Dec 14, 2008

Nuevo: The Antidote To Steak-Frite Dining In Brussels

The bright orange sign and words ‘Latin Cuisine’ are a pleasant surprise, and something different in the brasserie-bordered Place St. Lambert. Owner Antonio has created a warm yet sleek environment with a menu inspired by his latin roots and the fresh ingredients and mélange of unique tastes have this restaurant exploring unchartered Belgian territory. Try the Arepas...a 'crepe' using homemade thick cornmeal 'tortillas' with a flavourful meat or cheese filling. The tuna with mojo (spicy garlic sauce) and yucca, and the chicken molé (a spiced sauce from southern mexico) are also a must. The atmosphere is as welcoming and, yes, I have to talk about the lighting. You know how obsessed I am with lighting. Here, the lighting is tame (unlike the prison lighting in most restaurants in Brussels) and flattering to an old girl with wrinkles around the eyes! Important, non? The brick walls and hues of orange, cream and black, with candlelight accoutrements gives Nuevo a modern loft-like feel and the live mariachi band on wednesday nights is definitely not a typical Brussels sound. My only complaint: not enough heat in the spicy dishes but Antonio confirmed the menu is geared toward a more 'Belgian' palate. (B for Bland) “Next time just ask”, he says, “We’ll turn up the heat on the spot”. Customer-centric service and good food? DIO MIO!!! Nuevo is the antidote to a brasserie style steak-frite dinner in Brussels, and the result: OLE! Rue Voot 12, 1200 Brussels. +32 (0)2 779 8426.

NOTE: New Year's Eve menu...5 courses only 45 euros! Mariachi band on Wednesday nights!

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