Do you like beer and fries? How about mussels? Or single malt Scotch? If any of the above catch your eye, Brouwer’s is the place you’ve been dreaming of.
Located in an unlikely building that looks like a cross between a castle and a warehouse (and feels that way on the inside, too), Brouwer’s is a Belgian-inspired bar and restaurant in the Center of the Universe (otherwise known as Fremont to you non-Seattleites). We’ve gone many times (as have my parents) and are constantly blown away by the length of the beer list, the quality of the fries, and the astonishing tastiness of the merguez lamb burger.
On Halloween we stopped in for lunch, and as usual the place was deserted. I assume the bar fills up at night when the hipsters come out of the woodwork, but every time we’ve ever been there for lunch it’s been echoingly empty. And nearly pitch black, except for the odd tubular skylight. We sat ourselves in a dim booth against the craggy rock wall and amused ourselves with the drinks list (it has over 60 types of Scotch, not to mention a staggering number of bottled beers). As usual, I recognized almost nothing on the beer draft list and had to ask for suggestions – I ended up with an Elliott Bay Seasonal, the Hop Von Boorian I believe. Jon got a Boundary Bay dry Irish stout, which we haven’t seen around lately and is always excellent.
As usual, one of us had to get the lamb burger. It may be the best lamb burger in the entire universe. Don’t believe me? Here’s the description: 8oz patty ground in-house with spicy Merguez seasonings, topped with julliened roasted red peppers, chipotle mayo, and fresh mozzarella. Served on a fresh baked roll. Hoo yeah.
I had mussels there for the first time on this visit (I usually get derailed by the fish and chips, which are astounding). Moules frites being a classic Belgian dish, Brouwer’s offers three different versions on their current menu. I got the “winter mussels,” which were bathed in a cream sauce full of sausage and cilantro and I’m not sure what else. It was dark in there. They were tasty. In any case, I loved the presentation of the mussels, served in a large pot with a shell discard bowl fitted into it and a plate of frites perched on top. It felt like an occasion.
The mussels themselves were as high quality as anything I’ve ever eaten – fresh, plump and perfectly cooked. One order plus a salad would be plenty for lunch for two people (assuming your companion can be talked out of the lamb burger).
And the fries? They are, truly, astonishing. Every waitress I’ve talked to at Brouwer’s admits that she has a terrible time working around those fries every single day. They are just SO GOOD. Hie thee to Brouwer’s and try some, see if you don’t agree.