Thursday, March 22, 2007

Restaurant Chez Marie

One thing I've noticed about restaurants in Brussels is the large disparity in lunch and dinner prices. Case in point: Marie, a one-star restaurant in the Ixelles neighborhood. Their 4-course dinner menu is 56€, but their 2-course lunch menu is only 17€. Can you guess which one I'm going to blog about?

It goes without saying that the 17€ lunch menu is a steal. Luckily for me, on the day we went, both the appetizer and the main dish were dishes I would have probably picked anyway. We started with the Brandade de Morue, which was topped with a tomato puree and encircled by an herbed olive oil sauce. I've only had this dish once before, at l'ami jean, and this one was much better because it managed to capture the flavor of the cod without being too salty or fishy. I finished every bite.

The main dish was dorade, served with mashed potatoes, carrots, and fresh pear slivers, and a shellfish-based sauce:
The fish was excellent, the mashed potatoes were excellent, the carrots were great, the fresh pear was a strange touch, and I didn't really like the sauce. But that doesn't mean much - I don't like lobster bisque and it reminded me of that; the boyfriend, however, loved it, and sopped up every drop.

Though dessert wasn't included in the menu, I told the boyfriend that we would split a dessert. I chose the Meringue, with vanilla ice cream and served in a pool of warmed chocolate. Doesn't it look like it could be a cartoon character?Of course, sharing meant that I ate about half, and the boyfriend had a few tiny teaspoons of the chocolate. The chocolate was awesome, and reminded me of Angelina's. I didn't even touch the meringue, but the waitress was so sweet and packaged it up for me to take home, and I am nibbling on it now as I write this. Doggie bags - who would've thought they existed, just an hour away from Paris?!

We had started with an excellent aperitif, the house version of a kir which was called something like a buguy (I have googled in vain and can't get the name right - anybody want to fill it in for me?), and shared a 1/2 bottle of wine (21€). The wine list is impressive - at least 4 pages long, in 10 pt font, and most bottles run in the 30 - 50€ range. They also have quite a selection of wines by the glass. As far as service, the two waitresses we had were sweet, and they adjusted the speed of the meal to the customers: while there were definitely some business lunches going on, we were one of the first tables to arrive and the next-to-last to leave.

Though the exterior is unassuming, the interior is very cozy. The boyfriend and I each had different impressions, facing opposite sides of the room. The left side is all dark wood paneling, with rich details in purple and gold, and reminds me more of a coffee house or lounge. The right side of the restaurant is covered in gilded mirrors and framed black and white photos, and gives it more of a brasserie feel.

Either way, we both loved our meal and we definitely got our money's worth. Damn it feels good to be back in Europe.

The full menu (click to enlarge):

Restaurant chez Marie
Rue Alphonse De Witte 40
1050 Brussels
Tel: 02 644 30 31
Closed Saturday lunch, Sunday, and Monday



The Late Bloomer said...

I love how you've been blogging about these great restaurants! I wish I had thought of doing this while I was in Spain... I'm just not used to the whole blogging thing in general yet! I keep thinking of things that we did that I wish I had photographed for posterity... Oh well. Guess I'll get more used to it eventually and start thinking of things I can really use for my blog.

But you have a really nice way of describing the scene and giving us a good idea of what the restaurant was like. Thanks for the details! That meal looks wonderful...

P.S. ~ I just took my boy to l'Ami Jean for his birthday, and we really enjoyed it. I particularly liked my entrée, which was a sort of soupe/crème de cresson -- fab! -- as well as my dessert. The waiter kind of pushed my boy to get the riz au lait as his dessert (I'm personally not a fan of this dessert) and it was HUGE! Enough for three people...

Etienne said...

Aw thanks! I'm glad you had a great time at l'ami jean.

Anonymous said...

Hello, the name of the pink sweet wine, like a kir, is Bugey Cerdon.
Did you return these days ?
Thanks for the comment....Aurore