While walking around the Fairmount/Spring Garden area admiring the beautiful homes, and deciding whether we should live in a brownstone with all of it’s inconveniences (i.e.- lack of parking space), we stumbled upon the Belgian Cafe. A cornerbistro/pub in the neighborhood, it would be hard to find if we hadn’t literally walked into it. We decided to stop in for a beer and would later return for a proper meal.
We were both happy to see that our favorite Belgian beer was on the menu. We returned on the 4th of July wanting something other than street food stands at the parade on Benjamin Franklin. The restaurant was busy but we were seated right away. The server was very nice and attentive and immediately took our order. The Count ordered a tomato and chevre cheese flatbread as an appetizer and the portabello mushroom sandwich as his entree. I ordered the mussels and fries. After all, that is what the Belgians are famous for.
The flatbread was quite literally a flat piece of bread sprinkled with cheese and tomatoes and drizzled with caramelized onions and balsamic vinaigrette. I didn’t like it, nor did the Count. It was too sweet and the flavors did not blend properly.
My mussels arrived next. A huge portion with a pot covering it to be used for the empty shells. It was served with a side of crispy fries. The broth was what ruined it. It was too salty to the point that I had to drain each shell before taking out the insides. Usually the broth is the best part made to dip your bread into after the mussels are gone. But not this broth. This broth tasted like liquid salt.
The Count craved something on the healthier side. But the sandwich he ordered oozed with oil. The bread was most likely fried in butter. Each bite was oily. After a few bites he gave up. He moved on to the side salad, at least that wasn’t covered in oil.
I expected this place to be a traditional Belgian Cafe serving authentic Belgian food. Besides the mussels and fries most other items on the menu were typical of most continental restaurants (ie. hamburgers, sandwiches and salads). The quality of the food was lower than I expected.
It seems to be a great place for drinks and snacks since they have a large variety of beers and good greasy snacks. But don’t count on having an amazing dining experience. Go here for the beer not the food.