When they took over Chez Richard, an old restaurant in the Sablon neighborhood that kind of has that part-beer, part-sawdust Brussels’ odor about it, Sadri Rokbani, Mallory Saussus and Thomas Kok (who also launched Chez Franz into orbit), teamed up with Fanny Schenkel and decided that a Belgian bistro should remain… a Belgian bistro – with the exception of the terrace, which feels very Parisian. Around the wood-paneled bar, the crowd of cool young people and handsome oldies do what they’ve always done: down pints, gobble up fries, chew the fat, and carry on elsewhere. That day, perched on a barstool, we ate a solitary shrimp croquette with a sort of béchamel-bisque dip and a plate of tasty Ardèche saucisson, served with some swinging sourdough bread from the guys at Fine. What we didn’t order: American-style fries, frikandel with the meaty Richard sauce, a seafood platter (€27) with raw mussels, prawns and gray shrimp, whelks and oysters from Oléron and flat oysters from Zeeland, or the ginger, orange and chocolate lava cake. Sometimes, if we want things to stay as they are, things will have to change. // Toni Negroni
FEELING THIRSTY? As for the wine, there are some naturally dazzling bottles, like the Radice, a Sicilian orange wine from Vino Lauria (€7.50 a glass) or the Super B, an Auvergne red from Bouju (€56 a bottle), as well as casual cocktails (€11-14), Cantillon beers (Sang Bleu at €25 for 750 ml) and a sun-kissed Ardent pastis (€6.50 a glass).
PRICE: Breakfast €8.80, snacks €4-14, mains €7.50 to €20, seafood platter €27-35.
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