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Old 08-29-2011, 04:36 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,643 posts, read 2,880,889 times
Reputation: 807

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Brasserie Belge

Located on Main at 301 in Sarasota, this Belgian cafe is amazing.

First of all, while it is a brasserie, and, as such, is casual, I would actually say it is more smart casual. While it is OK to stop in wearing shorts and a t-shirt (nobody will look twice), I suggest dressing just a little better.

There is only one "all day menu," and that is perfectly adequate. There is ample fare from which to choose lunch, dinner, or latenight snack.

They have a separate mussels menu that looks awesome. I believe they had over fifteen different preparations. We're from Baltimore, so I don't tend to order mussels here, but I might need to head back and try either the one with leeks or the one in a dijon and white wine broth.

We had lobster croquettes as an appetizer, and they were AMAZING. Delicate, lightly fried, and very flavorful. No sauce was necessary at all. This appetizer comes with a very nice side salad topped with a perfect creamy light tarragon dressing. Great appetizer.

I had the beef tartare salad, and I could have been happier. Capers, delicious ground beef (on brioche toast), cornichons, boiled egg, and nice mixed greens. This was the dish that I lifted my red meat ban for, and I am glad I did.

Diana had an incredible dish called vol-au-vent, which is a very creamy chicken and mushrooms topped by a very nice flaky pastry. While rich, it stopped short of being too rich, and the chef really knows how to cook a chicken (I was beginning to wonder if anyone here really knew). GREAT dish.

Of course, I had to have the absurdly rich Belgian chocolate mousse. Do not be fooled: this is not your "light and fluffy" mousse. This is thick, rich, and delicious, and packs a wallop like three cups of espresso.

Naturally I had three Leffes with lunch. Yum.

Our servers were very polite. We had our (very well-behaved) baby girl Nina with us, and they were very accommodating and friendly, talking to all three of us very amicably.

Look at the menu. Every dish I saw going by looked excellent.

This is our new favorite spot in Sarasota. If you love food and want that nicely civilized feeling you get in a nice room being treated to great food by a polite and efficient staff, I imagine you'll like it a lot.
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Old 08-30-2011, 06:03 AM
 
Location: Palm Springs CA
442 posts, read 449,873 times
Reputation: 904
Looks great! Thanks for the tip!
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:16 AM
 
Location: SWFL
386 posts, read 860,973 times
Reputation: 177
Thanks for thr great information and review. It is going on our list of places to eat.
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Old 08-30-2011, 09:59 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,767 posts, read 15,037,473 times
Reputation: 9544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushmore View Post
Brasserie Belge

Located on Main at 301 in Sarasota, this Belgian cafe is amazing.

First of all, while it is a brasserie, and, as such, is casual, I would actually say it is more smart casual. While it is OK to stop in wearing shorts and a t-shirt (nobody will look twice), I suggest dressing just a little better.

There is only one "all day menu," and that is perfectly adequate. There is ample fare from which to choose lunch, dinner, or latenight snack.

They have a separate mussels menu that looks awesome. I believe they had over fifteen different preparations. We're from Baltimore, so I don't tend to order mussels here, but I might need to head back and try either the one with leeks or the one in a dijon and white wine broth.

We had lobster croquettes as an appetizer, and they were AMAZING. Delicate, lightly fried, and very flavorful. No sauce was necessary at all. This appetizer comes with a very nice side salad topped with a perfect creamy light tarragon dressing. Great appetizer.

I had the beef tartare salad, and I could have been happier. Capers, delicious ground beef (on brioche toast), cornichons, boiled egg, and nice mixed greens. This was the dish that I lifted my red meat ban for, and I am glad I did.

Diana had an incredible dish called vol-au-vent, which is a very creamy chicken and mushrooms topped by a very nice flaky pastry. While rich, it stopped short of being too rich, and the chef really knows how to cook a chicken (I was beginning to wonder if anyone here really knew). GREAT dish.

Of course, I had to have the absurdly rich Belgian chocolate mousse. Do not be fooled: this is not your "light and fluffy" mousse. This is thick, rich, and delicious, and packs a wallop like three cups of espresso.

Naturally I had three Leffes with lunch. Yum.

Our servers were very polite. We had our (very well-behaved) baby girl Nina with us, and they were very accommodating and friendly, talking to all three of us very amicably.

Look at the menu. Every dish I saw going by looked excellent.

This is our new favorite spot in Sarasota. If you love food and want that nicely civilized feeling you get in a nice room being treated to great food by a polite and efficient staff, I imagine you'll like it a lot.

I looked at their menu, the prices are not out of sight either. Will give it a try next time I'm in Sarasota. I have been known to get (real) "lobstah" and those Belgian chocolate cravings. Thanks for the good information.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:13 AM
 
15,123 posts, read 31,016,405 times
Reputation: 18221
We ate there right when it first opened. My husband grew up in Belgium (he LOVES moule frites!) so we had to try it out. I agree about the lobster croquettes, they were delicious, as were the frites. My husband liked his mussels, thought they were prepared very well; but they are the small ones, not the large ones that one can get in Belgium (not the fault of the place of course). Sadly, I did not like the vol au vent, it was just too rich for me, so will have to try something else if we go back. The owner was very nice, my husband had a great time using his French with him and discussing all things Belgium. The place seems to be doing well, and I think their mussels are probably a big hit with people coming out of the movie theaters across the street.
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Old 08-30-2011, 10:59 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,643 posts, read 2,880,889 times
Reputation: 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by gypsychic View Post
We ate there right when it first opened. My husband grew up in Belgium (he LOVES moule frites!) so we had to try it out. I agree about the lobster croquettes, they were delicious, as were the frites. My husband liked his mussels, thought they were prepared very well; but they are the small ones, not the large ones that one can get in Belgium (not the fault of the place of course). Sadly, I did not like the vol au vent, it was just too rich for me, so will have to try something else if we go back. The owner was very nice, my husband had a great time using his French with him and discussing all things Belgium. The place seems to be doing well, and I think their mussels are probably a big hit with people coming out of the movie theaters across the street.
Funny about the vol-au-vent; I went out of my way to say I thought it stopped short of being TOO rich. Maybe it varies a bit. I thought it could have used some fresh peas (which is a prep I have seen).

My beef tartare was fantastic. I know it's not everyone's favorite thing, but for those who enjoy it, it's great.

As for the mussels, as I said, I am accustomed to the very best, so I hesitate to order them. I thought the preparations available might offset the (likely) inferior product. I might still try them because hey--give me a great broth and some bread and a Leffe or Stella, and I'll be just fine.

They have two kinds of meatballs on the menu, which I thought was a little odd. Do you know anything about Belgian meatballs? Or, for that matter, the sausages?

I will be going back to try most of the menu, I'm sure.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:00 AM
 
Location: Sarasota FL
6,851 posts, read 9,237,302 times
Reputation: 6562
Saw 'restaurant recommendation' and thought 'please, not another pizza thread'.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:02 AM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,643 posts, read 2,880,889 times
Reputation: 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
I looked at their menu, the prices are not out of sight either. Will give it a try next time I'm in Sarasota. I have been known to get (real) "lobstah" and those Belgian chocolate cravings. Thanks for the good information.
They have an "express menu" that features several app/entree pairings for just $10, so yes, the price is definitely right.

As for the lobster, remember, these are croquettes, so will be more like, well, "lobster cakes," if you will.

So delicious, though.
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Old 08-30-2011, 11:10 AM
 
Location: Blue Ridge Mntns., NC
10,767 posts, read 15,037,473 times
Reputation: 9544
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rushmore View Post
They have an "express menu" that features several app/entree pairings for just $10, so yes, the price is definitely right.

As for the lobster, remember, these are croquettes, so will be more like, well, "lobster cakes," if you will.

So delicious, though.
As long as it's real New England or Maine lobster. Not those crawfish that look like large insects to me ...or rock lobster some places like to pass off as the real thing. I can't really wrap my mind or my wallet around any substitute. Spoiled rotten eh.
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Old 08-30-2011, 04:21 PM
 
Location: Sarasota, FL
1,643 posts, read 2,880,889 times
Reputation: 807
Quote:
Originally Posted by QuilterChick View Post
As long as it's real New England or Maine lobster. Not those crawfish that look like large insects to me ...or rock lobster some places like to pass off as the real thing. I can't really wrap my mind or my wallet around any substitute. Spoiled rotten eh.
Well, again, it is a croquette. The inside looks sort of like a mousse or even a pate almost. It is impossible to judge it any other way than taste.

I judge it very favorably.
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