What not to eat: Belcourt.

September 2, 2008
c/o Citysearch

Belcourt, c/o Citysearch

Where: Belcourt (French/pan-Euro brasserie), 84 E 4th St

When: Saturday brunch, 1 p.m.

Who: Me and the boyfriend

How I found it: I’ve passed by this place a million times en-route to the bf’s casa, which is just around the corner. I couldn’t think of why we hadn’t tried it. I checked out the brunch menu, and it looked good, so we took the plunge. (We’ve been trying to branch out from our tried-and-true haunts.)

Review: Don’t be fooled by the cute decor or the handful of cute couples eating outside at cute dinette sets (Imported French furniture! So le cute!). Belcourt is one of those places that SHOULD be good — good reviews (for whatever reason), great location, nice service, cool people, good menu — but just doesn’t nail it. Or even swing the damn hammer.

The first warning sign was that the fresh squeezed orange juice didn’t taste very freshly squeezed and was an odd bright orange color, in contrast to the pale orange you see at better brunch places like delicious Corner Shop Cafe on Broadway and Bleecker (also trendy, but it understands food). Not sure if they chose a different type of orange (Blood orange, a la Dexter intro? Sorry — I’ve got season premieres on the brain), but it wasn’t a good choice, whatever it was.

Then the entrees. He took a simple dish: eggs sunny-side up, paprika potatoes (sounded intriguing), sausage and a little side salad (total, $9). I, a perpetual sweet tooth and lover of all things breakfast, chose the bourbon and vanilla French toast ($10). Not one thing on the boy’s plate tasted good. Burnt toast (like, charred burnt, like they burnt it on purpose, thinking someone might say, ‘Mmm, burnt, my favorite! I can never burn it like this at home!’) plastic eggs, hard, flavorless potatoes and a salad that tasted like it had sat out a few days and been doused in lemon to spruce it up. Um, and sausage that tasted like an unseasoned wad of ground beef. Mine was drowned in vanilla, soggy and just awful. The ingredients all sound good in your head, but the execution is unbalanced and overzealous and the food is just heavy and bland.

Rumor has it that, for lunch or dinnertime, the fish here is tasty, but I wouldn’t chance it. If you can’t cook toast, Lord knows what you’d do with the more finicky fish.

Bonus Material: The guy who owns this also owns Nomad across the street. Also looks cool, also tastes like an overambitious home ec assignment.

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