Monday, March 30, 2015

B Too: A Slice of Belgium in DC

This weekend we went with some friends for a fantastic dinner that made me nostalgic for my time in Europe--specifically for Belgium. This place had everything I wanted from a traditional Belgian restaurant: beer, waffles and fries.

B Too is the second restaurant of former Top Chef contestant, and native Belgian, Bart Vandaele. I haven't been to his first restaurant, Belga Cafe, yet, but based on this meal I'll be making a reservation soon.

The drink menu is enormous, featuring every type of (good) beer you can imagine. With a dozen Belgian beers on tap, including one specially brewed for B Too, it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down. I'm a huge fan of Belgian beers for their sweetness and strength, so I knew I'd probably be happy with any of them. I asked the bartender for a recommendation and he gave me one of the best beers I've ever had: Kasteel Rouge. It tastes and smells like Dr. Brown's black cherry soda, but it will get you drunk. Very fun combination.

Belgian fare typically is not vegetarian-friendly, but there were so many fantastic-looking appetizers that we had plenty to choose from. Dan and I shared the pumpkin soup and the wild mushroom waffle. Both were AMAZING! The soup's texture was perfect: bite-sized pieces of butternut squash mixed with a creamy, cheesy pumpkin broth. I couldn't get enough of it. The mushroom waffle was as tasty as it was beautiful. I'm a sucker for mushrooms anyway, and this pairing was just perfect. The savory waffle was just a bit soft, which went nicely with the texture of the mushrooms.

Our friends left me a little jealous of their beet salad. It looked incredibly flavorful and fun, using a variety of cooking techniques to make crumbles, foams and more.

For the main course, Dan and I split the seabass with melted leeks and purple potatoes. It was, of course, perfect. To be honest though, the meat options looked even more appealing. Kim was debating between the venison and duck breast. Listen to the description of the duck: pan seared Hudson valley duck breast with speculoos crunch, savoy cabbage, mushrooms, winter carrots and pomegranate sauce. They had me at speculoos. She went with the venison and regretted nothing.

Dessert was tough. Which waffle should we choose? We went for the fried apple waffle with fresh apple slices, speculoos ice cream and caramel sauce. Our friends had the crème brulee with a bacon waffle. They said the bacon flavor wasn't too prominent, unfortunately. They didn't seem to have a problem finishing the crème brulee though.

Though this evening made me miss Europe desperately, it is reassuring to know that when I'm feeling a bit nostalgic I can pop in to B Too for a great meal.

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