Saturday, September 22, 2012

Belga Café

This original Belgian restaurant in Washington DC, Belga Café, is a great place for authentic Belgian food and Belgian Beers. Combining an intriguing atmosphere with excellent, light, healthy, and interesting food. The restaurant has a clean, modern, simple atmosphere with an outdoor patio for those warm days. Closest Metro is Eastern Market.

February 2012: I have also been here for breakfast/brunch, lunch and dinner. Brunch has a Belgian waffles and chocolate theme and the mussels are so fresh and plentiful – a super favorite of my mother’s. In fact, almost every time she comes to visit me we go to Belga for lunch and she orders mussels. The sandwiches are also great and served with a nice green salad and fries – very filling. The service is comparable to other fine restaurants. However, today when it came time to pay our bill, the waiter brought over a hand held machine and swiped my card right at the table, punched some buttons, then shoved it in my face telling me to punch a button for what ever amount of tip I wanted to leave. It was a little brash and I did not like it. It gave a forceful feeling that turned a perfectly nice lunch with my mother into an odd situation. She even asked me why he was rushing us out, since the dining room was no where near full. I'll excuse this once and hope that the next time I come back, they don't bring the credit card machine to my table.

Photo: Chef Bart's Facebook
September 2012:  Keith and I popped in for lunch after walking around the Barracks Row Fall Festival.  Although crowded, we managed to get a table outside on the sunny patio.  The Stella Artois Girls were on hand to show patrons how to properly pour a glass.  Chef Bart Vandaele was also on deck, glowing in his recent announcement as one of the latest contestants on Top Chef.  This is great news for Chef and the restaurant and I anticipate business to be booming ever more.  It was nice to see him buzzing about and checking on the servers, moving tables around as needed, and overall just having a presence at the restaurant.  On to the food...this time Keith and I each ordered a glass of Stella and started with the Kip & Krab Cigars, a fried roll of chicken and crab meat served with a curried mayo and a sweet & sour sauce.  They were flavorful, but the curry was a bit overpowering.  Next, I ate the Geitenkaas Wafels, lovely warm goat cheese waffles stuffed with roasted tomato and red pepper coulis, and served with a large herb salad.  It was the perfect dish to go with the beer and totally satisfied me.  Keith was craving something a little more Mediterranean so he ordered the Lamsburger that came with a cucumber garlic sauce, fresh spinach, and a Parmesan crisp.  For an extra $5.95, he added on frites and a side salad.  Overall, we had a great lunch and despite the busy crowd, our server did his best to check on us and refill our cold drinks. They really try to deliver the new motto on the back of their t-shirts.

Total Rating: 4.6
Food: 5, Price: 4, Service: 4, Ambience: 4, Accessibility: 5

What I ate:

Puff pastry with chicken, mushrooms in a velouté sauce and sweet breads croquettes

Ommeletje Van Bart
Omelet with baby grey shrimp, tomatoes and cheese

Waffled bread stuffed with vegetables and Brie
Served with side salad and fries

Mussels “Mariniere”
white wine, shallots and garlic

Mussels “ Garlic Butter”
Cream, celery, butter, and lots of garlic

Mussels "Curry"
light curry, ginger, sesame, with mixed vegetables

Kip & Krab Sigaar
spicy cigars of chicken and crabmeat with assorted sauces

Geitenkaas Wafels
warm goat cheese waffle with roasted tomato, red pepper coulis, and herb salad

Plus Keith ate:

Vlaamse Stoverij
Flemish beef stew with real Belgian fries and red cabbage

Le Vrai Steak Belge
Belgian steak with real Belgian fries

Mussels “ Rodenbach”
Red ale with bacon and asparagus

Mussels "Green"
with chorizo, fresh spinach, garlic and cream sauce

Het Varken en de Truffels
Pork tenderloin and braised pork belly with truffle macaroni and cheese,
turnips and pearl onions with an old Port sauce

Lamb & chorizo burger, garlic sauce, fresh spinach
served with frites and side salad

Belga Café on Urbanspoon

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