And the streak continues! There’s not much to say about Brugge (pronounced Brooj) Brasserie except that the food and drink there are awesome! Easily in my top 10 restaurants to visit in Indianapolis, the Brugge never disappoints.
The Brugge Brasserie has a huge shaded outside eating area for when the weather is pleasant. The seating inside consists primarily of wooden tables with copper-clad tops and holes to hold the generously filled cones of Frites (French fries) along with some partial bench seating. A large round communal eating table surrounded by hi-boy stools is the center piece of the bar area. The indoor eating and seating area is painted a light eggplant and anything that isn’t painted or covered in copper is wooden, the bar area is painted a royal blue. The restaurant is not a great setting for intimacy, but then the Brugge Brasserie is made for socializing not romance.
Arriving after the main lunch rush, there were still some customers in the restaurant and bar. We found a seat by the large bay window facing north. The lone waitress was quick to offer service. Very personable, she was ready to give answers to our questions and her service was prompt even though she was also manning the bar.
There is nothing negative of note to report. The tables and floors were clean and the bathrooms sanitary. The plates and silverware were likewise spotless.
If you like generous servings and delicious Belgian food that you can’t get just anywhere, then the Brugge Brasserie is a fantastic choice. Belgians are famous for their love of Frites (my cousins used to entertain my sister and me with the latest Belgian Frites jokes when we were children) and the Brugge capitalizes on that fact. Everything on the menu, and I mean everything, is served with a serving of Frites along with one or more of the twelve plus sauces they make in-house. Although they are available in three different sizes; small, medium, and enorme (enormous), even the serving they give you with the small sized fries is enough to put me in a diabetic coma.
One of my favorite items on the menu is the Moules Frites (mussels and fries). They serve mussels in a baffling array of delicious sauces, each order is served with a nice chunk of “French” bread (a little too thick and soft to be real French bread, but what do you expect, we are in Indiana after all) to soak up the liquor from the bottom of the pot. Being a traditionalist, I’ve had mussels with the Belgian classic, Beurre Blanc, Provencal, and Citron sauces. Each of them is wonderfully delicious. I often order the extra chunk of bread for 75 cents so I can soak up more of the delectable sauce.
Another item on the menu competing for the rank of my favorite is the hanger steak. Growing up in France a special treat for us was a plate of Bifteck et Frites, essentially a pan fried steak seared at high temperature in browned butter served with a pile of fries on the side with the pan juices and browned butter poured over the top. So you can imagine I have a certain picture of what a Belgian style hanger steak should look, smell, and taste like and the one they serve at the Brugge is the bomb! If you don’t mind your steak rare, make sure you order it “bleu” to get the authentic experience!
This time around I figured I should try something a bit different from my usual go to orders so I asked our waitress about the Mitraillette (Literal translation: machine gun). The Mitraillette is an open faced French bread sandwich grilled under a broiler. And the Brugge Brasserie offers it in a variety of ways. She suggested the Duck Confit Mitraillette. For those of you that do not know what Duck Confit is, it is duck that has been slowly cooked (submerged) and preserved in its own fat. When done right the duck is extremely tender. You can pull it apart with your fingers and has an unctuous mouth feel. As an appetizer we decided to share a pickled herring salad. Jeff ordered the Moules Frits in the chili sauce.
The first item to arrive was the Herring Salad. The pickled herring was served in an over-sized wine glass on a bed of chopped endive and shredded raw red cabbage. The glass was set on a plate covered with crushed ice dotted with little nicois olives and petit cornichons. The serving was very generous and had I ordered it as a meal, I would have been very satisfied with the amount of food I was given. As it was, it was a bit too much of an appetizer even for two big guys. Still, the fish was firm, the endive sweet, the cabbage had a pleasant crunch, and the tangy slightly sweet sourness of the herring was both delicious and refreshing.
When our meals arrived, Jeff gave me his fries (lucky me!). My sandwich was completely buried in fries! So before I could even take a bite of the Mitraillette I had to work my way through a few dozen fries. For the two sauces that come with my fries I ordered the garlic aioli and the sweet chili sauce. My one complaint about the Brugge is their homemade ketchup. The flavor is, well, there’s no nice way to say it, awful! I’ve ordered it a few times, each time thinking that the last one I tried was just a mistake in the recipe, but I have finally given up hope and until they change the recipe I will order a different sauce/condiment. When I finally uncovered my sandwich, I took a bite and thought I had taken a little bite of heaven. The tart spiciness of the mustard combined with the unctuousness of the duck and the sweetness of the cherry and lambic, sent me straight to seventh heaven! I got goose bumps! I had never tasted that combination of flavors before and I was in piggy nirvana! Jeff had a very small taste of my sandwich, a very small taste because I was reluctant to share, and agreed that it was indeed tasty, although he didn’t have the same reaction I did. Jeff’s chili-sauced mussels were as impeccable and tasty as expected and the bite from the chili peppers was pleasant. There was so much food for me that I had to pack up half my sandwich and fries to take home.
I should mention also that the Brugge Brasserie is also a microbrewery specializing in Belgian style ales. I sampled two ales while I was there and enjoyed them both immensely. Here is a brief run down of each:
Triple de Ripple – A strong blond ale 10% alcohol, it starts sweet with a light kick of hops and finishes with a pleasantly bright citrus flavor.
Harvey Blackberry Ale – A crisp, tart ale with the light flavor of blackberry. It finishes very clean.
The Juicy Bits
What more is there to say? I think I pretty much covered everything there is to cover. Want a new adventure this weekend? Then look no further. The Brugge Brasserie never disappoints!
In summary: Great beer and even better food. What more do you need to know?
1011 E. Westfield Blvd.
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Tel: (317) 255-0978
Hours: Monday – Saturday (11:00 a.m. – 10:30 p.m.), Sunday (Noon – 9:00 p.m.)