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Restaurants

Brussels Bistro

Posted by Liora Ipsum / Profiled on September 20, 2013 / review policy

Brussels Bistro TorontoBrussels Bistro is a new month-old restaurant situated off Queen East from veteran restaurateur Roger Wils. When the new bistro was first conceived, Wils wrote a modern menu, "but, I ripped it up" he tells me and returned to his Belgian roots and 20+ years experience as chef and owner of the Broadview and Danforth institution, Café Brussels, which closed back in 2007.

Brussels BistroThe restaurant takes over from the converted house that was formerly Amuse Restaurant. Some of the interior walls have been knocked out to open up the space and sunny yellow paint brightens it all up. Oversized vintage lithograph posters hang on the walls along with framed Tin Tin comic strips and sketches. Tables are clothed with white linens and set for formal six-piece service.

Brussels BistroThe menu boasts classic bistro fare like the Confit D'Ail ($10) featuring cloves and cloves of garlic, slow cooked in olive oil and served over a round of Quebec-made Paillot de chèvre and garnished with thyme. Smearing it over the accompanying freshly baked baguette makes for an excellent beginning, though it should come with a warning: share with your table or find yourself eating multiple heads of garlic in one sitting.

Brussels BistroThere are 10 varieties of Les Moules ($19) that are sold by the kilo with twice-fried frites and house made mayo on the side. When the steaming bowl of Marinières-style mussels comes to the table, I am quick to declare my love for the metric system; a kilo is a LOT of mussels and they're notably plump specimens steamed in white wine with shallots and infused with the licorice-y notes of fennel.

Finally, from the En Plats, I try the Bouillabaisse ($36, lead photo), a saffron scented seafood broth surrounding an array of descendant shellfish including clams, mussels, prawns, scallops and tonight, lobster, which adds a richness to the plate that's entirely welcome.

Classic cocktails are available on request but the bar menu is mainly dedicated to French wines. I try a Les Jamelles Merlot priced at $10 a glass and am thankful for the generous pour.

Brussels BistroBrussels Bistro is open Wednesday through 'til Sunday from 5pm to 10pm. There is a second floor wine bar still in the works and the possibility of a rooftop patio that might take over the adjacent Cobbs bakery.

Brussels BistroPhotos by Morris Lum

Discussion

11 Comments

Chris / September 20, 2013 at 03:35 pm
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Ahh, I know that location. There was some fancy steakhouse type place that was in there before. The house was a Heritage House, and in typical Beach-NIMBY fashion they were getting all kinds of grief (including from the then Councillor, Sandra Bussin) about the renovations - probably helped speed up their demise.

I wish this guy luck - the Beaches are kind of a graveyard for fine dining
yawp replying to a comment from Chris / September 20, 2013 at 04:24 pm
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Its a graveyard for everything but sitting in endless traffic along Queen St.
Sean / September 20, 2013 at 05:42 pm
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After reading this, I plan to go as early as next week. Looks good.
RS / September 20, 2013 at 11:51 pm
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The lead photo is my idea of heaven in a bowl.
tnt / September 21, 2013 at 08:09 am
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This place looks absolutely lovely....compliments to the owner, chef and staff..
the lemur / September 22, 2013 at 12:20 am
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The food looks like shit.
king / September 22, 2013 at 12:30 pm
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Just went on thursday, food and service is horrible. DO NOT TRY. waste of money. confit d'ail was just a piece of cheese on a plate filled with oil and garlic - cheese was not even warm. And the moule and confit de canard were both tasteless overcooked and bland honestly. waste of time and money, if you want good french food le select is your best bet.
Ben / December 8, 2013 at 03:19 pm
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I went on a Thursday and the food was very good. But the female server upstairs was horrible, she did not know the menu at all, nor did she have any knowledge on wines except for hers. I will not be back unless I have a better server.
Martha / January 1, 2014 at 04:13 pm
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Visited recently with my partner and friends. Was rather disappointed not only with the food (mussels were not only undercooked but broth was cold...could have possibly been prepared for another table earlier and not served) but the gentlemen who I believe was the owner was rather rude to his employees in front of customers. Made myself and party very uncomfortable
sarah / January 2, 2014 at 02:29 pm
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My friends and i visted brussels bistro before the holidays for a nice evening out,and were very dissapointed the food was mediocre and the sevrice was horrible, the older gentlemen im guessing was the manager was arrogant and at times rude, he did nothing to really fix our meals and took forever to get us our drinks. it was obvious to us that there was not enough staff on to accomodate the clientel. we will not be back and we will aslo let our friends know as well.
S replying to a comment from sarah / June 16, 2014 at 02:28 pm
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I feel the same Sarah! Waiter was horrible. I will not go back because the waiter. Enough said!!

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