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Mussel Mania

Ride your bike to the Broken Spoke for some awesome moules frites and a Stella.

My first visit to the Broken Spoke left me wanting to come back. There weren't very many people there, but the vibes were good. The second visit is better. There are a lot more people, including a group sitting next to me speaking French, and the waitstaff seems to really care if I'm enjoying myself or not. I have the same waiter both times, but one of the owners is there and is attentive on the second visit.

I sample several other items on the menu, including the croque monsieur, a grilled ham-and-cheese sandwich that usually comes in a béchamel sauce (think cream gravy with a pinch of nutmeg — trust me, it's good). But the Broken Spoke doesn't use béchamel on its version, which leaves it kind of dry. I should have tried the croque madame, which is the same as the Monsieur but with a sunny-side up egg on top. That would have kept it from being so dry, as the yolk becomes a sauce when you break it withyour fork.

I try the onion soup, or soupe d'alost. I am not sure what the difference is between French onion and Belgian onion soup, unless in Belgium they put two tiny pieces of French bread on top with unmelted Gruyère cheese. I also try the moules à l'escargot, mussels in garlic butter sauce (no snails). Baked on the half shell and covered with lots of garlic and butter, these turn out to be very tasty. I even soak up the butter garlic sauce with my industrial bread.

Chase your mussels and fries down with a cold beer.
Troy Fields
Chase your mussels and fries down with a cold beer.

Location Info

Map

Broken Spoke Cafe

1809 Washington
Houston, TX 77007

Category: Restaurant > Belgian

Region: Heights

Details

Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 11 p.m. Fridays; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturdays; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sundays.

Soupe d'alost: $6.50

Croque monsieur: $6.50

La Complet Belge: $24

La moule à l'escargot: $16

Crêpe Mikado: $10

1809 Washington Ave., 713-863-7029.

The Broken Spoke has a very impressive beer selection, with more quality than quantity on tap, including such brews as Stella Artois, Chimay, Firemans 4 and Maredsous. You can't go wrong with that. I order a Kwak, a Belgian ale that comes in a glass, like a yard, with a round bottom and a wooden clamp. This beer boasts 8 1/2 percent alcohol by volume — come here for the mussels, and stay for the beer!

Even though I am full of butter and beer, I can't leave without trying at least one of the desserts. I opt for one of the many crepe selections. Crêpes Mikado, crepes filled with vanilla ice cream then topped with Belgian chocolate sauce and whipped cream, are fine. The ice cream inside is rich and creamy, not melted. The chocolate sauce is hot, black and thick.

I will definitely be back, because I didn't get a chance to try the Broken Spoke Burger, which sounds delicious. I'll also return for more Kwak. And next time I'll arrive on a bicycle.

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