Point Brugge Café – Shadyside Neighborhood
I’m usually in the mood to try something different, and when my wife suggested Point Brugge for dinner I right away said yes! Then I instantly regretted it. She had been there a few years ago and enjoyed it, but I have never been and I started to get nervous as I perused the menu online. Their specialty was a delicacy I’ve never tried before - mussels. I briefly considered pulling a flip-flop but my ever-increasing hunger also instilled me with the confidence that by the time we would get served I’d eat whatever was put in front of me.
With my fear of the unknown mostly vanquished, we began our travel in an unintentionally round-about way to find the restaurant. I had thought Point Brugge was on Braddock Avenue in Regent Square, but that turned out to be the Square Café. After my wife shook her head a few times lamenting her assumption that I knew where I was going, she entered the correct coordinates into the dash GPS and we were backtracking our way to Shadyside up Penn Avenue.
We arrived and were fortunately promptly seated at a table on Pont Brugge’s slightly raised “upstairs”. I started with a Unibroue Don de Dieu (9% ABV - Belgian Strong Pale Ale). This was keeping with the try-new-things theme as it was a beer I’ve never imbibed previously. It was strong and tasted quite alcohol-ly, but I think that comes with any 10% ABV drink. The Don de Dieu was definitely the kind of beer that you don’t shotgun and follow quickly with another.
Aided by the gentle buzz brought on by just half the beer, I went full-steam ahead and ordered the Moules Frites (mussels and fries) with the delectable-sounding white wine, garlic and cream preparation. It did not take long for the food to appear and it was love at first sight when it arrived! The pale-yellow mussels peaking through their shells made for quite a beautiful plate of food. I felt even more special when the waitress told me that my meal was actually the last batch they were serving this evening. I excitedly started in and enjoyed every bite. The mussels were much less exotic tasting than my mind had conjured up and functioned more as a vehicle to deliver the delicious sauce. A big crunchy piece of bread came to help sop up the juices and clean the plate. The fries were good but not great, playing the role of Kelly Rowland while the mussels were most definitely Beyonce*. The pound and a half serving was enough to fill me up but not stuff me.
The atmosphere was nice and chill. The place was packed but didn’t seem crowded or overly loud. The service was attentive but unobtrusive and the prices were right where you would expect. I am running out of superlatives so just go there and eat already!!
Final Call: Highly recommended for any occasion whatsoever.
* The Microsoft Word spellchecker doesn’t currently recognize Beyoncé as a word, but I guarantee it will someday.