Dined at YellowBrix for a lunch and then a dinner. Convenient walk across the street from the courthouse in downtown. One of the only places open in Carlsbad on a Sunday night that wasn't fast food. Nice selection of craft brews with some offerings from small N. Mexico breweries and the wine selection was adequate for meal accompaniment with decent pours by the glass. (Quite a find in this Bud/Coors Light region.) Service was average as the servers on both visits seemed disinterested and remote. The atmosphere is very nice; the front dining room has an airy, open fee, high ceilings with a modern, uncluttered look. The back dining room was less appealing as a low ceiling and low lighting gave it a cold feeling. The restaurant has a large patio seating area which looked nice for warmer season dining.
Lunch was eaten with a large group seated in the rear dining area. I enjoyed a chicken pesto panini with truffle fried potatoes. I sampled the pasilla chili soup as it drew raves from a local. Very good soup, great for a winter day. Lunch entree prices in the $8-12 range. The serving sizes were decent while maintaining inventiveness and quality. Service at lunch was very slow, although once engaged in a friendly manner the server cheered up. He was very knowledgeable about the menu but I had to work to get details. All things considered this was a good lunch.
Returned for dinner on a Sunday night. As stated there aren't many options in Carlsbad on a Sunday evening, the locales raved about the Chili's chain restaurant which had an hour wait time on a prior Sunday evening visit...really. I am happy the YellowBrix took reservations as I thoroughly enjoyed dinner here. Starters of bruschetta and spinach artichoke dip are standard fare anywhere but apparently 'fancy' for Carlsbad. These were prepared and presented very nicely here. I enjoyed several craft brews. Next up was a dinner salad which had a nice selection of greens and a good balsamic side dressing and an ample portion size. I had opted for the pasilla chili soup for my main course and had a very good green chili infused beer to enjoy. This soup is very good. Basic ingredients, red chile bold but not mouth searing heat, nice chunks of pork, great for a chilly evening. I sampled some stuffed chicken on risotto dressed with red chard. Very tasty and well presented, quality prep and ingredients shining thru. Service was just adequate, again, once the server warmed to us the experience was much better.
I would recommend this restaurant. Although stuck in a "small New Mexico town", with a little polish this place would shine in the 'real world'. There are just not many options for 'enlightened' dining in this town, or as one local friend said "oh, you ate at the yuppy place". As for the service standard I understood the 'oil boom' saps the labor force. Happily this was basically an 'un-oil boom' crowd here so once the staff was treated with dignity and respect, service improved. Try this place - it's not the finest dining, although by local standards it is refreshingly different.
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