The Broken Spoke, true Belgian – beer, frites, moules

In Austin The Broken Spoke was where we went country dancing, many years ago. In Houston Broken Spoke is the Belgian restaurant, up on the new best street in town, Washington Ave. It’s wooden, cozy looking from the outside, inside the wooden tables and jubilantly friendly atmosphere reminded me of the desert inn we stayed in near Joshua Tree National Park.

We had to sit at the bar, for even though it was a shade before 7, there were no free tables. We rearranged so we could chat, me with Therese, Dave with Rick. And we watched the servers, and especially the beer. So much good beer gets wasted when the foam is poured off. The motions of a busy bartender can be mesmerizing as he fills glasses, mops spills, adds accounts, pockets credit cards. I always wonder if our servers are full and nauseated at the sight of all the food, or hungry and covetous. My son who worked once as a server, said he was on the hungry side.

I wish restaurants would highlight the dishes that define them to distinguish these cared-for items from the boring things they have to serve to stay in business. If I know the cuisine, I can do the job myself, but often I don’t. I’m guessing that in a Belgian restaurant I should avoid hummus, even if it is called pois chiche. I should avoid Cobb Salad, and skip the bacon, lettuce, and tomato. No matter how well they do these dishes, they won’t be what I’m after.

I suppose Belgian cuisine might be the antithesis of the so-called Mediterranean diet. I think of red cabbage, stews, and beer, often in those stews. Mussels, fries, endive, chocolate, waffles – plenty good to choose from. We had meatloaf, red cabbage, frites and mussels, cooked with wine and celery. And it was all good, or maybe that was the beer speaking, the beer sampler my husband and I wisely split. When we go back we’ll have to try some of the other dishes, but this was a great start.

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Don’t even think about getting wine!

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Wonder what she was writing!

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I can’t resist red cabbage!

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They were good, but I like bigger, juicier mussels.

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Were we the oldest people there?

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I try to be discreet when I photograph in restaurants, but these celebrators wanted to be remembered!

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About Joan E. Strassmann

Evolutionary biologist, studies social behavior in insects & microbes, interested in education, travel, birds, tropics, nature, food; biology professor at Washington University in St. Louis
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One Response to The Broken Spoke, true Belgian – beer, frites, moules

  1. Sara says:

    Yummy! I miss Cafe Montrose (was that what it was called?). I may have to drag Tim into the big, bad city to try that place. Have you tried Max’s Wine Dive, also on Washington? It’s a wine bar that serves comfort food. I can’t remember what I got (we started with chicken tenders, which were really good….obviously homemade), probably due to the wine, but I remember it was delicious and I wanted to go back. If you get there early, around 5, you can get a great seat, but by 7 the place is packed.

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