I haven’t been since my last experience last summer (not positive). I really don’t get how oxygen thieves in the media keep writing how wonderful this place is. I am at a loss. Sure the space is nice, service is decent, but the food is wayyyy overpriced and generally isn’t good. Our first mussel was spit out as it was rancid. How does a kitchen serve BAD mussels at $22 a pop? It’s not like you can miss that distinctive eau de poop is it? Wow. Then comes the Leffe Braised BBQ rib appetizer ($15)….it should be called road kill because that’s what the pieces of meat looked like. Boiled meat drenched in bad sauce…yum. At this point I am ready to leave but Fred sucks it up and crazily orders the Lemon Lobster Risotto ($8) from the a la carte menu…to my amazement it is good and given the other prices of this place how it only costs $8 surprises me. Other than having a nice selection of expensive beers and a really good front of the house guy in James Belcher I can’t see why media think Belgo is so good. I must be missing something when it comes to their food but have no desire to spend any more money trying to figure it out. I’ll stick to the beer when the expense accounts are in effect.
The beer at Belgo is the only real draw for me, and then only when I'm feeling flush, as it's not exactly reasonably priced either. The atmosphere on the weekends, especially friday night, is pretty fun, lots of people go there and it's not all just the calgary-yuppified-energy-biz crowd, either. And they tend to hire hot french busboys (which I know has nothing to do with the food, but hey, it makes me wanna go back :P).
It has been referred to as the "Vickers Plan" for his group's restaurants.
1. Spend big $$$ on the interior
2. Hire girls who have a full frrequent guest punch-card from the plastic surgery clinic.
3. Create a lot of fanfare, and pull out all the stops for the media
and, this is the clincher
4. Consistently serve overpriced shite food to regular customers who chose to pad their expense accounts there based on steps 1 and 2 above
I would love to see an episode of Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares filmed here. Gordon would launch into full on cuss-ridden, screaming raindance after tasting there attempt at "food"
PS - The same goes for Wild Ginger and Chicago Chophouse. Oddly enough I've had good experiences at Ceili's and Zen 8, though Zen was pricy.
I agree with you 100% and Ramsay would have a meltdown for sure.
I have to admit I always enjoyed Zen 8 even though it was pricy it was worth it for me. The lobster roll kept me coming back and I liked the way they sliced their sashimi. Their tempura was great too. Now the fact that Zen 8 didn't suck might have a lot to do with the fact that they hired a lot of guys from Japan who understood the food well.
A little birdie told me they do a lot of their kitchen prep for Ceili's in the Belgo kitchen...
Not to mention how loud it is in there. We got a headache from dinner last time. Seated on second floor between the live band on one side... and the hideously loud speakers still pumping out canned music on the other. The acoustics just don't work in there for any type of enjoying a meal. Besides, I totally agree - it's way overpriced.