PHOTO OF LA CUISINE VIA VINO GUSTO
As you may have noticed, I've been slacking on the blog lately. Perhaps J and I are, quite simply, getting used to Brussels and having fewer Eureka! moments (this excludes our conclusion the other day that being here is a little like Lost - the expats are the plane crash survivors, the locals are The Others, and you're always wondering if there might be more of you, especially ones from New York. But anyway.)
As I've mentioned before, one thing that very seldom fails us here, even when (or particularly when) we're feeling disgruntled or lonely, is the food. In that vein, brief reviews of two restaurants we recently visited:
La Cuisine, Rue Lesbroussart, 85. I've walked by this place many times and found it fetching enough to look at, but then succumbed to the charms of its even-more-beckoning neighbors L'Annexe and Chez Oki. Which, it turns out, is not entirely fair to this little gem of a restaurant, which serves typical Belgo-French (and then some) fare. The night we went, J had mushroom toast and Argentine-style steak, whereas I started with carrot soup, followed by roasted skate and delicious Brussels sprout stoemp (for those who don't know, like me upon arriving here, stoemp is basically mashed potatoes with something else, usually a veggie, mixed in). Dessert: an equally delightful rhubarb tart. All in all, an enjoyable, affordable neighborhoody joint that I would wholeheartedly recommend.
Pudding Rock, Rue du Mail, 76. Like La Cuisine, and most other finds in Brussels, I discovered this place on a walk (in fact, my thrice-weekly walk to French school, which I recently re-started). Went there with some friends for lunch last Friday, and was more than pleasantly surprised: from the tuna tartare amuse bouche to the very last dish of my tasting platter (or, really, tray), I was reminded of much more expensive - and pretentious - restaurants in Manhattan. Which is probably what I like best about Brussels' (and most of Europe's) foodie scene - yes, there are the Michelin-rated institutions, all of which I would like to visit at some point. But in the mean time, a seemingly endless supply of other, more moderately priced restaurants will accommodate my credit-crunched wallet. Although the origins of Pudding Rock's name remain elusive (the interior was vaguely Scottish, the way, say, Gwen Stefani's L.A.M.B. line is), the quality of the food was unambiguous. Somehow, the chicon (endive) purée was reminiscent of the cauliflower pannacotta I once had at the Modern. Mmmm.
1 year ago