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Belgique Gourmande?

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James G Jan 9, 2002 02:58 PM

Has anyone been to Bistrot Belgique Gourmande in Occoquan, and if so, can they post a quick review and indication of what to order? Thanks!

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  1. j
    Jake Parrott RE: James G Jan 9, 2002 03:29 PM

    I used to be a semi-regular. It's hearty fare, though there are certain technical errors (overreduced, too-thick sauces, etc). But the moules and frites and soups are stellar and if you hew to those (and the waffles) you will have a fun, if a bit cramped space-wise, time. And plenty of beers at very reasonable prices compared to the swill wines poured by the glass at plenty of places.

    Jake

    2 Replies
    1. re: Jake Parrott
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      Jim Dorsch RE: Jake Parrott Jan 10, 2002 05:59 AM

      I think many of BBG's customers are there as much for the good vibes as the food.

      The proprietors are wonderful, warm people, and when you book a table, it's yours for the evening. No one will try to rush you out so they can turn the table.

      It's the kind of place where you'll find yourself chatting with the strangers at the table next to you.

      1. re: Jim Dorsch
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        Jake Parrott RE: Jim Dorsch Jan 10, 2002 01:58 PM

        I absolutely agree--it's just that I only want to go there when I feel like mussels these days, and it's winter right now, so that seems a little off as well. If it had a bar, I'd be there as much as I could just to drink the beers.

        Jake

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      Michael RE: James G Jan 9, 2002 10:13 PM

      We have been a couple of times and enjoyed it a lot. Very relaxed atmosphere, the owner/chef is always close by the dining room. We enjoy beer so the Belgian beer is always great. They have unusual entrees ex. venison, etc. and they have a great mussel soup. They do have a website but I don't know the address. MLJ

      1 Reply
      1. re: Michael
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        Jim Dorsch RE: Michael Jan 10, 2002 06:13 AM

        See link below for web site.

        Link: http://www.monumental.com/belgique/

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        Michael RE: James G Jan 10, 2002 06:08 AM

        The website for Belgique is msinc.com/belgique. Also, this is the last year for the Danielle and family operation as they are moving to North Carolina.

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          James G RE: James G Jan 15, 2002 12:12 PM

          So we went to Belgique Gourmande on Saturday with a group of 10 people. Surprisingly hard to find, since it's on an alley and my car's GPS said I 'had arrived' when in fact I was about 2 blocks away. Also, no one around town seemed to know where it was located, but that Belgian flag outside led the way. Surprisingly, the door bore a sign informing the world that they were closed, despite my being able to see diners sitting in the front room; reasoning that the sign meant that they had no more seatings available, I charged in. Sure enough, my supposition was correct and soon enough all members of my party were seated in the back room.

          The service (by the owner's daughter) was very casual and friendly. We were given a list of about 50 beers to choose from (most of the people at our table had Lambic in various flavors, I went for Gouden Carolus, a dark beer that sounded great in their paragraphs-long description and that lived up to the hype) and the menu. The menu itself is rather short, but interesting. I had a starter of escargots a la bourgogne (not very Belgian, I suppose, which might explain why it was a bit weak, with insufficient flavor) followed by the only remaining order of mussels available that night. The meal also came with a choice of soup or salad, and they had a special seafood soup on offer that I decided to try. Unfortunately, it was also a bit disappointing, more like a wan version of Manhattan clam chowder than anything I can think of. The mussels, however, were excellent, and far too numerous for me to finish, especially knowing as I did that a birthday waffle was in the offing. This was a double portion (or maybe more) of waffles, topped with chocolate ice cream on one side and vanilla (I think) with fruit on the other, all topped with a huge layer of whipped cream. To my surprise, this was not fantastic, though it was good enough.

          Despite the food not being stellar, the atmosphere was very fun and we had a great time. The price was also not too bad, so it is to be recommended for a fun, different, evening out in an unusual setting (one happy outcome of this evening was the discovery of Occoquan, which seems like a cute town for a weekend visit).

          Oh, please note that the owners are retiring to NC in the autumn and are looking to sell the place, so all bets are off after that.

          2 Replies
          1. re: James G
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            Joe RE: James G Jan 15, 2002 01:18 PM

            Have you been to Le Mannequin Pis in Olney? Comparison? We've driven from Reston just to eat there (45 miles). How about the moules at Bis on Capitol Hill?

            1. re: Joe
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              James G RE: Joe Jan 15, 2002 02:34 PM

              No, I have not been to Mannequin Pis, though I have been meaning to go. Afraid I cannot compare, though a comparison with Brussels is possible, and unfortunately for DC chowhounds, Brussels wins hands-down.

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