‘Top Chef’ has his own spinoff in B Too
Of course there are waffles, including savory ones stuffed with boudin noir or mussels.
It's easy to find Italian, Mexican, seafood and pizza on 14th Street -- and now Belgian, too. Or B Too, if you will, a restaurant run by Bart Vandele, the former embassy chef and "Top Chef" contestant who also runs Belga Cafe on Barracks Row. The newcomer is a gleaming, Scandinavian-modern temple of beer, mussels and waffles. A dozen Belgian beers flow from shining steel towers, ranging from pedestrian (Stella Artois) to complex (La Guilotine, Straffe Hendrick Tripel). A hundred more are available in bottles. Choose your seat wisely: Sit at the wrong end of the long bar and you'll find yourself in front of the griddles, barely able to resist the sweet, doughy smell of waffles topped with smoky blood sausage or finely herbed mussels. The bar in the basement, while frequently less crowded, has the charm of an airport hotel.
Go at happy hour, from 4 to 7 on weekdays, and you'll see a special menu with a rotating selection of half-price beers – a recent visit found Palm, Stella Artois, Hoegarrden and Gulden Drak for $3.50 to $5.50 – and $5 glasses of wine, plus a short menu of discounted food items. Pastries stuffed with potatoes and bacon and served with melted Chimay cheese ($6) and salmon waffles with a yoghurt dip ($10) are the highlights.
The rest of the time? I hesitate, due to prices: $12 for draft Delirium Tremens, $15 for a bottle of Duchesse de Bourgogne, $14 for a bottle of Le Chouffe. Everything seems to be just a few bucks too high: It's not hard to find Chouffe for $10 or the Duchesse for $12 elsewhere in D.C. And the bowls of deliciously scented moules start at $20, though that includes frites.
-- Fritz Hahn (July 12, 2013)