Brugge on North in Pittsburgh's North Side is the younger sister to Point Brugge and Park Bruges, two long-standing European style neighborhood bistros. Housed in City of Asylum's Alphabet City building, the space is unique and the food is comforting yet classy.
A Third Restaurant as Good as the First Two
If you know anything about the Point Brugge restaurant group, it's probably that they have fantastic mussels. This is indeed true. But what we think is really cool is that in addition to classic sauces like white wine and garlic, each restaurant location offers a unique curry sauce option. At Point Brugge it's red curry, at Park Bruge it's green curry, and at Brugge on North it's yellow curry.
Naturally our eyes and stomachs went straight for the yellow curry sauce. This sauce is flavored with ginger, turmeric, and fried shallots with a creamy coconut milk base. The sauce had a delicate sweetness and creaminess that was punctuated with fresh herbs and shallots. Although our favorite curry sauce is still the original red curry at Point Brugge, we think the yellow curry here gives the red a run for its money.
And of course, one of the best parts of ordering the mussels is the huge hunk of crusty French bread that is served on the side, perfect for mopping up the sauce.
One other mussel-related tip: you may be tempted to order the smaller portion of mussels, but be warned that they don't come with the Brugge frites. And you definitely need to try these frites as they are double-fried to crispy, addicting perfection and served with a rich tarragon mayo.
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It seems to go without saying, but the mussels themselves, which are from Prince Edward Island, are always cooked exceedingly well and are always tender and juicy.
Although the mussels are the star, and if you visit any location you will see heaping bowl after heaping bowl of them whiz by you, there are plenty of other options for non-mussel-loving people.
There is a good selection of appetizers and small plates, including various charcuterie, cheese, and meat boards. There's also a mezze sampler which a table next to us ordered- I'm pretty sure they noticed we were staring longingly at their muhammara, hummus, grilled veggies, baba ghanoush, and fluffy naan bread.
Instead as an appetizer we ordered the crab puppies served on top of a spicy remoulade sauce. The fritters had a stone ground cornmeal batter that, along with a great fried outer layer, gave the fritters an appealing crunch.
We decided we had to try another entree, too, and went with the chicken sandwich. This sandwich was topped with a jalapeno pickle slaw, gouda, and the house tarragon mayo, and was served on a baguette.
Although it was good and the gouda gave it a delicious funkiness, the most memorable part of the meal was still the mussels.
One note about the restaurant's space: it is in the City of Asylum's Alphabet City which houses a bookstore and an event space. This means sometimes there are concerts, poetry readings, film screenings, and more going on during meal service. Check out the event schedule ahead of time to avoid surprises or to plan your meal to coincide with an event!
Brugge on North is located at 40 W North Avenue in the North Side.