Thursday, July 07, 2011

Brussels' COMME CHEZ SOI is not comme chez moi and is not worth it as well (6-29-11)

Our last night was to be a grand Michelin star outing at Brussels'
famed COMME CHEZ SOI (, but alas it turned out to
be a nice night at dinner with little excitement and quite a large
bill. The cheapest tasting menu (which is way less than a la carte)
rings in at 87 euros (about $125) which I am quite okay with when the
food is excellent. We pushed the door open and it continued to open
magically on it's own into a small hall and up into a narrow entryway.
We were led to a cramped table around the corner in small room that
while beautifully decorated and with a great grand view through a huge
glass window in the kitchen, was quite uncomfortable with several loud
Japanese guys on one side and another couple on the other. I would say
this room hold no more than 30 and there is one small room as well as
a kitchen table, meaning a maximum number of 50 for sure at this hot
spot that had not a single empty space.
We ordered a bottle of 2007 Crozes Hermitages from GRAILLOT Clos ST.
Jean 1er Cru and we both thought it tasted a bit odd, but were not
ready for a we drank it.
Amuse #1 came in the form of a mille feuille tartare of beef and an
small anchovy-like long narrow crostini. Both were quite good and
three more amuses arrived on one plate with a Consomme, Salmon Tartare
and radish sandwich and Matjes Herring. The presentation was clearly
important here, but little love went in to the bread (at least the
butter was superb).
The menu was simple and served to perfection:

Madagascar bio shrimps with sage, herb salad, smoked eel, capers and
Espelette pepper.
The herb salad again had no love in the heavy vinaigrette. I loved the
fried Tarragon leaves in the eel.
A deep fried crayfish was also there and I felt it could have come
from a place serving seafood at any beach resort.

Duet of roasted and marinated salmon, vegetables with chorizo,
watercress coulis with Noilly Prat
This dish worked well, but the marinated raw salmon was only a small
spoonful. The coulis was divine and they returned with extra partway
though which was great.
We had switched to one of the highlights of the evening-2006 CHASSAGNE
MONTRACHET from Bernard Morey that was one of the best medium weight
Burgundy Pinots I have ever had.

Cockerel with templar pepper, ricotta with tarragon
came with ricotta quinoa and again a super sauce. This dish-meat,
veggies, quinoa and all was excellent but no revelation for sure.

At break time I noticed nobody folded the napkins when I
left....indeed this seems to be the norm in Belgium (that's for you

We opted to add the cheeses and boy were we happy. Will and I each
chose 5 and they were all quite divine:
ST MARCELLIN-one of our favorites on earth-creamy and runny
HERVE-a smelly Belgian runny delight (think Belgian Epoisses) that we
bought more of later in our stay
ST PERAY du BERRY Blanc a very nice goat cheese
MUROL-another tasty Belgian treat, but firmer and nuttier
TRAPPE d'ECHOURGNOL de DORDOGNE was like a Gourmandise with guts
DOREE de LATHUY was an earthy cow
FOURME d'AMBERT which as a blue Will liked and I was in shock

Crispy biscuit with lemon, raspberry ice cream and a Divine CHOCOLATE
LOLLIPOP made for a great dessert and a nice finish...but we were not
really thrilled or wowed, even after the Chef, PIERRE WYNANT's wife,
LAURENCE gave us a tour of the kitchen while we waited for our taxi.
We took most of the Mignardises home in a doggie bag and Samuel loved
the tasty macaroons, white chocolate, fudgy chocolate, jellies and