Cock & Bowl

Your Rating: None
7 Ratings

Type: Bar, Eatery

302 Poplar Aly
PO Box 60
Occoquan, Virginia, 22125-0060
United States

(703) 494-1180 | map

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Ratings: 7 |  Reviews: 6
Photo of wisrarebeer
3.23/5  rDev -22.2%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

Belgium beer/restaurant - right? Then why would you serve Orval in Chimay glasses? There were only six or so people in the place when we visited - where are the Orval glasses? And other beers came out in other brewery glasses. And the beer menu had offerings that were crossed off in pen (tacky). No mussels on the night we visited. Really? Service was slow and not attentive. We were told there was a 'special' instead of the mussels that was chicken on waffles with a cream sauce. OK, I'm game. But chicken fingers on waffles. I was very disappointed.

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Photo of Seneca
4.24/5  rDev +2.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

Photo of delta490
4.26/5  rDev +2.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3.75 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

A cute little bistro just off the Occoquan river in the town of the same name. The service was a little slow, but after talking to the owner (who talked to every table), they were very busy for that night of the week and the place was full and it appeared they only had one server and a hostess, so I'm willing to give it a pass. It certainly didn't ruin the evening. The food, though, was spectacular and more than made up for it. We both had big bowls of mussels, delicious in their own unique sauces. The cheese board and the dessert waffle were also fantastic. They also have a massive beer selection consisting of Belgian and Belgian-style beers from around the world. There's a beer garden that looked like a great place to enjoy the food and beer during warmer months. It is more expensive but I feel that you get your money's worth

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Photo of beeryes
4/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

Minutes away from eight lanes of traffic thundering between Maine and Florida on I-95, a largely undiscovered oasis of Belgian food and beer awaits. Located improbably in the tiny historic town of Occoquan, Virginia, a bit south of Washington, DC, Bistrot Belgique Gourmande offers a full menu of hearty Belgian food and about 50 Belgian beers. In nice weather, the restaurant's peaceful outdoor patio provides an especially pleasant spot to sample beer. The town itself lies along a pretty stretch of the Occoquan River.

BBG's selection of Belgian beers is good and well-chosen, though it does not include any rarities. The beer menu classifies the selections by style and describes each beer. Expect to find five or six Trappist brews, various types of Affligem, Corsendonk, DeDolle, DeKonnick, Delirum, Floris, Gouden Carolus, Grimbergen, Kasteel, Leffe, Maredsous, Rodenbach, etc., and perhaps a few lambics and saisons. Choosing your beers from the cooler near the front door saves time, because the selection changes faster than the menus. Beers are served at the right temperature and generally in the proper glassware, although the servers are not particularly beer-knowledgeable. If you have a timid beer drinker in your group, the servers can rustle up a bottle of mass market American stuff. There's also a full wine list.

Unfortunately, no draft beers are offered at present, though the word is that some may be coming.

Food fare includes mussels and fries, pork loin in red wine with bacon and mushrooms, carbonnades flammandes (Belgian-style steak), and veal in white wine and cream, among other dishes. Chocolate mousse and various forms of Belgian waffles are offered as desserts. Come with an appetite. Lunch will set you back about $16-20, dinner maybe $6 to $8 more.

The restaurant has been under the guidance of Roxanne Artigua for about 3 years. She's the third owner, and the second non-Belgian, to run the place, so the atmosphere is not quite as authentic, nor the food as stellar, as at Belgian competitors like Brasserie Beck or Belga Café in Washington. But then again, those restaurants are thirty miles away in downtown DC.

BBG's service, while not always highly efficient, is at least friendly. For instance, they'll prepare mussels any way you like, if you call ahead. You don't have to stick with what's on the menu.

If you live in the DC area, the restaurant makes a nice weekend getaway, particularly when the town is holding one of its weekend festivals. And as a convenient place to pull off I-95 for a meal and good beer, it's pretty hard to beat.

BBG is open 10-10 Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, and 11-10 on Saturdays. It's closed on Mondays and Tuesdays. "Mussel Festivals" are held on Thursday nights and evening beer tastings events are frequent throughout the summer. Keep in mind that BBG is essentially a restaurant, not a bar. They don't mind if you just have appetizers plus several beers, but they don't like serving only beer.

Before and after your visit to the restaurant, consider a walk around the town. It has lots of crafts shops, plus gourmet food shops, nice cafes, and bars. And just a few doors down from BBG, there's a witchcraft shop, should you need help in casting a spell on somebody.

From I-95 southbound, get off at Virginia exit 160 (Occoquan / Lake Ridge), merge onto Route 123, hang a left at the third light (Commerce Street) and park. This should take less than 5 minutes if you catch the lights right.

Northbound, it's exit 160B, then the same as above.

(Note, however, that these exits cannot be reached from the HOV lanes in the center of I-95.)

From southern Fairfax County, around Burke and Lorton, it's faster to take Ox Road (Rt. 123) into town.

Unfortunately, there's no realistic way to get to Occoquan using mass transportation. But there are several motels within a mile of the restaurant, if you want to make a big night of it.

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Photo of ScoPi
4.47/5  rDev +7.7%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

In D.C. over the holidays to meet up with some friends, we drove about a half hour south to Occoquan to enjoy this restaurant after having read several good reviews of it. Indeed, the reviews are correct: The setting is lovely, the Belgian beer theme is plainly evident, and the food is astounding. The last reviewer indicated that new owners had just taken the restaurant over; it now appears a third new owner has just taken it over. As of last night, this doesn't appear to have made the restaurant's food or atmosphere suffer. Well, except for one glaring omission: The new owner did not yet have his "ABC" license, meaning they could not serve alcohol. When told of this news, I could have cried. Flabbergasted, we decided to stay and enjoy a meal anyway, and it was worth it. But my advice to those who intend to visit: Call and *explicitly* ask whether they are serving beer that night. Why they omitted this information in two separate calls I placed to the restaurant before attending is a mystery to me.

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Photo of nomad
4.45/5  rDev +7.2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

First, I must report that the family that used to run this little gem has sold the Bistrot to a middle-aged woman. A very nice one, in fact, and it seems that all is very much still well.

If you've never heard of Occoquan, VA, then acclimating to this unique inland port community is a must. Under a bridge across the Occoquan River, the neighborhood is that of a small fishing area though recently turned into a tourist mecca. Because of the location the car and foot traffic is never too much, and the ratio of quality-to-tschochke stores is quite good (try Mama's Pie store, for example).

In a cute little alley, the Bistrot has the same challenge that other great Belgian restaurants in America and the homeland have: a tight, funky-shaped space to squeeze tables in. Though the entrance barely fits four tables, and you must walk through the kitchen to get to another small seating area, there is a charming second floor to the house, and out the backdoor is lots of tables on a nice brick patio under many leafy branches. The variety of atmosphere across these four widely differing spaces is great and could make a fun experience if you sat in a different one over a number of visits.

The food covers the classics of Belgian cooking but never falls into the butter, fat, and salt hell that cheaply done versions can be. The Carbonnades Flamandes is wonderful, as does the Salmon Bechamel, the Moules frites, and the dessert list is heavy on the chocolate - as if thats a problem, right? Portions are perfect and allow some interchanging for reasons and seasonal vegetables. Appetizers look great though temptation has not succumbed.

The beer selection is wonderful, as all the general styles are covered with only one flaw. The trappists are all there, the strong Duvel-like pales are covered, handfuls of eclectic Abbey-style companies are found, and all the peculiars like De Ranke Bitter, Rodenbach, Scaldis, and so on are present. Unfortunately, the lambics are lacking, with mostly the insipid Lindeman's and a scant Boon or two filling in the category. Everything is served in teh correct glassware and poured nicely by the waitstaff. Their knowledge is by no means perfect but very far from incompetent, helping pair drink and food with enough panache.

A very good Belgian restaurant, I would say my second favorite behind the vaunted Monk's. Charming with a great owner and wonderful beer selection that she works at updating with rare, eccentric, but pleasing options. A must try for all Washingtonians and any lucky goose flying south for winter.

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Photo of NeroFiddled
4.4/5  rDev +6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

This is a somewhat hard to find, little family run operation that knows Belgian food! The owners are always around, and are quite friendly. They have an impressive selection of Belgian beers available (even some rarities) at OK prices for dining out. But the food is spectacular if you're willing to be a little daring and try new things (my wife was unprepared for the quail she ordered). It's not a fashionplate as far as decor goes, but very comfortable. I find it best to go with a group. The service is excellent and they can actually help you with your beer selection! I definitely recommend it for the authentic Belgian gastronomic experience and great beer selection.

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Cock & Bowl in Occoquan, VA
Place rating: 4.15 out of 5 with 7 ratings
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