I apologize for having fallen so far behind on blogging. Even though I visited Saus (rhymes with “house” but commonly gets pronounced like “sauce”) over a month ago, Boston’s first Belgian street food cafe was amazing enough that I still want to write about it.
I first heard about this place a year ago in “The Boston Globe,” where I get 99% of my food news, and started getting excited for Belgian waffles and frites. Soon after, I started following the owners (Chin, Renee, and Tanya) on Twitter so that I would know when they opened. At the time, they were slated to open at the end of April 2010.
The owners, new to the restaurant business after working together at a software company, encountered such problems as trouble finding a subcontractor to install the ventilation system and delays in obtaining permits. The doors finally opened on March 1, 2011. “It feels weird, very surreal,” owner Renee Eliah said of opening Saus at last. “The first week’s been awesome.”
The menu is built on a simple premise of waffles and frites, but the offerings manage to hit upon all of the current major food trends. If the three sizes of pommes frites ($4-$7) and eclectic dipping sauces ($0.75) ranging from Saturday Night Chive (sour cream and fresh chives) to Truffle Ketchup (white truffle oil in homemade ketchup) don’t impress you, you can get poutine ($6 or $8), the Quebecois dish of frites topped with homemade gravy and cheddar cheese curds. If you’re uber-trendy and think poutine is so last year, you can top your frites with a deep-fried egg ($1.50).
The Belgian liege waffle ($3.50), a sweet waffle made with pearl sugar, will make you leggo your Eggo, especially if you get it topped with the warm, fudgy homemade Nutella, Berry Berry, Salted Caramel, or Lemon Cream sauces ($0.75). Saus also serves a selection of drinks, including cold-brewed iced coffee made with beans from Rao’s Coffee, a high-quality roasting company based in Hadley, Massachusetts. Cold-brewed coffee retains about ninety percent of the flavor and caffeine content of normal brewing methods but only about fifteen percent of the oils and acids to create an intensely concentrated flavor. I normally add sugar, but I didn’t need to with the cold-brewed coffee.
Even if they struggled with the business end, the owners have thought of everything on the customer end. The restaurant is decorated with cute Tin Tin comics. The friendly staffers wear shirts that say “Pretty fly for a French fry” and let you sample the dipping sauces.
They capitalize on their sweet location near Faneuil Hall and among the Irish pubs of Union Street by opening till 2 a.m. on weekends. Can you say perfect munchie food? (No more hot dog stand outside Ned Devine’s or walk-up window McDonald’s.) The year-long hype has been worth it. I will take any excuse to visit Saus.
Saus, 33 Union Street, 617-248-8835, http://www.eatfrites.com/