Waterzooi Belgian Bistro - Garden City, NY
It’s Superbowl Sunday morning and my husband and I are trying to figure out what to do with the kids to get them out of the house before the game tonight. We always try to plan something that is fun for them and squeeze in something that we would enjoy as well. We wanted to go for brunch since we knew we would be eating lots of food at our Superbowl party. After brainstorming a little bit, we came up with the perfect plan – Waterzooi for brunch and then the Children’s museum for the kids.
Waterzooi opened in Garden City in 1998. The goal when opening this restaurant was to bring authentic Belgian cuisine to the people of Long Island. In order to achieve this goal, Chef Ed Davis ventured to Belgium to learn more about the beer and food that this country had to offer. Waterzooi’s menu is based around one of the most iconic dishes of Belgium – moules frites (mussels and fries). Waterzooi continues to be the only Belgian Bistro in Long Island and has served 2.5 million pounds of mussels to date!
The first time I went to Waterzooi, I was a little nervous about ordering the mussels. This particular dish has never appealed to me and every time I ordered it, the mussels would taste very fishy. Since mussels are Waterzooi’s signature dish, I decided that if any restaurant knew how to properly cook mussels, this would be the place and I decided to give it a try.
I have now been to Waterzooi over a dozen times and tried several mussel dishes on the menu. My favorite by far is the Thai pot- spicy lemongrass and grilled pineapple in a coconut broth. The broth is delicately sweet and does not overpower the mussels. I should also point out that the mussels are not fishy at all! All mussel pots are served with fries and the best fry dipping sauce I have ever tasted! I tried to find out the ingredients of the dipping sauce but the server told me it was a secret. I do know that there is a mayo base with garlic, lemon, salt and pepper - but could not find out the secret ingredient that made this dipping sauce so incredible.
If you are really against mussels or just not in the mood, Waterzooi also offers many other dishes. They have everything from an assortment of delicious hamburgers and sandwiches to more fanciful salads. One of my favorite salads is the Arugula and Duck Confit salad. This salad consists of arugula, duck confit, herbed goat cheese, toasted pine nuts and sun dried cherries in a framboise vinaigrette.
One of my favorite things about Waterzooi besides the mussels is the bread. The bread is freshly baked in house. This is especially important to my family because my son has a peanut allergy. Being that he is 4, it is difficult when we sit down at a restaurant and the server brings over a bread basket he cannot eat. The server assured us that there were no peanuts in the kitchen and it would be safe for him to eat. This is another one of the many reasons I love dining at Waterzooi.
Waterzooi books a lot of parties, so make sure you call before you plan to visit. We have unfortunately come all the way to Waterzooi and then were turned away because the restaurant was booked for an event. If you plan ahead, you can make a reservation on OpenTable as well.