On the off chance you need an icebreaker at B Too in Logan Circle, check out the restrooms. I won’t spoil the fun for diners who have yet to drop by the spinoff of Belga Cafe on Capitol Hill. Suffice it to say that the men’s room is dressed up with renderings of sausages, and the women’s room is an udder joke.
“Loosen up! Relax! Washington is growing up,” says chef-owner Bart Vandaele of his bathroom humor.
What took him so long? The Belgian-themed B Too was supposed to open last December: on 12-12-12, to be precise. But construction delays and a little interruption called “Top Chef” meant Vandaele, a Season 10 contestant on the Bravo TV show, which taped for eight weeks in Seattle, had to push back the launch until this month. (He was eventually eliminated for too-subtle seasoning.)
Beer, mussels and fries (call them “French” and the chef will correct you) get lots of ink on the menu, but B Too’s list is no mere copy of its older sibling. From the charcoal grill at the new place come dishes for two or more, including bone-in rib-eye and whole fish, and a bunch of new recipes populate the dessert menu. Of course there are waffles, including savory ones stuffed with boudin noir or mussels. The latter version wraps seafood in crisp puff pastry (and then the waffle) and comes with a refreshing salad of julienned celery.
B Too’s winning cauliflower soup promotes the vegetable with florets in three shades and a creamy, curry-laced puree finished with beer. Get extra spoons for any table mates to share. But the twice-cooked Belgian fries best the flat beef stew they escort, and salmon served with salsify and rhubarb is undistinguished.
The server recommends we finish dinner with “anything with a waffle.” B Too’s chocolate waffle with pistachio ice cream makes us glad we took her advice.
The restaurant’s design, says the owner, weaves “materials I like” — brick, cowhide and reclaimed wood are among the elements — across two levels to foster a “homey atmosphere” that he hopes doesn’t become dated in a few years.
Assisting him in the open kitchen is a chef de cuisine who, like his boss, hails from Belgium and whose name suggests it: Say hello to Thijs Clinckemaille.
1324 14th St. NW. 202-627-2800. btoo.com. Entrees, $20 to $28.