Jump to content


participating member
  • Posts

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by HamHocksandCabbage

  1. Can anyone out there direct me to a shop(s) that carries a wide selection of Middle Eastern dry goods? Things like preserved lemons, zaatar, dried fava beans, rose petal water...the pantry of the Levant, essentially. Thanks for the assist...working on a moroccan themed dinner for friend's wedding rehearsal dinner.
  2. I'm searching for Scuppernong wine. I'm a Savannah native living in Seattle, and I am studying for my Sommelier certification. I'd like the wine for fun, memories, and for in-class tasting of a wine made from native slip-skin grapes (always described as "foxy" in character). If anyone makes this, knows someone who does, and would like to part with a few bottles (I think we can ship wine state to state now, right?) I'll buy. Also...I'll be in Savannah for Thanksgiving if anyone local has any to spare. Thanks.
  3. You guys are right about getting my post to the powers that be. I suppose it does the restaurant industry at large a disservice if we keep things confined to a message board. Thanks for the feedback, I will get the post anonymously to the restaurant, and I hope people will have better experiences there and share them....
  4. Thanks for the recc. I would consider it...but its kind of a sticky wicket. You see, as a member of the "industry" in a fairly small community, its bad to make enemies. And, I don't know if this sentiment would make enemies or not...my gut hunch is to just let it play out here and with other customers who are not personally invested in the Seattle beverage bizz.
  5. My wife and I went to Brouwers for dinner last night...Wednesday. Since I've been a member here at eGullet, I have posted very little and mainly observed. I feel compelled to share my experience at Brouwers, if for no other reason than to perhaps foster more interest in folks who will then go to Brouwers and URGE some improvements and/or have better experiences. Also, let me state up front that I work in the specialty beverage business (though I do not serve or work directly with these owners), have worked with Belgian beers for several years, and have been to Belgium several time for business and pleasure...if that makes me more critical, my apologies: First...there is no sign above the door. Perhaps this is intentional, but even realizing we were in the right place, my wife and I weren't 100% sure we'd found Brouwers until we opened said door. Once inside, there was no indication of what to do with ourselves...though plenty of servers were bustling, and several tables were empty and waiting. I had to stop a passing server and ask if we could seat ourselves...there was no other greeting or attempt to clarify in any other way. So...we sat. Once seated, we waited many moment for the appearance of our server, during which time my very patient wife said "gee...it'd be great if I could get some water", to no one in particular, mainly me, I guess. Once the server arrived, I asked what I thought was a very understandable question...you see, Brouwers has one of the largest walk-in coolers in the Western hemisphere, in which they stock their numerous kegs, and even more numerous bottles, the front of that walk-in basically forms the back-bar, and has several glass doors where the bartenders can retrieve bottles...knowing that bottled Belgian beer is the more traditional format for this type of beer, and seeing what looked like a great selection of Belgian bottles (50-75-100 types?), and having only a draft beer list on the table, I asked "may I see the bottle list". The response: "we do not have a bottle list. I reccomend that you go up to the bar, look and see what you want, in fact even the draft list is out of date, so you better look at the taps too." To my mind, with the seriousness of purpose that the owners have obviously opened Brouwers with, this is akin to having the Sommelier at Canlis say to a diner "sir, we have no wine list, please head back to our wine cellar, pick put what you like and let me know." It flies in the face of basic professional beverage service 101, beer or wine, and especially given the prices, which are steep, steep, steep, even for Belgian beers. Most of the Belgian drafts were $8-9 for a 10oz. pour. I realize the kegs are expensive, and the beer strong, but $9? For 10oz. of beer? Come on... I ordered a draft Maudite, a Belgian style Dubbel made in Quebec by Unibroue...one of my very favorite breweries that makes many bottlings of traditional and non-traditional Belgian styles. That beer was $7 (10oz.), a relative bargain. For my second beer, I downgraded (pricewise) even further and had a 16oz. pour of Dick's Trippel...made here in WA. and a palatable $4.50. And, now the food: I was in the mood for steak, which they were out of, so my wife and I both readied ourselves for Moules Frites, or mussels and fries, which as its been pointed out many times before on these boards are something of a national dish in Belgium. The choice of sauces was limited, but I opted for aioli, and my wife for chipotle mayonnaise. When two huge (half gallon?) stockpots arrived with lids on, we were excited and anticipated that rush of fragrant steam that comes with the unveiling. When the lids were removed, we were deflated. What lay within, in a tepid broth that took up barely 1/16th of an inch in pot-volume (normally, in Belgium, the broth is nearly as copious as the mussels, allowing you a veritable soup to drink and sop with bread after the sea creatures are all gone), was maybe 24-30 mussels...at $14 This was insulting. Here we are, hours from one of the largest mussel producing spots in the world (Penn Cove) and we get less mussels in our order than I have received in several neighborhood taverns at happy hour!...and they were lukewarm, and tasted far from fresh. The bread provided for what tiny amount of broth there was, was of the bad Safeway french-loaf variety. And, the frites... You know, my best friend has a theory about pizzerias in New York; when you try one for the first time, you get a cheese slice, no adornment, that way you can really taste the sauce, crust and clearly judge the merits of the pizza maker... Frites are like that in a Belgian idiom. If the restaurant can't make frites, time to rethink some things. And, they were cold, stale even, warmed by a heat lamp no doubt, not a hint of crispness, and on top of that, overcooked to the color of mahogany. The aioli had no taste of garlic in it...but did have chunks of something green in it (not aioli, in other words)..and the chipotle mayo. my wife had tasted of nothing but plain mayo. That was the bad. The good: cheese croquettes my wife and I shared as an app. were crispy, gooey, and perfect foil for strong Belgian style beers. The place is beautiful. Obviously, the owners took a lot of time and pride in transforming the space into a cave-like grotto with all the feel of old Europe in the faux stone work and art they used, while at the same time presenting a very modern space with great sight-lines, decent sound dampening, and a real showcase piece for the beers...the star of the show. I feel I am a really gentle critic. I rarely get upset at a restaurant to the point that I won't go back, complain to the management or do something direct. Having worked in restaurants, I feel a sense of duty to give them a break in nearly all situations. Even in this situation, we did not complain...it wasn't the servers fault...though in retrospect, I probably should have contacted a manager. Which is why I felt I needed to write this...the place needs to be fixed and fixed fast if last night was any fair indication. There are too many great beer serving establishments in this town, who also make great food, for Brouwers to survive as we experienced it...espcially when the proprietors are recognized as some of the most serious beer men in the Northwest (owners of Bottleworks). The beers, primarily the reason the place was opened, need to be presented in a professional manner and explained to a crowd not necessarily pre-disposed to understanding all the nuances of Belgian beers, and why they cost what they cost. If stock levels are an issue, as they always are with wine, then that's ok...most people understand when a hard to get item is out of stock, but a core list of what's available with explanations is needed pronto. And, the kitchen needs to take a hard look at whether or not it can survive sending out $14 plates of bad mussels, in miniscule portions, and terrible, nearly inedible fries. With all the money invested in the joint, I certainly hope the fixes are already known, accounted for and in process. As for me, I will not be back for a LOOOOOOOONG time. While I give them the chance to sort it all out, I know many places I can get good mussels, great beer and service, and a lot less dissapointment for my $63 (total, for two, incl. tip).
  • Create New...