach dip ($6), peel-and-eat shrimp ($6), tempura veggies ($5) and cheesy fries or onion rings ($3) are perfect for sharing or to try a few different things instead of an entree. Homemade soup of the day is offered in a cup ($2) or a bowl ($4).

The salads sounded good, but weren’t what we were in the mood for. A little Italy chopped salad would meet anyone’s daily veggie needs – it comes with iceberg lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, pepproncini, heart of palm, mozzarella, salami and house vinaigrette ($7.50). A prime steakhouse Caesar salad ($5 or $7.50 with chicken) comes with eggless dressing. The tortilla salad ($7) and others looked substantial enough to be a meal.

Seafood entrees are done on the grill and include trout or salmon ($9.50), yellow fin tuna ($8), shrimp ($10) and tilapia ($8), which Sally chose. It was light and flakey, covered in spices and grilled to crispy perfection.

A choice of sides, including steamed broccoli, baked sweet or white potato, fruit, french fries, creamed corn, rice and black beans, comes with each entree. Sally picked her favorite, the sweet potato.

Both tasted as they should, and Sally cleaned her plate, allowing Lauren a bite.

Other entrees are the island chicken ($7), grilled sirloin ($9.50), Texas sliced brisket ($8) and sandwiches, which come on a poppy seed bun. The Brettburger ($6), which can be customized, the grilled fish sandwich ($7), muffaletta ($7), Texas size chili dog ($5.5) and the chicken sandwich ($7) are just a few of the choices.

Lauren went with the chicken sandwich, which is a marinated chicken breast topped with provolone, lettuce, tomatoes and a honey Dijon spread. She enjoyed the whole thing but had to have Sally help with the fries since it was so filling.

Tex-Mex options include nachos ($5), quesadillas ($4 or $5) and tacos ($5 or $6).

Also, even though most entrees come with a specific side, a different one can be substituted upon request. An additional side can be added for $2.

The desserts, a toasted pecan ball or a brownie sundae ($4), didn’t strike our fancy enough to order one.

We enjoyed our dining experience at Brett’s Casual American even though it was a drive. Many families were eating there, an unusual thing to see in downtown Athens, which is typically full of students.

BRETT’S CASUAL AMERICAN DINING

Where: 3190 Atlanta Hwy.
Phone Number: (706) 850-1395
Food Score: Immediate 80, Emerging 100

Grade: A-
Verdict: A casual restaurant with spruced up, chain-like food at a better price.