Where to begin? Let's go to Point Brugge in Point Breeze for some Belgian cuisine. Yes, I said Belgian, and I don't mean waffles. And apparently, I don't really mean Belgian cuisine either, maybe just beer this time...
What makes Point Brugge so cool is that its tucked away on a residential street in a quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood. Funny thing, when IPA-hole and I lived in this end of the city so many moons ago, we always talked about going here and never made it. Now I've been invited by a few friends for a great birthday dinner. IPA-hole is jealous.
The place is absolutely packed. We're there early enough and can't move. The restaurant is small, and people are everywhere. We saw some local newscasters enjoying a meal while we were there, if that adds any credibility. Its on a residential street, tucked away from the world. If you don't know what you're looking for, I promise you, you won't find the place. I drove past it before I knew that I had arrived, and I knew where to go. And that's what makes it so cool. People are hanging out on the sidewalk on a beautiful October night, chatting with other diners, really bringing that local identity to the joint. We are all there to eat. Community, food, beer, dessert - ahh, dessert - what else do you want? A woman was sitting at the bar and had just ordered her dessert with her son as we enjoyed our pre-dinner cocktails and waited for a table. OMG - pumpkin cake something or other. I brought one home for IPA-hole and I am now disappointed with myself for not taking a picture of this divine endeavour.
There are only three of us, luckily, because there is no way the usual 8 or 9 were going to have any chance at snagging a table. Vegahimsa, Chickie, and I scored a little mosaic table in the middle of the hustle, and the atmosphere is just buzzing. It kinda feels like we're hanging out on an awesome patio, and then they're going to bring us food. And beer. Great beer selection, Belgian style dominated, of course - my favorite. I'm not sure how the beer board stacks up during other times of the year, but they had some seasonal greats waiting for us.
So after staring at the menu and chatting, we came to the conclusion that we were going to need to do small plates and share, and bail out on formal dinner. You would think that this would be slightly challenging when out with Vegahimsa, but she tends to open us up to things we wouldn't have normally chosen without her. So here's the lineup:
~ Cheese Board
~ Mediterranean Platter *Big Fat Winner
~ Crab Cakes
~ Chicken Skewers
~ Mango & Tofu
~ Macaroni Gratin
~ Brugge Frites
This, friends, is my favorite way to eat. You aren't limited to the food on your own plate - everything is there to share and you get to try so much more! First out was the Cheese Board and the Mediterranean Platter. Cheese board was good, nice tasting of some different cheeses. I'm sure the selection changes constantly, and this board's size & variety is a great way to start a meal - a true appetizer to get you started. The peppers, nuts, and figs in the middle provided perfect balance. Have to note the figs, they popped up in a couple of places and they added just a perfect sweet to the plate. At the same time comes the Mediterranean Platter. Yes, big fat winner. The red pepper walnut dip was tremendous! It was a little sweet and a lot of savory. The garlic hummus was delicious, and also on this plate were olives, tomatoes, cucumber, and flatbread, of course, for dipping. The picture doesn't do justice, it was so fresh and tasty, we probably could have just had this and chatted all night. But as always, we overindulge, so there was more coming...
Crab cakes & chicken skewers were tasty, but nothing to revisit or even talk about. Vegahimsa ends up including tofu dishes most of the time. Chickie and I, if left to our own devices, would never even consider ordering such a thing. So here comes Mango & Tofu - sweet and different. Well, maybe its normal for tofu, but different for those of us who don't have it very often.
Macaroni Gratin = big kid mac & cheese. This has a great blend of cheeses: Gruyere, Parmesan, & Cheddar. Not gooey cheesy, but cheesy cheesy. I think we were so happy with the first two plates, we were bored once we got to the rest. Brugge Frites are french fries. For some reason, both Chickie and I read the menu to be sweet potato, not regular potato. No idea how we got there, I've read the menu over and over to try to figure out why it registered that way for both of us with no collaboration. No clue. The little gem here was the basil mayonnaise. Basil gave it a bit of light, fresh flavor that went great with the twice fried frites.
All in all, Point Brugge has got a very cool vibe, that we were definitely in to. I am kicking myself for hopping over the Belgian food on the main menu. That was kinda dumb considering we went to the Belgian restaurant. I think we'll have to go again, skip all the apps (except the Mediterranean), and dive into the meat of the menu.
Thanks again for dinner, ladies.