If your heart's set on dining at Brussels' Belga Queen, you'd better make reservations. The new popular spot fills up, even on weekdays. They use a combination of gourmet and local/regional ingredients in traditional and innovative recipes. Dress ranges from casual to dress-to-impress. I was happy to be hosted to experience it!
The concept of the restaurant is by Antoine Pinto. His stated goal is to create getaway spaces which offer a gastronomic trip throughout Belgium.
I'm noticing that Brussels is getting into cocktail culture at a rapid pace; the sparkling aperitif isn't the only way to open a meal there anymore. Belga Queen's Premium Bloody Mary -- for example -- features Ketel One Citron, fresh tomato puree and spices.
Bread service comes with a premium butter.
Belga Queen has their own exclusive, local raw oyster that they serve (along with several others). I never did find out how they have their own variety of oysters, but they're deep-cupped, salty, meaty and more seafood-like than American oysters.
From their a la carte menu, I tried their "open" ravioli of King Crab, grated truffle, chips of horseradish. The crab was shredded and I had pictured something more like lumps. It was also perhaps more mild in flavor than I was thinking it would be.
They serve the Brussels waffles -- each part of Belgium has its own style -- which are crispy, adorned with chocolate sauce and whipped cream on the side.
Servers are dressed in this kind of Judy Jetson outfit, unisex and odd. That's how they want it! Sometimes the servers are attentive and sometimes, they seem to go AWOL.
The washrooms are the talk of the town. They are all glass-see through and smoke over when you lock yourself into the stall. Theoretically. I had a bad premonition . . . which was further fed when I waited behind some girl in line. Having hoisted a few drinks, I forgot the Roman gender signs and was waiting in the wrong line. The girl didn't care. Lots of guys seem to enjoy this whole system, as I learned in the men's room. It might be a new pick-up thing!