>> Brussels Bistro | Eat the World Los Angeles

Thursday, 14 May 2020

Brussels Bistro

BELGIUM 🇧🇪

[COVID-19 UPDATE: As of this post, Brussels Bistro is open and selling frozen sous-vide meals to prepare at home. They can deliver and have set daily pickup times for online orders. Find out more and order at their website.]

Before the world changed, Brussels Bistro was one of the most happening happy hours in southern Orange County. They now have two locations, one in San Clemente and the one visited for this article in Laguna Beach.

After happy hour ends, you may find the bar and most of the restaurant clear out, but it is just as likely that it stays vibrant, especially on Tuesdays when they offer all you can eat mussels, of which it takes eating more than 11 pounds to get close to the record.


Those mussels, also available in limited portions, are very satisfying and of course are always served with a cone of crisp fries. The moules marinières ($17 small portion, above) is bathed in a sauce of butter and white wine, as well as plenty of garlic, celery, and onions.

While enjoying this pot of mussels, two birthday parties got into full form, desserts were brought out with lit fireworks and plenty of singing. Along with the Belgian beers going fast during happy hour, it further cemented the place's atmosphere of joy and celebration. While there are plenty of couples that come here for good meals, a majority of the customers seem to be groups.


Bitterballen ($9, above) are fried balls originating in the Netherlands but also hugely popular in Belgium. These croquettes can have quite a variety of ingredients, while the ones here are served with minced beef thickened up with flour, parsley, onion, and pepper. It all takes on the texture of pâté.

The fact that these are a great snack for drinking is right there in the name. Bitterballen are a type of bittergarnituur, or "garnish for bitters." It does not take a taste for bitters though, as the balls pair just fine with a strong Belgian beer or possibly a glass of Dutch genever. No matter what you are drinking, the spicy mustard it comes with should never be passed over.


One of the more interesting and more rare offerings on the menu is served in another deep metal pot, this time full of meatballs made of beef and pork. Boulets Liégeoises ($21, above) take their name from the city of their birth, Liège. The meats are combined with bread and smothered in a gravy that is both sweet and sour.

Every once in a while you will bite down on an even sweeter raisin, a wonderful balance to savory bites. Get ready to eat more fries because this comes served with them as well. And when you are bad-mouthing the (100% factually correct) folks that are dipping their frites in mayonnaise, do it quietly as not to offend.



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