THE BITE: The first time I took my now wife out to dinner, we ate in some swanky restaurant in Manhattan. I had steak au pouivre and I can’t remember what the future Mrs. Bites ordered. But I do remember that she only ate about half of her meal. I was a bit concerned. It was our first date, the conversation was going well, but, had she lost interest?
As I finished up my meal, I asked her if she wanted to finish her plate or take it home. She said no to both. Now, I thought, she just wants out. “Shoot, this didn’t go well,” I said to myself and asked the waiter for the check. Before the words were out of my mouth, she piped in with “Can I see the dessert menu please?”
You see, the wife is a dessert person. Desserts are the high point of any meal for her. Me, not so much. So today when my sweet tooth started to ache, I knew I had to satiate it. I remembered the Liege waffles that Arbuz (1705 Sheepshead Bay Road) offered up at A Taste of Sheepshead Bay and I knew they would do the trick. When I first tasted a plain waffle without any toppings at A Taste of Sheepshead Bay, I was struck with the sweetness of the exterior and the almost malty like flavor of the dough. I was hooked. This is my type of dessert.
Belgium waffles, or Liege waffles are nothing like our American versions. American waffles are primarily made from pancake batter. Liege waffles are created from a complex yeast dough that is studded with pearl sugars and baked high on a hot cast iron specially-designed waffle iron. As the waffle is baked, the pearl sugar caramelizes on the outside of the waffle, causing an almost crunchy exterior with a light and fluffy interior. According to legend, Liege waffles were invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liege in the 18th Century as an adapation of the brioche bread dough.
With the addition of the pearl sugar, you would think that the Liege waffles would be overly sweet, but they’re not. They are good on their own, but the real magic of the waffle is it makes a great base for other foods. They can be topped with sweet or savory ingredients and they still shine.
Arbuz’s Original Leige Waffles ($3.75) are topped with a chocolate sauce and whipped cream. You are offered a choice of dark or milk chocolate sauce, and I recommend that you choose the dark. It’s the perfect foil for this sweet, dense and chewy – but surprisingly light – waffle.
Good job Arbuz. I think I’m done with desserts for a while.
Arbuz, 1706 Sheepshead Bay Road, (718) 975-0099.
In the interest of complete transparency, Arbuz is an occasional advertiser on Sheepshead Bites. They were also a participant at last year’s A Taste of Sheepshead Bay. Arbuz was unaware of this review being written and neither party was compensated in any way for this review.
The Bite is Sheepshead Bites’ weekly column where we explore the foodstuffs of Sheepshead Bay. Each week we check out a different offering from one of the many restaurants, delis, food carts, bakeries, butchers, fish mongers, or grocers in our neighborhood. If it’s edible, we’ll take a bite.