Named the “Best Burger of 2014” by Richmond Region Tourism’s Burger Beatdown, Brux’l Cafe has become one of the hottest new bistros in town.
Located between Virginia Commonwealth University and Carytown at 1731 W Main St., this taste of Brussels is a welcome addition to Richmond, which is being touted as the next great American food city.
“We love Richmond,” says Chef Xavier Meers, who opened the restaurant with his wife, Stephanie Danis, last year. “And we love beer and great food. So this is a perfect marriage.”
Inkandescent Radio had the privilege of interviewing the couple in August, right before their busy season began. Click here to listen.
And scroll down for our review.
Inkandescent Review: Brux’l Cafe, 1731 W. Main Street, Richmond, VA
1. The atmosphere: Adorable. And fun. Exposed red-brick walls serve as a simple backdrop to the 60-seat restaurant and bar. Belgian beer is celebrated on bright signs that add to the festivity of the place. Because the bistro is often packed with diners — especially on Friday and Saturday nights — you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a lively party. Indeed, odds are good you’ll start up a conversation with fellow patrons while dining at the bar.
2. The food: Truly delicious — especially those burgers, which are so sumptuous that diners seem to inhale them in minutes. The “Best Burger in RVA” award went to Brux’l Cafe’s truffle version ($14) — a mountain of ground filet mignon blended with a savory mushroom mix and topped with tomato, red onion, and truffle mayo. Sans mushrooms, the dish is $11. There’s also a crab burger ($13), which includes a large crab patty and is topped with tartar sauce, tomato, and onion.
If les moules and frites are your passion, Brux’l is the spot to order them. “Our mussels are prepared the Belgian way,” explains Chef Xavier. “We cook them in a traditional mussel pot — which we actually carried onto the plane with us when we came here seven years ago. And, we serve them with Belgian fries, of course.” For $19, choose from seven broths, including vegetable, white wine, curry cream, garlic cream, tomato and herb, blue cheese, and smoked gouda.
Les Mitraillettes — aka: “the submachine gun sandwich” — are truly giant-sized. Served with fries on a huge baguette and filled with your choice of ribeye, fried fish, veggies, or grilled chicken, this may be my favorite option on the menu ($12-14). And do try La Salad de Chèvre ($6 / $12), which is a perfect blend of greens and shallots, topped with baked goat cheese, honey, and thyme.
Leave room for dessert! Chef Xavier’s sister Karine is the pastry chef, and her homemade Tiramisu, Belgian Chocolate Mousse, and La Dame Blanche (vanilla ice cream topped with warm Belgian chocolate) are divine ($7 each). If you’d rather drink your dessert, try the signature Belgian Chocolate Martini.
3. The booze: Belgian beer rules at Brux’l. From classic pilsners to strong barleywines, there are 14 bottled options to choose from ($6 for Stella Artois and Buckler; $10 for Mostradamas and Kwak), plus six others on tap. The wine selection is European, and while being less vast than the beer list, it offers plenty of options. Try the the Klodic, one of the top pinot grigios in Italy ($10 glass / $40 bottle).
4. The service: Keeps patrons coming back for more. Chef Xavier and Stephanie Danis are almost always in the dining room to greet guests, making Brux’l feel more like you are dining in their home than a restaurant. The waitstaff is well-versed in all of the offerings and friendly without hovering. Bartender Jared Thrasher makes customers feel like they are friends and always offers a generous pour.
5. The price: Not cheap, but perfectly fair given the quality of the ingredients and the sophistication of the chef. Daily specials range from $19 to $26.
Inkandescent rating: Four bottles of beer out of 4.
Learn more at bruxlcafe.com
Address: 1731 W Main St, Richmond, VA 23220
Phone: (804) 355-3683
- Tues-Thurs: 4:00 to 10:00 p.m.
- Friday: 4:00 to 11:00 p.m.
- Saturday: 11:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
- Sunday Brunch: 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
- Happy Hour: Tues-Sat, 4:00 to 6:30 p.m.