Following the advice of a couple of friends we decided to visit Elckerlijc, a grill restaurant in Maldegem owned and run by 2003 world champion in barbecue; Peter De Clercq. Seduced by the idea of a good piece of perfectly grilled meat we arrived with high expectations. Coming in we were swiftly led to our table. The dining room was spacious and had a “fancy” feel to it. We were handed paper menus which were supposed to be something like “gazette of the day” except it didn’t look like a newspaper it simply looked like a piece of paper and kind of contradicted the glamorous decor. While trying to make our choice we were constantly attacked by three flies, presumably what they were really after was the bowl of sausage that we found was on our table long before we arrived. The meat was room temperature and I don’t even want to know how long it was there and how many flies ate from it before we got a chance to. This restaurant is situated in the middle of nowhere with fields and farms all around, so I’m not bashing them for the flies, however, placing meat in room temperature with flies around is something that would disappoint me even if this was a roadside diner.
I started of with a “Lazy Red Cheeks” cocktail that was neither bad nor awesome. It was filled to the brim and it made stains on the white tablecloth. Mr. Eggplant had a gin & tonic. The gin was created by Peter De Clercq himself and Mr. Eggplant thought it was delicious. We then got a little amuse which was herring with… well I don’t know, I think it was literally just a piece of herring. Thats all it tasted like anyway. I didn’t enjoy this because there were so many herringbones in it that I literally couldn’t swallow a piece without choking. Next came the starters. Mr. Eggplant had grilled baby lobster with garlic butter (28EUR). He said it was well prepared and it tasted good. I had Polish beef tapas. And although the taste of the meat was very nice I was a little bit disappointed that all I got for 18EUR was a bunch of rolled meat (only one sort of meat on the board) ONE cherry tomato and five almonds. No extra bread or some greens or anything. As you all know tapas can be quiet salty so eating this on its own is not all that exciting. We asked for a sommelier to come help us with the wine choice. The waiter told us they didn’t have one but sent the hostess that showed us in to give us the wine choices. She was friendly but not all that helpful in making a decision, all she did was pretty much just read the type of wine it was. She couldn’t suggest what went well with our choice of meat at all. We ordered a bottle of Israeli wine to go with our meal (28EUR) and it did end up being very nice.
Even though there were quiet a few “reasonably” priced steaks on the menu we decided to try the more expensive types to see if there really was a difference between these and the ones we frequently eat at an american steak house that are way cheaper. I ordered the Wagyu (French breed, not the Japanese one) and Mr Eggplant had the “Mestiza” which was a Spanish breed. Mine came with a price tag of 114EUR and Mr Eggplant’s was 75EUR. So as you can imagine we were daydreaming of how awesome this meat will have to be. Also my expectations were even higher, since I still remember how delicious the Wagyu I had in Japan was and even though I knew it wouldn’t be as good I hoped it would at least come close. They offered to bring both steaks pre-cut on one big plate so we could share our steaks with each other. Good idea. We happily agreed and waited for the food to come.
It arrived and the first thing that caught my eye was the huge lumps of fat on the steak.Wagyu is fatty so I tried to ignore it. Then came a bowl of fries that I immediately saw were undercooked and with them a bowl of salad. Sigh. How innovative and exciting, a steak paired with bowl of sloppy fries and the worlds most normal salad leaves. Need I remind you how high this was prized?? This meat better be the best thing I ever ate, I thought to myself grumpily. Well, it wasn’t. The first thing that hit my pallet was how extremely salty this was. Salty and oh-so-greasy. So much so, in fact, that I literally began to feel queasy after a few bites. There were moments when I was chewing on lumps of fat so big it activated my gag reflex. This tasted nothing like the Wagyu we had in Japan and was possibly the biggest disappointment in my entire life. Especially coming from a world champion in barbecue. How dare you serve this to people and ask 114EUR? The cold wilted fries didn’t offer any comfort either. Mr Eggplant’s steak was a tad better, but not overwhelmingly so. It was comparable to the 30EUR steaks in another steakhouse that also has better fries and normal freaking prices. (Boondocks, Wichelen).
This restaurant prides itself in its self-grown produce, 20 different breeds of cattle, and a passion for barbecue. They make it look on the menu as if you’re getting a good deal paying so much money for a good piece of meat. Wagyu is rated from A1 (poor quality) to A5 (best quality). The Wagyu steak served at Elckerlijc was A2/A3 so we got the second worst quality you can get. We actually felt scammed by visiting this place. On the Elckerlijc “gazette” it says that the price for 1kg Wagyu beef can be as high as 1000 EUR. This is true, but only for A5, not for the served A3 and especially not for A2! Price-quality was one of the worst we ever came across. The only good thing I have to say is that our server was fantastic, with a sense of humour and very attentive. He was the only thing that kept us from exploding and asking for our money back.
Baby Lobster: 28EUR
Polish beef tapas: 18EUR
Red Israeli Wine: 28EUR
Wagyu: 114 EUR
Mestiza: 75 EUR
Price (incl small dessert/tip): +/- 350EUR
This is what happens you f*ck a stranger in the ass!Book your frustration!
9990 Maldegem, Belgie
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