Monday, February 05, 2007


Point Brugge

We went to Point Brugge Cafe in Point Breeze last week, after hearing from umpteen people about how great it was. Finally, we had a chance to eat there and it was well worth it. It was a perfect little weeknight escape to Brussels.

Layout = C-

I liked the smallish size of this place because it made it cozy. The lighting was low and complimentary and the whole feel of the place was pleasant. I remember noticing the tone of the bathroom, kind of a brownish-gold, it was warm and inviting like a candle's glow.

What made it cozy, also made it cramped. The two tops were seated so close to one another that I could clearly hear what the two ladies next to me were talking about (her daughter's horrible new boyfriend if you're curious). The booths behind us and along the walls all the way down toward the front door looked more spacious and private, but where we were was a lot like that Frog and the Redneck restaurant they used to have in Richmond, Virginia - I *think* they call it New York style seating, although I've been in plenty of places in New York where there was enough room where you didn't feel like you were sharing dinner with the people next to you.

Service = A+

So great there are no minuses. She was just perfect - not overbearing with just the right amount of friendly. She gave us time to enjoy our meal, and almost instinctually knew when we wanted another beer. As a result the dinner proceeded at the perfect amount of leisurely pace for a weeknight. And even though the place filled up with people waiting at the bar seemingly for our table by the time we got our dessert, she never rushed us, not even a teeny bit. Great stuff.

Food = A

Because we were craving them and because we wanted the full Belgian experience, we ordered the full dinner-size portion of the Mussels prepared the classic way with shallots, garlic, white wine, and cream. These came with a portion of Belgian frites here called "Brugge frites". Drinks were Belgian beer, of course. First a glass of Urthel Hop-It a tasty golden ale, then Le Fin du Monde, an equally tasty Tripel. Both were terrific against the garlic brineyness of the mussels and the hot crispy saltiness of the frites. I couldn't decide which beer I liked better, both were terrific and ones I've never had anywhere else in Pittsburgh. At $7 a beer, it's a little cheaper than you pay for Belgians in other places as well.

The mussels were great - perfectly cook, tender, with just the right amount of wine and garlic. They were probably the best mussels I've had outside of New York City. We finished off the pound and a half quickly, and probably could've eaten more, but dessert beckoned.

We ended the meal with probably the richest, yet lightest chocolate mousse cake I've ever eaten. It was so good that instead of sharing, after a taste my husband ordered his own slice. I ate the entire thing and yet didn't feel gross, like I sometimes do after such a rich meal accompanied by two glasses of rich Belgian beer.

Two picky things - the beer isn't draft, which ideally, a Belgian should be. Of course if you had ever asked me this prior to moving to Pittsburgh I would've denied it. But the people at The Sharp Edge have spoiled me for beers in bottles I guess. But as a result, both beers were a little on the cold side so I had to wait a few minutes for them to warm enough to taste the hoppy goodness. A minor point really.

Also, the frites were soggy - a positively sacreligious thing to do to such a worthy beer "friend" - I was expecting crispy salty potatoes, and while they were crispy in parts, they sogged up. Not good. Again, I've been spoiled by the frites vendors I've been to in Paris - that serve up these yummy critters with mayo and they're so hot and crispy you feel as if you've gone to french fry heaven. Of course, we still ate up all of the Point Brugge frites anyway - they were pretty damn tasty after all.

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