Belgian beer in cozy atmosphere

Point Brugge offers a wide variety of European beer for customers to sample. (credit: Tommy Hofman | Photo Staff ) Point Brugge offers a wide variety of European beer for customers to sample. (credit: Tommy Hofman | Photo Staff )

One of the most exciting things about trying different restaurants is finding a hidden gem: a restaurant that locals rave about but is still obscure enough to retain its original charm. Point Brugge is one of those places. Located in the Point Breeze/Homewood neighborhood, the restaurant is modeled after the quaint cafés and bistros found across Europe. Although it has heavy Belgian influences, the menu combines a unique blend of dishes that gives something new to order every time.

By far the most popular dish at the restaurant is the moules, or mussels, which can be prepared in any of three different ways. The customers’ favorite is the classic sauce, made of white wine with shallots, hints of garlic, and a little cream. The mussels are full of flavor and the sauce adds just enough texture without being too overbearing. The moules frites come with Point Brugge’s famous twice-fried french fries. The extra time in the fryer crisps the outside, and the large, granular salt they are sprinkled with makes these fries impossible to stop eating. In a gut-busting move, the fries also come with basil mayonnaise for dipping. This combination of moules and frites proves to be nearly irresistible.

For those who are not fans of shellfish, the menu is full of a wide variety of different dishes to choose from. The roasted tomato and spinach dip makes a great appetizer for the table, and the cold celery served with it creates an interesting dynamic when dipped into the hot dip. The salted toast is also pleasing, as it brings out the full flavor of the dip and is sure not to disappoint. Chicken skewers show off the more eclectic side of the menu. Grilled over a flame and then marinated in a spicy peanut sauce, the chicken is tender and the peanut sauce gives a little kick at the end of every bite.

Over the past few years, the gourmet burger has challenged the country’s top chefs to reinvent a staple of the American diet while still maintaining the emotion of the hamburger. Point Brugge and its executive chef Kevin Hunninen have a burger to compete. This plump burger, grilled perfectly to medium/medium-well, was full of moisture and flavor. The Gruyere cheese, lettuce, and onions added crunch and texture while the basil mayonnaise increased the richness of the burger’s taste. Add a side of frites to complete the meal.

The restaurant offers both a lunch and a dinner menu. The lunch menu features smaller dishes, including the moules, as well as salads and a nice variety of sandwiches. The steak au jus is a lunchtime favorite for customers. The dinner menu includes most of the lunch menu, as well as a strong list of dinner entrees. The seafood waterzooi — a soup made from fish — and the carbonnade flammande — a Belgian beef stew — are constantly coming out of the kitchen to be served to waiting customers.

Besides the food, Point Brugge features a fabulous beer list. Most of the beer is imported from Belgium, as well as the rest of Europe, and it provides a great opportunity to sample many different types of beer. The Corsendonk Abbey Pale Ale is a light beer with a fruity flavor that leaves a pleasant aftertaste. The Leffe Blonde is a traditional Belgian beer with its sweet and rich taste. Anyone interested in becoming familiar with the various beers of Europe would definitely enjoy Point Brugge.

The restaurant is good for dates, for those who love to try new kinds of food, and for anyone else that can find their way to this location. Prices are reasonable and worth the value of the experience.