On the island of Manhattan there must be as many types of restaurants as there are cuisines to be found on this planet. The obvious “French”, “Italian”, and “Chinese” restaurant concepts come to mind almost immediately. These are establishments that try to replicate the eating experience found in the restaurants of the particular nation. To my way of thinking, in the cause of accuracy, there is no way that there can be a “French”, “Italian”, or “Chinese” restaurant in New York City because New York City is not in France, Italy or any province in China. Nevertheless, the efforts of many folks native to those areas can be as close to the real thing as can be.
One of the less noticed, but interesting to both culinarians and beer aficionados, are two Belgian offerings.
The first, alphabetically is BXL East. This is a medium sized place with a representative selection of Belgian brews on draft as well as in the bottle. The ambiance is more modern than traditional and the theme that makes beer the star of the occasion gives beer drinkers a rather large range of choices of styles from most of the important Belgian breweries as well as some of the smaller breweries.
The menu features the variety of mussel dishes made famous by the chefs and cooks of Belgium. If you are interested in the actual dished featured the following link will take you there… BXL (BRUNCH) (DINNER) (MUSSLES)
Here is a 360 degree view of BXL East on a Wednesday afternoon…
The second Belgian-style restaurant is in a second incarnation. The first home for MARKT was the Meat Packing district of Manhattan, where it drew the attention of the late-night denizens of that neighborhood as well as the weekday shoppers and tourists. It should be noted that when MARKT was downtown I was a guest of the Stella Artois folks at beer-tastings on at least two occasions that I can remember. Their chefs and brewers were both informative and entertaining.
And then, for reasons not known to me they moved the restaurant north to the corner of 21st Street and 6th Avenue. What is interesting to me is how they managed to maintain the same configuration of bar, tables and wait-stations. In short, the move was location only. In almost every other aspect it is the same. However, it is worth noting that the Stella Artois folks are also still a notable presence.
Enjoy the visit to MARKT on a Wednesday afternoon in the summer…