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belgian frites

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  • wonki kim Mar 22, 1999 11:22 AM
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read the sunday styles section of the times yesterday
and was wondering if anyone knew of belgian frites
places along the east side of manhattan, anywhere from
uptown to downtown. by the way, great belgian
chocolates can be had at the neuhaus shop at saks
fifth. they also have a store on madison in the 60s i
believe. best damn chocolates out there.
you'll never eat godiva again (unless you're like me
and trying to win diamond stud earrings for your
girlfriend). didn't win. can't finish the chocolates
either. i've learned my lesson. although more
expensive than godiva, they sometimes go on sale for
50% off at saks. definitely worth it, even if not on
sale.

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  1. Welcome to Chowhound. I definitely enjoy your style.
    The fairly new restaurant called Belgo has Belgian
    frites. I'm only familiar with the Belgo outside of
    London, but those were fabulous, as were the mussels
    and of course the Belgian beer. Maybe someone can
    comment specifically on their frites in NYC. pat

    14 Replies
    1. re: pat hammond
      m
      Michele Fuchs

      I haven't been able to access the Chowhound site for
      months. My computer was dying and I just got a new
      one yesterday. I am glad to be back...and
      coincidently we are going to Belgo tonight for dinner.
      Another couple suggested it, they live on Mulberry
      ndsay it is great! Do you need reservations?

      How is the food? Anyone?

      Michele

      1. re: Michele Fuchs

        I have only been to Belgo once, but I was completely
        unimpressed. The service is horrendous, the crowd was
        composed mostly of foreign tourists the night I went,
        and the food is mediocre at best. The mussels
        themselves were pretty good - plump and tasty. The
        sauces were not up to par. I had a cloyingly sweet
        and thick tomatoe sauce (yes, it was more of a sauce
        than a broth). The fries were cold and soggy. The
        beer selection is good, yet be prepared for the
        waiters to screw up your drink order more than once.
        All of the other non-mussel dishes that we had were
        not very memorable.

        I don't mean to rain on your parade (or your dinner
        tonight), but there are now so many great Belgium
        places in NY serving much better moules frites in a
        non-theme park, non-touristy, non-caverernous setting,
        that it seems kind of a waste to go to Belgo.

        1. re: Alex

          Well, that certainly answers my question about the
          americanization of Belgo! Asimov in today's NYTimes
          seconds your motion. Too bad. The one in the Chalk Farm
          section of London is also terribly busy but it runs
          well. pat

          1. re: pat hammond
            m
            Michele Fuchs

            Pat, remember me? It has been a while...

            Anyway, what did he say exactly, haven't read my paper
            yet, left it at home.

            1. re: Michele Fuchs

              Hey Michele! I didn't see your post until too late to
              make any difference. By now you've eaten at Belgo and
              read the review. There definitely were some good
              things to eat and I'm betting Wed. night was a good
              time to go. So, what did you think?

              Pat

              1. re: pathammond
                m
                Michele Fuchs

                Sorry it took so long to post...I have been EXTREMELY
                busy at work and haven't had the time to do this
                justice, so here goes...

                Let me begin by saying the food was good. We had the
                onion tart, mushroom tart/pastry(?), and the
                lobster/shrimp seafood melange (?) to start. They were
                all very good. We accompanied these with different
                biers and champagne, many rounds due to the food
                arrival time being so SLOW! No fault of the extremely
                sweet waitress Bonnie, who felt SO BAD! Then, both men
                in our party ordered the steak frites and both women
                ordered the poached sole. The steak frites was the
                way to go but the sole was very good, it came with
                muscles and shrimp on the side. I don't like muscles
                and the shrimp was overdone. The sole was delicious
                but the dish was not for me, it wasn't the
                restaurants' fault I liked the steak better, AND THE
                FRITES!

                What was their fault was the terribly slow kitchen and
                though I shouldn't be mean, the attitude of the
                hostess at first (sorry Jim). They tried to seat us in
                the basement dining area which was at least 100
                degrees and half empty, the wait upstairs was 40
                minutes to an hour because they take walk-ins and that
                is where the action is (the bar, the people in the
                know). Since we had reservations, they sat us in 30
                minutes.

                All in all we had a good time, the director of
                operations, Allison Vichers came over to apologize and
                then comped the meal! Very nice, but very
                appropriate. BTW: Communal tables, hard wooden
                benches and VERY loud! Nice concept though, GREAT
                bier/wine list. All levels, from $8 to $80.

                On the way out, Allison introduced us to the chef, who
                was also very charming and we had a bit of a laugh at
                the whole evening. I would give it another try, maybe
                I would wait a few weeks but after extending herself
                to us and of course the comping of the meal, I do
                believe I owe it to them to try again, and I repeat,
                we did have a great evening overall.

                1. re: Michele Fuchs

                  Great overview, Michele. I plan to go when I'm town
                  later in the spring. The management sounds eager to
                  please and I'm betting they'll get it sorted out before
                  long.
                  pat

                  1. re: pat hammond
                    m
                    Michele Fuchs

                    Thanks Pat, I was trying to be fair, honest and not
                    too hard on them, though I didn't want to lie or
                    mislead anyone.

                    I do like the concept and the nabe.

                    BTW: Jubilee on East 54th also has great moules(sp?)
                    frites and steak frites, etc. Thursday night Jazz,if
                    they still do it. Cute small space. Used to be Cafe
                    Europa (not the cafeteria style place) an eclectic
                    little restaurant that I used to frequent for lunch
                    when I worked near there. Nobody remembers it ( I
                    think?), they used rocks for the coat check and they
                    had the best baby lamb chops with these incredible
                    noodles like luction, macadamia crusted fish, any
                    fish,depending on the day etc. but they are closed so
                    "who cares"?

                    Anyway, hope you enjoy! Happy holidays!

                    1. re: Michele Fuchs

                      Cafe Europa! And here I thought *I* was the only one who remembered it! I miss that place more than almost any other ex-restaurant in town. Besides all the stuff you mention, they had an incredible wine list, stuff you never thought you'd have a chance to try (old burgundies etc.) at prices even I could afford. For an anniversary dinner I ordered a Vina Tondonia Reserva (or was it a Gran Reserva? we had a lot to drink) 1970, and it was incredible. I've often wondered why they closed. If anyone involved with the place is reading this -- you are remembered with gratitude!

                      1. re: steve d.
                        m
                        Michele Fuchs

                        I also thought that my ex-boss and I were the only
                        ones who remembered as well, except for those we
                        brought there for lunch. We always had a great time.
                        Do you remember those tiny noodles they used to serve,
                        even my mothers luction cannot compare. The wine list
                        was wonderful, sorry I forgot to mention it. Do you
                        have ANY idea what happened? Also...what kind of
                        restaurant was it exactly? I remember it being
                        eclectic something? I cannot recall what they called
                        themselves. I second the fond rememberance!

                        Michele

          2. re: Alex
            m
            Michele fuchs

            Well, you didn't rain on my parade (or dinner
            rather)...mother nature is taking care of that
            herself!

            But...you may have saved me from a horrific dinner!

            Any other suggestions, I cannot find the Times article
            that was from a week or two ago discussing Belgian
            restaurants.

            Any help would be appreciated! Thanks again!

            1. re: Michele fuchs

              Waterloo has great moules frites. The setting is kind
              of industrial and sparse in a very downtown kind of
              way (if that makes any sense) and it is a bit out of
              the way, but worth the trip.

              The people who own Waterloo also own another
              restaurant, I believe it is called Le Zoo(?). They do
              not take reservations and it is usually very packed,
              but I also heard that the moules frites were top notch.

              1. re: Alex
                m
                Michele Fuchs

                I have been to Le Zoo, a long time ago and though I
                cannot recall what I ate (over a year ago, at least)I
                do remember it being very good for what it is...a
                small cozy hip bistro in the west village.

                I e-mailed my friend about Belgo and she replied that
                it is the "new" favorite nabe place of her friend, who
                happens to have high standards. Though I usually have
                to trust my "chowhounds'" opinions, I am unfortunately
                unable to make this deternination, the dinner is,
                afterall, to get together for her engagement and the
                choice is theirs (the happy couple).

                I will be sure to write first thing tomorrow to give
                my opinion, if I am able...hahaha!

                At least I can get drunk on bier(sp.?)and maybe won't
                notice how bad it is! Only kidding, if I am going I
                will go with an open mind!

                Til tomorrow morning...

                1. re: Michele Fuchs

                  I went during the first few weeks that it opened, so
                  maybe this has something to do with the horrible
                  service and mediocre food. Everyone that I have
                  spoken with has agreed that the quality of the mussels
                  are good, it is just that the execution is not. The
                  sauces are poorly seasoned, have the wrong
                  consistency, etc. I would also advise to stick to the
                  mussels for an entree.

                  Hopefully, Belgo has finally hit its stride. I also
                  live in the neighborhood, and I was very disappointed
                  that the restaurant did not live up to my expectations
                  because I would love to have a fabulous place for
                  moules frites in the 'hood. So please report back on
                  your experience.

      2. The stand on Second Avenue and 7th Street does the fries very well. Make sure you pile mayo and red onions on them!