Taste of Belgium Bistro: A Brunch Review

If you live in Cincinnati and have been to Findlay Market then you've had, at the very least, a sample of Taste of Belgium's delicious Liège style waffles.  And if you've had one then you know how awesome they are, especially compared to most of the run-of-the-mill "Belgium" waffles you find at most brunch spots.  If you're me, then you're lucky enough to have a partner who once he tries something tasty and gets it in his head that he wants to try making it at home (which happens all the time), then he spends hours researching online for the best recipe and techniques for that certain dish.  Yep, that's Antoine!  Well, when Antoine and I first tried a Liège waffle from Taste of Belgium years ago (from their Findlay booth) Antoine immediately set out to find the perfect recipe, which, as we found out, must start with pearl sugar.  Lucky for us, there's this little place called Jungle Jim's that usually have everything you could possibly need when it comes to unique ingredients.  After a test-run or two, Antoine was making Liège waffles like a pro...a very very dangerous thing.  As you may or may not know, Liège waffles are dangerously good.  Unlike their "Belgium" counterpart Liège waffles are dense and buttery with bits of pearl sugar throughout that caramelize from the heat of the waffle iron.  It's heaven!

Yet, as much as I love these little pieces of heaven, I still hadn't made it to their bistro on Vine St (which opened up at the end of 2011).  So, when my mom was in this weekend and we rattled off a bunch of different brunch options for Sunday I was really happy when she said, "waffles sound good!"  Like most trendy places that are popping up in OTR, I expected Taste of Belgium's Bistro to be busy and possibly a little uppity.  Sadly, it was a little more uppity than I think I can take...especially when I can have tasty Liège waffles at home (or even at Findlay) without enduring attitude and feelings of inadequacy.

We walked in a little after 9:30am (they open at 9am on Sundays), so there was a little bit of a wait, but not too bad.  When my sister went up to the hostess to give her our name the hostess, without looking at Michelle, said "I'll be with you in a minute".  Several minutes went by, two other parties came in and stepped up to the hostess station, and when the hostess was ready, what did she do?  She's looked right past my sister (who was standing right in front of her), and asked the next person how many in their group.  Steam immediately started coming out of my ears!  My sister let it roll off her back and politely said she was next and got Miss Attitude's attention.  And this is why I let my sister handle these things, because I would have gritted my teeth and "I was fucking next! Thank you very much!" and felt an intense urge to punch her!  *(FYI, I wouldn't actually punch someone for that, but I would definitely want to)

Anyway, we were shortly seated and, thankfully, our server was nice and waited on us right away.

I got a latte, which was good.  Not the most amazing latte ever, but it did the trick.

My sis got a chai latte, which was pretty tasty.

Silly sister, making faces for the camera.

There, that's better!

Michelle and Antoine both got the waffle n' chicken ($10).  It had really good flavor, but Antoine and I both agreed that it was a bit of a disappointment that the chicken wasn't the usual fried chicken you get with chicken and waffles, instead it was more like a chicken cutlet that you'd get with Chicken Parmesan.  Still the sweetness of the waffle and slight spiciness of the hot sauce made a good combo.

Mom got the waffle with fruit and cream ($5).

I got the waffle with banana and nutella ($5).  

I don't know, call me crazy or call me a cheapskate...but I don't know if I'm willing to spend $5 on a waffle that's barely 4 inches in diameter with some nutella and half a banana on it.  Especially when some of the servers and staff give off this vibe that they think they're the shit and you're not good enough to be there.  And when Antoine can make a waffle just as good, at a fraction of the cost, and I can stay in my pajamas while I eat it.  Not too mention that the wait can be long; there was a long line of people waiting when we left.  And seating is pretty cramped!  My sister was butted up against a pipe that was protruding about 10 inches from the wall and our table was so close to a high-top table that Antoine and the lady behind him (at the high-top) had to coordinate with each other any time one of them wanted to get up or sit down.

While the food was tasty, overall the vibe of the place left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  I'm not sure if I'll be eager to return, when places like Senate and A Tavola are so close and feel a little bit more inviting, albeit just as busy.  And as far as brunch spots in OTR go, I will continue to choose Mayberry's over ToB Bistro anyday!  Mayberry is anything but snooty and they're portions are very generous.  Plus their food is killer!   And as far as Liège waffles go, I'll leave it up to the Findlay Market storefront, because they're always friendly and inviting, or Antoine, because he won't charge me and he's cute!

Have you been to Taste of Belgium's Bistro?  What did you think?  Have you ever tried a  Liège waffle before?  Isn't it buttery/sugary magic?!

*Author's Note: Shortly after posting this, Taste of Belgium contacted me via twitter to apologize and track whoever it was that was mean to us and slap them.  Awesome!  Thanks for the personal attention Taste of Belgium, you definitely haven't lost me as a customer...your product is just too tasty!

No comments:

Post a Comment