Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bel 50 - CLOSED

Location: 738 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60654
BEL 50  on Urbanspoon

A Quick Word:
An individual that follows my blog recommended Bel 50 for me to try.  It has been on my list of restaurants to visit so I decided it was time to try it out.  Bel 50 is a cafe style restaurant that is taking advantage of the latest trend... WAFFLES.  Rather than serving them for only breakfast or only with syrup, Bel 50 has combined them with unusual ingredients to make a variety of sandwiches. That variety ranges from southern comfort to the streets of Europe.  The waffle sandwiches are incredible, but one big knock on the restaurants involves price.  Each sandwich is nearly $10 with tax/tip which is a little steep for the quality of ingredients (in my opinion) and also the size of each sandwich.  Plus, sides are served a la carte so get ready to fork out a few more bucks if you are craving tater tots.  The overall atmosphere of the restaurant is laid back and fun.  I was here with my brothers and we were watching the Steelers game, cheering with some of the workers and other customers.  There are so many positives for the restaurant, but when we spend nearly $50 on dinner without being full... it becomes a problem.  And that problem led me to giving it a lower, yet average rating.

Here is the menu... Click on it to zoom!
What We Ate:

Prosciutto and Brie

Remembering my days in Europe, I decided to choose the waffle that was more European-inspired since the waffle idea did brew there.  Anyway, my waffle sandwich was filled with thin slices of prosciutto, a couple slices of brie cheese, a caramelized onion and fig jam, and some fresh arugula.  The waffle was thin enough to be folded enough and did not have a sweetness at all.  In fact, other than the shape, the waffle resembled bread more than it did a waffle (same waffle used for all sandwiches and desserts).  This was the most disappointing waffle sandwich we had.  The prosciutto didn't seem like the meat I remembered enjoying in Italy.  It didn't even look the same.  The brie was sliced thicker than expected which gave a creaminess to the sandwich.  The fig and onion jam was AWESOME though which made me continue eating the sandwich.  I wouldn't recommend this sandwich, but I would recommend asking for a side of that onion and fig jam.

Buttermilk Fried Chicken

My little brother chose this twist on the southern classic chicken and waffles.  This time, the thin waffle is filled with a sliced fried chicken breast, a honey mustard glaze, and an apple slaw.  Overall, this was definitely the best sandwich of the night.  The chicken breast was only lightly battered and freshly fried, so it was extremely crispy.  The slaw was vinegar based, but the apples gave a nice freshness and the acidity also cut the fried aspect of the sandwich.  The honey mustard was nearly non-existent so I can't really comment on the flavor of it.  After downing the first half of the sandwich, my little brother decided to add some maple syrup to the sandwich which took it to the next level for sure.  It became that amazing balance of sweet and savory that everyone enjoys.  Not only did it taste great, but I thought the sandwich was the biggest and best "bang for your buck."

Braised Short Rib

My older brother went with the short rib waffle sandwich.  It was the same waffle loaded with a red wine braised beef, thinly sliced stewed onions, and a horseradish creme fraiche.  This sandwich reminds you of homemade beef stew with the waffle being the bread you soak up all that sauce. The beef was tender and well seasoned.  Unfortunately, the seasoning was so strong it complete covered up any of the horseradish creme fraiche that was supposed to be on the sandwich.  For the price, I still can't justify recommending this sandwich.

Parmesan-Truffle Tater Tots

Recently, I have discovered that everyone loves tater tots and more restaurants are starting to offer them as a side dish.  Unfortunately, this a la carte option is nothing special.  They are basically tater tots barely topped with parmesan and the truffle oils is overshadowed by the oiliness of the side.  Save the few dollars and spend it on a dessert waffle.

"Tiramisu"

The first of the dessert waffles we chose was the Tiramisu-inspired waffle.  For $8 without tax, you get a waffle that has been sugared and layered with a chocolate mousse, a whipped mascarpone, and a sprinkle of espresso.  If you are looking for a coffee flavored dessert, well then keep searching.  But, if you can look past the lack of espresso flavor, the "tiramisu" waffle is has plenty of chocolate and that mousse is extremely creamy and airy.  They are very generous with the mousse and mascarpone.  Definitely share one of these dessert waffles because it may be a little too sweet for some.  No tiramisu-pick-me-up from this waffle, but a sugar high is on the rise.

Creme Brûlée

After eating all those sandwiches and ordering a chocolate-based waffle, we decided on getting some kind of fruit on a waffle to make us feel a little healthier.  The not-so-healthy creme brûlée waffle was first caramelized with a coat of burnt sugar and then topped with a fresh blueberries and raspberries.  There was a nice crisp from the sugar coat and the berries did add the freshness we all desired.  I really recommend this dessert waffle but it will also set you back a cool $8.00 so just be ready.

Cucumber Water

I know what everyone is thinking... "Why would he take a picture of a plastic cup of water?"  Well, this is cucumber water and it is free and it is one of my favorite drinks, especially when you want to cut the oiliness of a meal.  The cucumber is strong flavored in their water so definitely try it out.

The DOs/DON'Ts:
DO:
- Definitely order the dessert waffles.  These are extremely pricey, but I think they are worth it compared to the sandwiches.

DON'T:
- I wouldn't be in a hurry to come try this place.  It is a nice change and keeping with the trends, but the prices are steep which is unfortunate.
- I don't think the tater tots are worth getting unless you enjoy normal flavored tater tots that you will probably dip in ketchup like usual.

How far would I walk for this food?




3 comments:

  1. If a meal like this will be presented right in front of me it'll be real hard to resist not to eat them at all. Well, I guess it isn't too bad if I eat and have a taste a little bit of those right? At least they are considered as "real foods." You know what I mean right? at this point and time it's hard to find well-cooked meals with no preservatives added. I think I'll spoil myself with this though I will definitely remind myself to go and do extra effort in burning the fats I've got from eating these yummy looking foods. Thanks for the suggestions by the way!

    Best, Belinda D.

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