Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Park Bruges

Last Saturday evening, we dined at a restaurant new to us: Park Bruges. As I understand it, Park Bruges is a 'sibling' or maybe 'cousin' to Point Brugge, a restaurant at which I have not dined because we don't think it is accessible. But Park Bruges is. It took us a little while to get there because of some traffic, but we finally got to Bryant Street, found on street parking, walked over, and were seated right away. I think we got the last available table, which was, conveniently, a table for two.

SP is not able to drink alcohol right now (taking a prescription medication) and I feel bad enjoying a cocktail if he cannot have one, so we skipped the beers and wines and ordered iced teas. This is the best iced tea I have had at a restaurant. I can't remember exactly what kind of tea the menu said their iced tea is, I think it was a Numi Organic tea, but it had lots of bergamot flavor, which I adore. Yes, bergamot usually means Earl Grey, but I know the description did not say Earl Grey, just an organic tea with bergamot. Delicious. Like many other restaurants these days, our server left a bottle of cold water on the table so that we could refill our water glasses as needed.

There are a lot of delicious sounding options on the menu. For an appetizer, we decided to share an order of Crab Beignets served with charred tomato remoulade:

These were served super piping hot, which is a good thing, it just meant I had to wait a bit for mine to cool a bit. These were crabby & delicious. Fried crab cakes.
The dipping sauce was charred tomato remoulade. To me, it was more mustard-like than tomato-like. It was tasty, just not what I expected. I expected a redder and more tomato-y sauce.
When I looked at Park Bruges' menu online, I was intrigued by the Tarte Flambee appetizer options. Not surprising, I seem to almost always gravitate to such an appetizer. The one with creme fraiche, sauteed onions, Parma rosemary ham, chives, and shaved cheese sounded yummy. But then our server told us about a daily special appetizer: tarte flambee with chicken, asparagus, goat cheese, and shallot dressing. Goat cheese. Asparagus. How could we pass that up?!
Tarte Flambee is a very, very thin flatbread crust. The toppings were yummy. Big chunks of goat cheese. The shallot dressing seemed to mostly be in the center of the tarte, so the center pieces were the most delicious. The outer edge pieces were a wee bit drier and less tasty. Overall, a winning tarte. Definitely big enough that it could an entree for someone with a smaller appetite, or shared by three or four people depending on how much one wants to eat as an appetizer. The two of us didn't really need the two appetizers we ordered. One would have been enough. Especially with our entrees.
SP has often mentioned that he enjoys the moules + frites at Point Brugge, but we never go because, as I said, we don't think it's accessible. So I was really excited that we could go to Park Bruges. I strongly suspected he would order moules - and if he hadn't, I think I would have killed him!!! He ordered the creole version: spicy creole with andouille sausage, peppers, onions, celery & crumbled Maytag bleu (he asked them to leave the blue cheese off since he doesn't like blue cheese). He said they were spicier than he expected and it was quite tasty and a nice change of pace, but he thinks he likes the shallot & wine moules better and next time would order those ones instead.

He also enjoyed his frites. I tried some and they were fine. As I've said before, frites just aren't my thing. But these did have a nice crispy crunch.

I ordered Sautéed Chicken Breast with tomatoes, onions, artichoke hearts & mushrooms in a light wine sauce with herb risotto:
This was delicious! It seemed like a great transitional summer to fall dish. It seemed light enough for hot days of summer and yet something made it also seem like an autumn dish - maybe the red wine sauce and mushrooms and tomatoes, sort of like the coq au vin we made last winter. I can't single one thing out, everything together was one happy delicious plate. I ate one piece of chicken and a bit more than half of everything else and took the rest home for lunch on Sunday.
We both were fairly full, but as usual could not resist at least hearing about dessert. There was a peach-plum-and something else galette, a shortbread cake with berries, a chocolate cake dessert, and the one we decided to try: profiteroles with hazelnut ice cream.
The ice cream was so good! The profiteroles themselves were OK, a little drier and tougher than I would have expected. But the ice cream and those drizzles of sauce were so good!

I really liked Park Bruges. I have read that it is more spacious than Point Brugge, but my first impression was that the tables were a bit close. This didn't turn out to be the case. Initial fears that we and the table next to us would be eavesdropping on each other proved unwarranted. Perhaps one cannot eavesdrop even in close proximity to others because the noise level does tend to get a bit loud, but not loud enough that SP & I couldn't talk to and hear each other.

I can't really comment on any crowds or wait time. We were seated next to the hostess station and I heard them talking about wait time, but since the accessible entrance is around on the side, I am not sure how many people were waiting in front for a table when we arrived/departed.

That being said, if there were people waiting, we didn't notice it because we didn't feel rushed by our server to quickly clear out so they could serve another party. Our server was very nice and friendly. She offered some suggestions on what to order, commented that she really liked the risotto in my dish, made sure our iced teas were filled, left us an extra bottle of water. She wasn't bothered by our lack of alcohol consumption (sometimes I feel that servers are not happy when you don't order alcohol because it keeps the bill and thus their tip lower, and I think they forget that some people don't or can't drink alcohol).

We enjoyed all of our food. Two appetizers, 2 iced teas, 2 entrees, and 1 dessert came to around $72 with tax/before tip.

We will definitely go back.
Park Bruges on Urbanspoon

2 comments:

  1. I"m SOOOO jealous!
    Point Brugge is my favorite restaurant in Pittsburgh, but I never get to go since 1) I feel awkward going to a restaurant by myself and 2) I have no money for said lonely restaurant experience.
    I've wanted to try Park Bruges since the day they opened, though. Everything looks awesome (and I agree, the moules with white wine & shallots are to die for!) and it makes me want to go there ASAP!

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  2. I want to get here for sure. Love moules and frites :)

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