Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for March, 2009

Beer by the pitcher

Posted by pieguybxl on March 29, 2009

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Foreigners who want a full pitcher of beer in Brussels may be hard-pressed to find one, but at least you can always do it at Belga.  Maybe we just aren’t as classy as Belgians and their individual bottles, but who cares?  Sometimes you just want a lot of beer for everyone.

This popular large cafe at Flagey in Ixelles recently went non-smoking, too, which also adds to its appeal.  The pitchers make the place that much more familiar.  Though sometimes crowded, it doesn’t get hot.  Like most bars, at night the music gets turned up, so talk louder or just start dancing.

Café Belga
Eugène Flageyplein 18

Atmosphere: A, non-smoking

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Oysters and mermaids

Posted by pieguybxl on March 25, 2009

mermaidinn

The next time you take your flight from Brussels to New York City, stop by the Mermaid Inn to try the scrumptious seafood.  If you can stand the crowd and don’t mind waiting at the bar for a seat, the seasonal oysters with zingy ginger-lemon sauce really can hit the spot.  Not a fan of the raw?  Then the subtle seared scallops with garlic greens and cream sauce can cool you down.  The intensely flavored crabcakes with shredded radish are the real winner, though, by far.

Places like this show me that Brussels definitely could scale up its seafood fare.  Mussels can be great, but I like some delicious crab once in a while, too, even if it runs a little pricy.

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Sweet and salty Peking duck

Posted by pieguybxl on March 23, 2009

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We’re always on the lookout for good Peking / Beijing duck in Brussels, and so far it has been elusive.  The perfect version should have the right balance of savory roast duck with crispy, flavorful skin; hoisin or plum sauce; spice and crunch from fresh green onions or other vegetables; and all put together in a dense but thin rice or wheat wrapper.

One version, shown above, comes from a Chinese restaurant just south of the Kam Yuen market.   It may have tasted pretty good, as the dish goes here, but we’re still on the lookout for better.  The duck missed a little bang, but at least it didn’t have bones, like other places!  They also give you all the components separately, so if you like putting together your own wrap with a personal duck-to-onion ratio, this place is for you.

Once we remember the name of the place, we’ll add it in this entry, but if you walk down that Brouckere street, you can’t miss it.  Where else can we find this dish?  Where are the excellent versions in Belgium?

“Restaurant Chinois” south of the Kam Yuen market
Food: B+
Atmosphere: B
Languages: Mandarin, French, English

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Random

Posted by spacemonkey99 on March 11, 2009

There are places that are well-known, that people love or hate. At least if your restaurant or cafe is loved or hated – people are talking about it! Then there are the random places on a corner which never really catch your attention – unless you walk by every day. Sometimes those dingy, unappealing and straight-up boring looking places could surprise you with a good cheddar cheeseburger (12 euros) or a calzone (13 euros) oozing goodness.

Volcano Pizza...otherwise known as a calzone

Volcano Pizza...otherwise known as a calzone

Tastes better than it looks!

Tastes better than it looks!

Food: A-/B+
Price: B
Service: A
Atmosphere: C
Languages: French, English

L’Aurige, Avenue de Tervueren 24, 1040 Etterbeek
close to Merode metro

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Ice cream with tea and sesame seed

Posted by pieguybxl on March 8, 2009

espacesushi3

I would visit this sushi place again just for the dessert!  Espace Sushi recently served up decent sushi and sashimi, but let’s forget that.  Really it was the unique and delicious dessert there that stood out to me.   Unusual twin scoops of ice cream graced the end of our meal:  one flavored with green tea, including little flecks of crispy dried tea leaves, and the other with roasted sesame seed.  For a tea fan, the green scoop tasted pretty good, with a distinct tea aroma and taste without being overpowering.  As for the other scoop? Absolutely stellar.  The rich nuttiness of the sesame came out subtly but strongly with each bite, and I wished I could take a pint home with me.  Both scoops were not nearly as sweet as standard ice creams, but they were still very smooth and creamy.  I don’t know where they got these flavors, or if the restaurant made it all themselves, but I liked it.

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The ice cream went perfectly with the simple but delicious green tea cakes.  Almost exotic, they were denser, cleaner, and much more subtle than the typical buttery cakes found elsewhere in Brussels, yet they still had a smooth texture and light sweetness to them.  Just like the ice cream, each moist bite had a distinct scent and flavor of green tea.  This restaurant apparently stayed true to the idea of sushi when it came to their desserts: keep the flavors and textures pure, uncommonly good, and exquisite.

Espace Sushi
Chaussée de Wavre 325

Atmosphere: A
Languages: French, English

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