There’s a small shop off Magazine Street that is worth a visit. It’s Cloud 9 Bistro, and the reason you should check it out is the Belgian waffle. Specifically, the sort of Belgian waffle that they produce in Liège, Belgium.
I have not been to Liège, but I do have access to the internet and was able to fact check what I was told by the folks at Cloud 9 – which is to say that the Liège waffle is made from a batter that is more akin to a brioche dough than what you’d expect from a waffle, and that in Liège, they include “pearls” of sugar in the dough to provide both sweetness and a bit of texture.
At Cloud 9 the waffle iron and the batter are both imported from Belgium. You might think that odd, but the idea is consistency and while I’ve only had one chance to taste the product, I enjoyed it quite a bit. The exterior was crisp, and as advertised the interior was a lot more substantial than any waffle I’d had before. It came with small containers of fruit and syrup, but I didn’t feel the need to use either.
Right now the restaurant is serving a limited menu, but I’m told there are plans to expand significantly, particularly once they obtain the liquor license for which they’ve applied.
The location is one that doesn’t see a lot of foot traffic, despite the fact that it’s a half-block away from one of the busiest parts of Magazine Street. It’s not likely to be crowded, is what I’m saying; at least not until word gets out, and people start treating the place as a destination.
I am contractually obligated to mention my friend Patrick Van Hoorebeek any time I mention Belgium, but even were that not the cases I’d be happy to talk about his Bar Vin. It’s an oasis that’s only a half block from Bourbon Street, but feels miles apart.
I first met Patrick when he was running the front of the house at the Bistro at Maison de Ville, still the restaurant whose post-Katrina closing I regret the most. He bounced around a bit thereafter, but nothing seemed a perfect fit until he opened his own joint. He’s a pretty swell kid, and I recommend his bar if you’re in the French Quarter.