[UPDATE December 2019: Taste of Belgium has CLOSED.]
Taste of Belgium (Facebook / @tasteofbelgium / Instagram: @tasteofbelgium)
59 Spruce St. (inside North Market) (map it!)
Columbus, OH 43215
Open Sun & Mon, 10a-5p; Tues-Sat, 9a-7p
Accepts cash & debit/credit
Vegetarian/vegan/gluten free? Y/N/N
Taste of Belgium is an old favorite that deserves a new look. They’ve been a mainstay of the North Market for sometime (read my previous review here, which highlights their very first stall). Since opening they’ve moved twice within the market, most recently as part of the market’s major rearrangement and renovation. With that move, Taste of Belgium updated the stall’s branding to match the locations in Cincinnati, where the company is based. (Side note: brunch at their Over-the-Rhine bistro is highly recommended.)
It’s been too long since I’ve written about them, so here’s another look. If it’s been a while since you’ve visited, you’ll notice their space is bright yellow. It’s easy to find, if the regular line of customers wasn’t a dead giveaway already. The new spot offers a small counter for seating, and the menu has expanded beyond waffles, crepes, and coffee to include bigger waffle-centric entrees and Belgian frites.
Of course, the classic waffle is still front and center. If you’ve never had them, prepare for a re-definition of the waffle. Okay, maybe that’s overstating it. But what we typically call a Belgian waffle is an Americanized version of the Brussels waffle, made from batter leavened with baking powder so it puffs up in the waffle iron and comes out crispy. (You can find some excellent versions from the Wafels & Dinges trucks in New York City.) Taste of Belgium serves Liege-style waffles, much denser and sweeter. They’re made with a thicker yeast-raised dough rather than a batter. If you ever catch them making waffles, you’ll see the batter is cut as a cube and pressed into the heavy irons. There’s beet sugar mixed into the batter, so the resulting waffle is denser and marbled with caramelized sugars. No toppings needed.
But a few toppings never hurt, right? The waffles also serve as the base for sweet and savory snacks. Like this: bananas and Nutella on the waffle. Big slices of banana, very generous drizzle of Nutella.
Or one of the big features: the waffle and chicken. (NOT chicken and waffles. Waffle and chicken. “Respect the waffle,” they say.) Take an already excellent dish and add a Liege-style waffle? It’s an easy win, especially when paired with tender fried chicken, hot sauce, and syrup.
Taste of Belgium is also a fully-fledged creperie, too, offering sweet and savory crepes filled with everything from banana/Nutella to cinnamon sugar and honey, to turkey and veggies. This is the Traditional crepe, with ham, gruyere, egg, and a honey dijon. The savory crepes are made with buckwheat flour.
You mission is simple: visit Taste of Belgium soon. I can’t visit North Market without snagging a waffle, but with the full menu in effect, it’s a solid option for any meal, not just snacks.