9 Klines Court ~ Lambertville, NJ ~ (609) 460-4148
Tuesday–Saturday: Dinner Reservations accepted for 5:30–9
Sunday: Dinner Reservations accepted for 5–7:30
Prix Fixe $45 Tuesday–Thursday, $50 Friday–Sunday
BYOB ~ Cash only
Gift certificates are available in any amount. Please ask your server, or call the restaurant.
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By Robert Gordon for Icon Magazine
And now, even in Philly’s finest hour, for exquisite cuisine at reasonable (actually low) prices, Held’s tiny, tucked-away BYOB has few peers.
The Savory Crab Cheesecake I dove into on my first return visit is the tastiest appetizer I’ve had this year. This cream cheese and Gruyère mix, laced with fresh crab cooked to flawless perfection with mustard based remoulade, is delicious. I had recently tried similar versions at two (deservedly) heralded Philly restaurants. Brian’s version is superior.
By Cody Kendall for The Star-Ledger
The shining restaurant stars of 2012
No. 1 among them is an impeccable gem, Brian’s. It arrived nicely polished early this year, fitting into Lambertville with a style well-tailored for this intriguing restaurant town. That is a tribute to its mastermind, Brian Held, who previously ran a fine dining establishment on the other side of the Delaware River.
By Karla Cook For The New York Times
It's early evening, and I’m watching a driving rain through the windows as a crackling fire warms my back. Yet I am entertaining the idea of a drive to Lambertville for sweetbreads Milanese.
Clearly, this is no ordinary Milanese dish. No, if one order is a reliable indicator, this appetizer is excellent. An ethereally light and thin breadcrumb crust covers a hot, custardlike essence, the flavor slightly reminiscent of liver and, unmistakably, offal. It is all set against a smidgen of lemon-brown butter sauce, capers and a bright and cool arugula salad barely dressed with a squeeze of lemon and canola and dotted with bits of Parmigiano-Reggiano.
This dish, which approached art, is one of the boldly flavored offerings of Brian Held, the chef and owner of Brian’s, a cozy 40-seat place that opened in January in the former home of the restaurant No. 9.
By Pat Tanner For New Jersey Monthly
One of my favorite dishes combined meat and seafood. Held braises veal cheeks for six hours, producing a rich, flavorful sauce and rendering the cheeks as soft as down pillows. He strews them with sautéed shrimp and rounds out the plate with excellent whipped potatoes and mixed ultra-seasonal veggies. Dishes like this and Held’s signature beef à la mode (a kind of French pot roast with wine, herbs and root vegetables) reflect his attraction to secondary cuts. But he’s also adept with primary cuts—seared lamb chops, for example—and with fish, like butterfish in citrus sauce. Fowl, too, is expertly handled, as exemplified by succulent squab in a rich black-currant sauce.
By Faith Bahadurian For The Princeton Packet
My friend could smell the essence of corn in her velvety corn soup with leek and lump crabmeat ($12) before she even lifted her spoon. It was delicious and elegant, with a generous knot of crabmeat in the middle of the wide bowl. My senses heightened and I went into olfactory overdrive as the scent of truffle oil wafted my way from a nearby diners’ wild mushroom soup, followed by a whiff of horseradish as a plate of boeuf a la mode sailed by. Oh my!
By Cody Kendall For The Star-Ledger
Brian’s is brilliant. The concept developed by chef/owner Brian Held is well-defined in every aspect, from the exquisite food and personable service to the sleek look of the place, where the open kitchen contrasts with the sophisticated dining area’s tablecloths, banquette and framed wall of mirrors. Held ran the more formal Rouget in Newtown, Pa., for five years — but when his lease was up, he jumped at the chance to have a different kind of operation in Lambertville. The Culinary Institute of America graduate calls it, “just the greatest town; it’s a culinary town. The clientele that we get has very refined palates. It’s a chef’s dream to be here.”
Susan Sprague Yeske For The Times
For our visit we chose the two prix fixe options for the night, a butterfish filet and lasagna Bolognese. Moist and flaky, the butterfish was excellent, but elevated to an even higher plane by the addition of Held’s lightly creamy tangerine sauce. The fish was served over mashed potatoes with spears of asparagus, and was one of the favorites of the evening.
Overall, our meal was among the best we’ve tasted, and evidence that Held can continue to produce high-quality meals while offering less expensive options. This restaurant is worth a visit, and perhaps another, and then another.
This spring, a new restaurant is blossoming in Lambertville. Much like it’s name, the cuisine at Brian’s is inspired by simplicity, serving the rustic country fare of Provence and Northern Italy. Brian’s atmosphere blends white-table cloth elegance with some casual touches- a single fresh flower on each table, a wood-burning oven, breakfast offerings on the weekends, and friendly approachable servers. The blend make for both a unique and enjoyable dining experience.
ABOUT THE CHEF
It seems that Brian Held always wanted to be a chef. Even as a small child he was drawn to cooking. It is not surprising, then, that he attended the prestigious CIA—The Culinary Institute of America—on a Wine Spectator scholarship. After graduation in 1995, Brian developed his skills and cooking style in regional kitchens including The River Club in New Brunswick, NJ, before opening Juliana Rose in Richboro, PA in 2001. In 2007 he opened Rouget in historic Newtown Township in Bucks County, PA. Rouget soon became a favorite for many diners, especially after a rave review by Craig LaBan. The affordable combination of prix fixe and BYO made higher end french country food accessible.
In 2012 Brian moved across the river to Lambertville, NJ, now a regional restaurant hotbed, and opened Brian’s, which quickly established itself as the place to go for fine, European inspired cuisine.