Bite Me, Brussels.

Reviewing food for the foreigners, without all the fluff.

Archive for September, 2009

Good Greek in Leuven

Posted by Pi on September 27, 2009

The relatively new Greek restaurant Zita over in Flemish Brabant had romanced me with its roasted lamb chops and spiced orzo platter (20 euros), but it was the service that really won my heart.

Considering that the fried calamari (13 euros) was nothing special, and that the orzo seemed too run-of-the-mill and a little too salty, the lamb easily was the second-best part of the experience.  Those chops were cooked perfectly for me, tender and full of that deep, unique flavor that only lamb can have.  Maybe authenticity is not the primary goal of the place, but the food was good anyway.

If the menu was secondary, then the very best part was our waitress, who rolled with the punches of serving a large table of guests and brought out all sorts of dishes for us with an unusual proficiency and laid-back humor that I can appreciate.  She was an education student at the local university, so I suppose that’s no surprise.  Her future colleagues will be lucky.

Zita
Tiensesteenweg 347, Kessel-lo

Food: B+
Atmosphere: A
Service: A
Price: B
Languages: Dutch, English, French

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Maybe the sampler platter is leftovers

Posted by Pi on September 23, 2009

The welcoming guy who runs Paradis du Liban over at Merode desperately worked his sales pitch the other day.  I had gone in at about 2100h, hungry as ever due to the late dinnertime.  Almost immediately after greeting and seating me, he started pushing the “assiette degustation” (20 euros) like an Ecstasy dealer.  This was supposed to be Lebanese flatbreads together with a large plate of various dips and meats, including hummus, baba ghannouj, some samosa-like things, beef, and marinated vegetables.

Nevermind that I had come in already with kefta chicken skewers and rice on my mind, or that I had told him as much.  He insisted on the sampler plate in his friendly, slightly crazy, old-man way.  I’m easily swayed, so I decided to go for it; I’d take his recommendation anyway, strange as his insistence seemed.  How could I go wrong with a variety of food?

What a pity how disappointing it was.  It’s not that it was bad; it’s just that it wasn’t very good. Definitely not worth the price.  The bread was decent, though it came from a plastic bag and wasn’t warm.  I wondered if I could buy these at Carrefour.  The meats were dry and salty, and they tasted as if they had been sitting around for a while.  At least they were warm.  The cold side dishes were nothing special, either.  I had bought better tasting hummus from Delhaize once.  One side dish of cooked vegetables was cold, too, which also struck me as odd.   The best part was maybe the rkakat, which was like a small egg roll filled with a kind of cream cheese, and even then it wasn’t so interesting.

Oh well — no big deal.  If there’s a next time, then I’m getting the chicken, no matter how nice the guy is.   That’s what I get for giving in to people who are just a bit too insistent.  I should trust my internal weirdometer more at restaurants.

Paradis du Liban
Avenue de Tervuren 7, Etterbeek

Food: C
Atmosphere: B-
Service: A-
Languages: Arabic, English, French

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Cozy and Belgian

Posted by Pi on September 8, 2009

Three huge boulettes, or meatballs in tomato sauce, lay on my plate, accompanied by a side salad and metal bowl full of frites (9 euros).  The other foreigners around me were eating stoemp, carbonnade, and plates of mixed greens and shrimp, along with their golden beers, as the multilingual waitresses brought out the comfort food with ease and a smile.  The setting was small and cozy.  The brick walls were lined with local decor, and the inviting lighting reminded me of home.  How Belgian!  What an appropriate place for dinner during the last fading warm days of summer in Brussels.

Les Brassins
Rue Keyenveld 36, Ixelles

Food: B
Atmosphere: A+
Service: A+
Price: A
Languages: French, Dutch, English

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