Originally uploaded by tbridge.

So, here’s the thing. I’ve only ever had mussels once. At Belgo Centraal. In London. I am told they are the best mussels in the world. But I am not a connoisseur.

Tonight, we went to Belga Cafe on Capitol Hill. It’s Restaurant Week, after all, making it a great time to try new places.

Unfortunately, the Restaurant Week entree was rabbit and crawfish, and what we wanted were mussels. Screw the special, let’s get the bivalves.

Mmmm… so tasty. We were sitting back by the kitchen, and I caught Bart, the chef, peeking over at our table to see what we thought. I grinned at him and returned my attention to my big pot o’ mussels.

Mussels are really not that hard to prepare- the trick is to buy good mussels to begin with. These were tender and sweet, with plenty of broth lingering in the bottom to soak the fries and bread in.

Now, this is a minor thing, but it’s a nice touch Belga Cafe has over Belgo Centraal. At BelgO, you have to order the bread separately, and for 2 pounds you get two slices of bread. WTF? At BelgA, as much bread as you need to soak up all the broth you want is included. Take note, because that’s the whole point of bread in that context, people.

And then there was… dessert. Five words: Chocolate. Mousse. In. Three. Colors. Dark chocolate, white chocolate, and milk chocolate. Wee little pots of each. Lisa had a dessert sampler, with a little scoop of passionfruit sorbet (does it come in 10 gallon drums?), the cutest little creme brulee you’ve ever seen, a miniature belgian waffle covered in chocolate, and a tiny pot of chocolate mousse. *drool* The special dessert was a flan/bread pudding thing with cherries and ice cream, which was rather like nirvana in a bowl.

The waitress informed us that their beef stew is one of the best things on the menu when it’s cold outside, so we’ll definitely be back to try that. That or the “waterzooie,” which is a traditional Belgian stew that sounded excellent if it hadn’t been so sticky outside.

But I’ll let Tom tell you about their Belgian beer…

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