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For Another Piece of Belgium Just in Time for My Birthday: “Waterzooi”

I am nearing the end of my birthday week and the celebration is not nearly over. I was telling the truth in my last post when I said I am great at celebrating myself each and everyday. In fact I am contacted often for ideas about ways to celebrate and gift ideas ( It is a skill I wish I could put on my resume. 

I had a family event on the afternoon of my birthday in Long Island so I was searching for a place to have a private celebration beforehand. During my research I was reminded of a place I first visited two years ago that I enjoyed quite a bit; Waterzooi ( 

Waterzooi is a Belgian restaurant in Garden City, a neighborhood that has a significant sentimental value to me. I went to college in nearby Adelphi University and just being in that area makes me smile. Besides Belgian food is right up there with French and other European dishes that I constantly crave. 

I first was lured there with the promise of fondue. A dish that is literally melted cheese that requires you to dip bread, meat, fruit, and veggies into it? Are you kidding me?! I could not have dreamt up a better entree. 

The chef has said: “when we first opened in 1998, we used to have to educate people on fondue, and now it really sells itself, it’s definitely a party thing and all about sharing.”

Sure. That’s a nice aspect too.

But fondue and steak were items from my first meal which also was a dinner. Now I was here for Sunday brunch. 

Though I had this plan for months deciding what to order what significantly harder this time. I was debating my choices until the final moment. I would probably still be sitting there if I hadn’t been on a schedule. 

Finally I made a decision. I ordered a brunch cocktail; a white Belgian ale mixed with orange juice. Then I decided on having the lobster omelet made with fresh Maine lobster, asparagus, gruyere cheese and chives. It was served with pomme frites of course.

My drink was interesting. It had a very particular taste that took some getting use to but it was refreshing, not too strong or containing a powerful alcohol flavor.

As for my meal I was very happy with it. The lobster was sweet and did not have a fishy smell or taste, which is something I am always aware of when I order fish. The gruyere was thoroughly melted and blended in with the other ingredients. The asparagus added a crunch to the omelet and is not something I have ever tried before with eggs. The frites, well were frites. They were thin, crunchy, and deliciously  seasoned. The mayo like aioli on the side was probably the best condiment I have ever tasted. I wish they sold it. I ate just about every single bite on my plate until I thought the food was going to burst through my blouse. I absolutely made the right choices. 

My mother who was my brunch date, had the pain grillé Français (French toast)  served with candied pecans, double smoked bacon, and warm maple syrup. Sounds good right?

I took a small bite of the French toast and while it was good the candid pecans made it too sweet for me. I would have preferred it plain because I like the consistency and flavor of the bread the way it was cooked. In my opinion it didn’t need anything extra. But my mother enjoyed it quite a bit so that was all that really mattered. 

Last but certainly not least was dessert. While we were both full but I couldn’t resist trying a unique dessert once my waitress mentioned it; the rainbow cookie cheesecake!! I have never heard nor seen such a thing. For that reason alone I had to have it.

Rainbow cookies a.k.a. seven layer cookies, are a staple in any Italian bakery. They are always a crowd pleaser no matter where I go. I can normally take them or leave them but when mixed with cheesecake, one of my all time favorite desserts, I could not resist. Could you?

The slice of cake I was served would have been enough for four people to share. I didn’t care if I finished it (Spoiler Alert - I did). I just had to taste it. 

I am not a chocolate lover so the topping didn’t really appeal to me but the cookie layers combined with a simultaneous bite of the cheesecake and raspberry preserve on the dish, sent me directly to heaven. It was the ideal bite and one I could not resist until there was nothing more left on my plate. Between the surprise of the dessert and how good it tasted, this was beyond the perfect ending to another delicious meal in Belgium via Garden City. 

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