The Fat Belgian (Toronto) – I was in mussel heaven
Update – Unfortunately, The Fat Belgian is now closed. I hope you got to enjoy it while it was still around!
Prior to going to Japan with J, we met up with 2 other couples in Toronto for dinner. We had trouble deciding on where to eat. We wandered up and down Queen Street and we had difficulty deciding on the type of cuisine, the cost, and the atmosphere. Ultimately, we were between Hooters and The Fat Belgian. I am so glad that we went to The Fat Belgian. On a side note: I usually hate hanging out in large groups of couples. Something about it seems so… domestic. But our dinner was filled with intelligent conversation (Hilary Swank: hot or not? How do you “goose” someone?). Turns out couples nights can be good with the right couples…
These are the mussels. They are gigantic and such a good deal. We ended up getting 3 different types. The first was the Moules Napoleon for $16 (steamed mussles in white wine, caramelized onions, bell peppers, roasted garlic and spinach finished with Napoleon brandy and cream). These were fairly basic but the mussels were very plump, tender, and delicious. There was just a very faint hit of alcohol in the mussels that I really liked.
The second was the Fat Belgian Moules for $16 (steamed mussels in Dekoninck draft, toasted walnuts, leeks, Gruyere cheese finished with scallions and tomato concassees). The best mussels I have ever had. The flavour profile of mussels with walnuts and cheese was so amazing. It was so satisfying on the tongue and addictive. I kept trying to steal these mussels to our side of the table.
The last mussels we got were the Curried Moules for $14 (the perfect combination of curry and spice, white wine steamed mussels in a coconut cream curry sauce). These weren’t that great. The mussels were still fantastic and stood on their own but I thought the curry was a little flat in flavour and not as rich and inspired as the other mussels.
This was the Belgian Beer Ribs half rack (tender pork back ribs with a tangy, spicy barbeque sauce made with Abbey beer served with cold red potato salad) for $18. I didn’t get a chance to taste this but it was reportedly good.
This is the Braised Rabbit and Mushroom Risotto (Tender pulled rabbit braised in Belgian abbey beer in a wild mushroom risotto finished with parmesan cheese and 35 year aged balsamic) for $24. Again, tragically I never got to taste this but it smelled damn good. J said it was worth the $24.
This is the Summer Satays (grilled spicy chicken and soy beef satays served with garden greens tossed with fresh strawberry and Asian pear in mango vinaigrette. Finished with roasted spiced walnuts and sliced mango) for $13. For all the text they put into the menu, these were pretty plain. I probably wouldn’t get these again.
This is the Tomato Salad (layers of tomatoes and sliced Buffalo mozzarella lightly dressed with a balsamic reduction, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil) for $11. I didn’t get a chance to taste this.
We shared large plates of mussels with each other and drank belgian beers (I am a fan of Fruli myself) while talking about celebrities who were hot or not. All in all, a perfect night. I’d come back again for sure.
The Fat Belgian, 115 John St, Toronto, ON M5H 1X6, (416) 596-0000, www.thefatbelgian.com