Sunday, December 15, 2013

Belgian food at La Frite in San Antonio!

I love Beligum.  I went there for the first time in September 2008, when Bill sent me a pissy email after a particularly bad month at work.  The email read, "I think we should go see Mannekin Pis over Labor Day weekend."  We went to Belgium by train and had a blast!







We had quite the drunken long weekend, traipsing from Brussels to Bruges and back...

When we lived in Germany, we visited Belgium a couple more times.  It's really my kind of place.  Exquisite beer, excellent frites, chocolate, and smutty humor makes me want to go back again and again.  Unfortunately, San Antonio is not near Belgium…  or is it?

A few weeks ago, I found a review for a Belgian restaurant in the Southtown area of San Antonio called La Frite.  Remembering how much I love Belgium and its fantastic beers, I vowed that we would pay this place a visit.  Yesterday, I asked Bill if he was ready for some frites.  He said yes.  So we made a reservation for 6:30pm.

As it turned out, parking around La Frite is much more simple than we realized.  But we drove around looking for a legal place to park for about fifteen minutes before I finally went into the restaurant to ask. Apparently, on a Saturday night, it's okay to park at the United Way, which is located next door.  I don't know what one does at lunch time, but La Frite only offers lunch Tuesday through Friday (11:30-1:30).  Dinner is offered Tuesday through Friday (6:00-10:00).  On Saturdays (6:00-10:00), they only offer dinner and they are closed on Sundays and Mondays.  Dress is casual.

We were a little late for our reservation, which I strongly recommend making for a Saturday night visit.  It was getting busy as we were seated and by the time we left at about 8:30, it was positively packed!  The restaurant does have a small bar area, but it doesn't look like there are many places to sit there and, in fact, there's nowhere to congregate if you have to wait for a table.

This is also not the place to go for a romantic evening, though the interior of the obviously historic restaurant is very charming.  At one point during our meal, I commented to Bill that the noise level in the dining room reminded me of a school cafeteria!  There was a table full of teachers sitting next to us who seemed to be having a great time.  They seemed to represent teachers from elementary school to university.


The front of the restaurant...


Beer menu!


Bill started with a Kwak, while I tried the seasonal beer… a Wolf Christmas Ale.  These two brews packed quite an alcoholic wallop!  The Wolf was especially potent at about 9 percent alcohol by volume.  

We opted to skip starters because I knew I would want another beer and I had heard La Frite's portions were large.  I went with the batter fried lobster tail, served with frites and seasonal vegetables that included carrots, zucchini, and broccoli.  This was a very nice dish at $26, but what I really enjoyed were the dipping sauces.  There was ketchup, of course, and what tasted like a cucumber dill sauce for the frites.  The lobster came with a lemon beurre sauce that really made it great!  We ate bread and butter as we waited for the entrees.  Click the link if you want to read about why Kwak is usually served in a special glass with a stand.


I had already eaten some of this lobster when this photo was taken.  The first one I took before I started eating  was blurry.


Bill had a hangar steak, which was really good.  It was very tender and flavorful.  He also had frites and veggies.  

                                               

I enjoyed a Kwak while we waited for dessert.


Bill enjoyed a lemon tart.  All desserts are $7 and they had several to choose from.


I had chocolate mousse.  It was just the right amount.


Cool bistro mural on the wall...


That painting reminded me of anchovies… or sperm.

The menu had quite a few tempting options.  I might have chosen the duck breast with berry glace over the lobster or maybe the fruits de mer, which was served with puff pastry and a creamy white wine sauce.  There is also a prix fixe menu that was attractive last night.  It includes three courses for $39.  I might have gone for that except none of the three appetizers really appealed to me and I really wanted to try the lobster tail.  The waiter did say we could order parts of the prix fixe menu too.  Several unique entree options were available, though, that were specials for last night.


At one point, a group of festive bikers passed on their bikes, all lit up with Christmas lights!

We left the restaurant nicely satisfied and with a bill under $100 before tip.  I would definitely go back again, though next time, I might brave the moules (mussels) instead!  

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