Sunday, July 26, 2015

B&D Burgers (Savannah, GA)

209 W Congress St, Savannah, GA 31401, T: 912-238-8315

B&D Burgers is a local chain of burger restaurants with currently four locations in Savannah, Georgia. They have been elected “Best Burger in Savannah” since 2001! Their menu features the type of dishes you expect in a burger restaurant slash sports bar, i.e. burgers, salads, sandwiches. However, there are many special items (e.g. Spud Mountain, Wagyu Sliders) and special twists (e.g. habanero jack cheese, fried green tomatoes). In addition to several signature burgers (and sliders), you can also build your own burger. You have choice out of different patties (Angus beef, bison, turkey, elk, bean), buns (white, whole wheat, pretzel, and gluten free), toppings (incl. feta cheese, guacamole), and sides (e.g.  “fry of the week”, applesauce).

I start out with Alligator Fritters (Market Price), which are small crispy deep-fried balls of meat with a odd, soft consistency and not that much taste. The dip sauce has a nice kick to it though. I then build my own burger: 1/2lb Angus beef ($11.99), white bun, Fried Green Tomato (+$0.50), Fresh Jalapenos (+$0.50), Applewood Smoke Bacon (+$1), and Smokey BBQ Sauce (+$0.25). I get it medium and it comes out medium-well, which is not too bad. Overall the burger is really good. Full of taste! The side of B&D fries is quite good too: hand cut, relatively thin, potatoes with light seasoning. M. has The Ellis Square with Turkey ($12.49), which comes with habanero jack cheese, Applewood Smoke Bacon, provolone, and fresh avocado slices. She loves it and says the cheese has a strong kick to it. Her sides are Sweet Potato Fries, which are also good.

VERDICT: 90/100
B&D Burgers is an excellent local chain that serves overall very good, but quite pricey, food.

The Crab Shack (Tybee Island, GA)

40 Estill Hammock Rd, Tybee Island, GA 31328, T: 912-786-9857

The Crab Shack is a Tybee Island institution, so we also visited during a short vacation. It is a huge, mostly outdoors, restaurant with an extremely relaxed, kind of redneck, atmosphere –official motto: “Where the elite eat in their bare feet” (this evening there were some bare feet, but definitely no elite). They serve mostly all kind of crabs, shrimp, and barbeque. They also have a rescue baby alligator pond, which is a nice idea, but it was a bit sad to see the guests annoy the little gators with empty feeding sticks.

As I don’t like seafood, I am going for the BBQ Sandwich ($5.99) with sides of Slaw ($1.99), Sausage ($2.50), and Cup of Brunswick Stew ($3.99). The sandwich is tender pulled pork with their own sauce, which is quite vinegary: tasty. The slaw is very basic, as is the sausage (which the waitress herself says is Hillshire Farm), while the Brunswick Stew is watery with a bit fishy taste. M. had the Half & Half ($21.99), snow crab and shrimp, with sides of corn and slaw. She really liked it.

VERDICT: 85/100

I guess you go to The Crab Shack for the experience first and the crab second. Don’t go for the other food.

KeyserFriet (Antwerp, Belgium)

De Keyserlei 54, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium, T: 02-330-442

KeyserFriet is a huge, relatively new, frituur (snack bar) on the Keyserlei, close to the main railway station. It is an odd setting, as it used to be huge retail store. They serve the main Belgian snack bar stuff plus some rotisserie chicken.

I'm getting a chicken burger menu (6.80), which comes with fries, sauce, and a soda. Everything is standard prefab: burger, bun, fries. Not bad, but definitely not good either.

VERDICT: 73/100
The only reason to eat here is that you don't have the patience to wait for the next Frituur.

Chef Stefan’s Food Truck (Antwerp, Belgium)

Theaterplein, Antwerp, Belgium, T: 0486-882-258

Chef Stefan’s Food Truck is one of the newer additions to the “Foreigners Market” (Vreemdelingenmarkt), every Saturday in downtown Antwerp, is Chef Stefan’s Food Truck. It is a small cart where Chef Stefan makes fresh hamburgers and wraps. As he has very little space to cook, it takes a while. He also does  catering and a few other, local markets.

I get Chef Stefan’s Classic (3.50), which is clearly inspired by the Big Mac. However, it is in many ways a perfect version of a Big Mac, i.e. with fresh ingredients, a real burger prepared on the griddle, and a special sauce.

VERDICT: 89/100
Chef Stefan does an excellent burger for Europe.

Vietnamese Loempia Stand (Antwerp, Belgium)

Theaterplein, Antwerp, Belgium

Every Saturday there is a huge market in the center of Antwerp, which is locally known as the “Foreigners Market” (Vreemdelingenmarkt), because of the many stands of immigrants. It also has a small stand that serves a couple of varieties of Vietnamese spring rolls with spicy or sweet sauce. Attached is a stand that sells Vietnamese rice and noodle dishes. I don’t think they have a particular name.

I get one spring roll (€1.10), which is thin and filled with meat. However, the crust is too thick and makes it s bit dry.

VERDICT: 82/100
It is ok, but you can do better.

Frituur/ Eethuis De Laet (Antwerp, Belgium)

Koningin Astridplein 39, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium

Frituur/Eethuis De Laet is a huge, trashy looking snack bar at the square in front of the main station. It caters to a broad variety of clients, notably immigrants, (Dutch) tourists, and local drunks (particularly in the evening). It has all snacks of a normal Belgian frituur (snack bar), but also various real meats, from spareribs to rotisserie chicken.

I get a small fries (2.30) with mayo (+€0.30). Desire the fact there is no Belgian to be found – this night the place is run by three nice Romanian guys – the fries are very well prepared: crunchy outside, soft and potato-y inside. The mayo is a bit too soft.

VERDICT: 87/100
Bit seedy, but remarkably good quality for a snack bar in such a location.

Snack Alice (Antwerp, Belgium)

Gemeentestraat, 2018 Antwerp, Belgium

Yet another place with no trace online. Snack Alice is a rather new Moroccan restaurant close to the main station that serves both the regular options of a shawarma snack bar and more authentic dishes you will find in a Moroccan restaurant.

I get a Shawarma Sandwich (€5.50), which comes with a small portion of fries and a soda. The shawarma meat is classically spiced and comes with some lettuce and samurai sauce on an odd type sandwich, which is put for a short time on a panini press (but it isn't classic panini bread). Pretty tasty.

VERDICT: 86/100
Good option if you like a bit more authentic Moroccan food – although shawarma is also quite good.

Snack Delice (Brussels, Belgium)

Fernand Cocqplein 14, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, T: 02-512-02-66

Snack Delice is a small kebab place that serves a broad variety of traditional snacks (falafel, kafta, Merguez, hamburger) in mitrailette (baguette & fries), durum or pita.

I get a durum with spicy meat (beef) with samurai sauce, which is a bit chewy but tasty and quite spicy (I don't care much for the corn though). It comes with a side of fries, which are pretty basic.

VERDICT: 82/100

Pretty good kebab place though I would not waste much space (calories) on the fries.

IJsboerke (Antwerp, Belgium)

St. Pieterstraat, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

IJsboerke was established in 1935 and has been the Belgian ice cream company for 80 years. They have mostly been known for pretty basic and unremarkable ice cream, but they have recently re-invented themselves. Part of this rejuvenation is the opening of their own stores. In this store, in downtown Antwerp, you have the choice between some 20 mostly classic flavors, including some sorbet.

I get two scoops in a cone (2.90). The Sorbet Passion is fruity and fresh. The Banana is creamy but flavorful.

VERDICT: 88/100

Surprising good and very affordable!

Appolon (Antwerp, Belgium)

Oude Koornmarkt 47, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium, T: 03-689-98-99

Appolon is a relatively new Greek restaurant/gyros place in a street locally known as the “Pita Street” because of its many kebab places. They have a full menu of traditional Greek food as well as a broad selection of pitas. Although they have an excellent Dutch language website, the guy who functions as the waiter this early afternoon speaks no Dutch and hardly any English. He seems generally very unhappy to have to work.

I get a Pita Gyros (4), which looks to be made traditional style: thick Greek pita, onion, tomato, tzatziki, and fries. However, the thick pieces of pork are oddly seasoned, kind of paprika taste, and are mostly fat.

VERDICT: 80/100
Mediocre but filling and fairly affordable.

Fresh ‘n Fruity (Antwerp, Belgium)

Kammenstraat 19, 2000 Antwerp, Belgium

Fresh ‘n Fruity has been around for decades and was one of my favorites when I lived in Antwerp. They serve basic sandwiches and fresh juices. You have a choice between white and brown baguettes, small (1/4) or large (1/2), and all basic spreads of Belgian sandwich stores.

I get a large white baguette with egg salad. The baguette is thin, crispy, and airy and the egg salad is very mayo-y. Uncomplicated but very tasty. The juices are based on OJ and I mix it with grapefruit. Tangy and fresh.

VERDICT: 89/100

Best place in downtown Antwerp for an uncomplicated but tasty combination of sandwiches and juices.

Chez Bal (Brussels, Belgium)

Rue d’Arlon 2B, 1050 Brussels, Belgium, T: 0489-878-056

Chez Bal is a “Snack de Luxe” and “Quality Kebab Restaurant” that offers shawarma, kafta, chicken and burgers in wraps, Turkish bread, or as plates. It is quite small and seems to mostly cater to take-away customers (it’s close to the European Parliament).

I get Kafta (spiced minced meat) on Turkish bread with spicy sauce (4.50). The bread is toasted and light but crispy, the three pieces of kafta are perfectly grilled and covered in various vegetables (onion, cucumber, tomato, and corn) and with not too much Samourai sauce. Excellent!

VERDICT: 89/100

I was a bit skeptical at first, but this really is a “quality kebab restaurant.” I shall definitely return.