Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Belgian Beer Cafe

We kicked off our London trip with dinner at the airport. We were flying out of Newark's Terminal B, our first time there, which (like Terminal A) has multiple security checkpoints, limiting the meal options dramatically. There was a food court pre-security, but we wanted to make sure we were through security with plenty of time, so that left us with a choice between a Belgian cafe and an English pub, the latter of which also had a takeaway section with some really badly bruised bananas. Since we were en route to London, we chose the Belgian Beer Cafe. No need for an English pub in New Jersey if we were going to visit real English pubs in London.

We knew we were getting dinner on the flight, but that was a few hours later and we hadn't eaten a ton during the day as we rushed around finishing up work and packing and preparing for the trip. We ordered 2 entrees from the Belgian specialties menu to share, and tried not to pick anything too heavy in case the in-flight dinner was filling. Here's what we got.

Croque monsieur ($14): sandwich with Belgian Chimay beer cheese, smoked ham, grilled sourdough, hint of dijon mustard, served with crispy frites.

The croque monsieur was pretty good, but it wasn't what we expected from a croque monsieur. We were expecting something rich and decadent, and covered in cheese and bechamel, but it was basically a ham and cheese panini. The thing that made this taste a little different from any other ham and cheese sandwich was the inclusion of beer cheese, which we had never had in a croque monsieur before. It was heavier and saltier than other cheeses, but didn't really have a very distinctive flavor. The fries were really good though, nice and crispy. The sandwich was fine, but the fries were better.

Sausage plate ($16): Flemish style pork sausage with onions, dijon, gherkins, potato and bacon salad.

The sausage plate arrived with 2 pork sausages, small containers of ketchup and mustard, a couple of gherkins, some spring greens, and a good sized portion of warm potato salad topped with bacon. The pork sausages tasted like pretty generic pork sausages that we could get anywhere else, not a lot of seasonings that we could discern. The gherkins were sweeter than A was expecting. I didn't notice that but mostly just appreciated the freshness. We both agreed that the best part of the plate was the potato salad topped with bacon. The potato salad had a little bit of a mustard flavor. By itself, the salad was good, but the bacon made it even better, and adding some of the greens made it feel really light despite all the potatoes and bacon. Definitely the best part of dinner.

Overall our meal at the Belgian Beer Cafe was fine. If it were anywhere other than the airport, we probably would say that we wouldn't return because it was nothing special, but if we're in that gate area again with such limited options, we might go back.

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