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Mussels?

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SunGlow Nov 5, 2008 01:02 PM

As a recent transplant from a very land locked place, I have been enjoying my introduction to seafood! I recently tried Mussels in Portsmouth and loved them. Can anyone give me any restaurant recommendations for good mussels a little closer to home?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. yumyum Nov 5, 2008 01:04 PM

    Great mussels at Green Street in Cambridge. Not so great mussels at Garden at the Cellar also in Cambridge (but I liked everything else so this may have been a fluke.)

    1. Joanie Nov 6, 2008 04:01 AM

      Aquitaine Bis is in Chestnut Hill. I assume the Aquitaine in the south end is just as good but only had them at the CH location. The best in town. Also like them at Taranta in the north end.

      4 Replies
      1. re: Joanie
        galleygirl Nov 6, 2008 07:54 AM

        yes, they're the best...I've only had them in the SE location....
        And I hate to admit it, but in the past, I've had them as an appetizer at Legal, and they were pretty good...garlic-soaked, and enough for a meal...Just eat at the bar, and don't expose yourself to a mediocre, expensive meal...

        1. re: galleygirl
          Rubee Nov 6, 2008 06:16 PM

          I love Aquitaine's version too - steamed with Sancerre and fresh thyme. In fact, it's been a long time since we shared a bowl of these GG!

          Here are some more ideas from an earlier thread this year:

          Best Steamed Mussels (in Boston area?)
          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/538515

          1. re: Rubee
            galleygirl Nov 6, 2008 06:45 PM

            I'm always ready!
            Another great one I've had, more like something I'd make myself, is a huge platter in fresh tomato sauce, bright tasting and full of chunks to scoop up in their Iggy';s bread, from Luigi's in wayland...Sudbury? Who can tell....

            1. re: Rubee
              b
              Bostonbob3 Feb 20, 2009 08:25 AM

              Oh yeah; Aquitaine's are fab. Funny story: my fiancee once convinced George Lucas (who was sitting next to us) to order the mussels. By continually saying to me (far too loudly), "tell him to order the mussels.'

        2. p
          Pegmeister Nov 6, 2008 04:01 AM

          75 Chestnut does mussels well. They use a tomato based saffron broth which is my preference over white wine and garlic. Antico Forno does a wonderful fradiavolo version, and although it's not on the menu they'll prepare it if you ask.

          2 Replies
          1. re: Pegmeister
            fmcoxe6188 Nov 6, 2008 07:35 AM

            Second 75 Chestnut, also Orleans in Sommerville does a good Mussel dish, Eastern Standard used to- I know theyve switched it up a little recently, and actually I like Silvertones as well.

            1. re: Pegmeister
              everydayfoodie Feb 19, 2009 02:41 PM

              he mussels at 75 Chestnut were just lovely. The broth goes beyond the standard white wine and garlic preparation to include tomatoes and saffron. The mussels are cooked with rounds of cured chorizo which, while mild by Texas standards, offer a nice spiciness to the mussels that balances well with the acidity of the tomatoes and wine in the broth. The aromatics in the dish were cut in a large dice which I appreciate because it's easier to get a bit of tomato and onion along with the a mussel in each scoop. The rounds of chorizo completed the variety of shapes and sizes in the dish so each bit was a nice blend of textures and tastes.

              Either through the addition of chicken stock, or just by the inclusion of the tomatoes (I'm not sure which), the mussel broth was more abundant and slightly thicker than what I've had with other mussels dishes. Given that sopping the broth with bread is one of the fringe benefits of eating mussels, this makes the experience even nicer. The mussels came with a single piece of lightly toasted bread and were I to order again I would request extra from the start.

              The portion size was perfect for as an entrée for one or a starter for two.

              There are two things I would like to see the restaurant do to take this dish to the next level:
              1. Soak the mussels in water for just a few minutes before steaming to help them give up their grit. I bit down into ocean sand several times while dining which isn't particularly pleasant. While this is a risk one runs when eating this dish, there are ways to avoid it.
              2. Double-check that all of the mussels have opened before plating them. I had three closed mussels and 3 that were closed enough that I wasn't quite willing to risk eating them. While I just discarded the questionable mussels in my shell bowl, I'd rather see that bit of sorting done before the dish is served.

              These two nits not withstanding, the mussels were an excellent option for a Texan looking for fresh mussels in New England - thanks to the board for the recommendations.

            2. p
              Pemmican Nov 6, 2008 07:46 AM

              LAM'S in Newton has an incredible appetizer: Co-Co Curry Mussels. Order it + their terrific sticky brown rice and VOILA a delicious dinner!

              1. m
                memyselfi Nov 6, 2008 08:09 AM

                Grafton Street in Cambridge has exceptionally good PEI (Prince Edward Island) Mussels. Traditionally prepared in a white wine, butter and garlic sauce, they pile the mussel dish high with shoestring fries drizzled with a citrus aioli. I like sitting at the bar, ordering a light white wine and the mussels - a perfect meal.

                1. f
                  freshlygroundpepper Nov 6, 2008 08:29 AM

                  Mussels at the Highland Kitchen in Somerville are good, also try the bluefish cakes.

                  1. s
                    shopgirl_07 Nov 6, 2008 09:11 AM

                    I love mussels too. I just had them at Eastern Standard the other day and they were very good.

                    1. okra Nov 6, 2008 10:41 AM

                      They're also insanely easy to prepare @ home. Wash 'em and pull off the beard that attached each one to it's former home. Into a hot pot, add a glurp (technical term) of white wine and as much chopped garlic as you like. Steam to open. I then like to hold the lid partially on, and pour off a cup or so of the broth into a second pan, and add an even bigger glurp of heavy cream, reduce, add chopped parsley, and pour over the now plated mussels in their shells. You're gonna need some damn good bread to go with this and a respectable white wine...

                      My $0.02

                      5 Replies
                      1. re: okra
                        c
                        chowfamily Nov 6, 2008 07:01 PM

                        I concur with adding the the home cooking approach your exploration. Mussels are relatively inexpensive and it is fun to vary the preparation and enjoy every bit of broth. I love the idea of Sancerre or Muscadet and thyme, or tomato and saffron. Finding good mussels to cook is the key, but most local grocery stores and fish markets carry them. With a loaf of French bread they are a great budget friendly comfort meal.

                        Moules frites done well in a restaurant are a great combination.

                        1. re: chowfamily
                          t
                          tdaaa Nov 19, 2008 05:32 AM

                          Mussels are also the cheap cousin of the shellfish world - generally cheaper than clams and oysters. Haven't even seen them used raw, though. Wonder why?

                          1. re: tdaaa
                            galleygirl Nov 19, 2008 06:05 AM

                            You can get them raw on the street in Brussels, with mstard sauce, but I've never seen them served that way here...strange....

                            1. re: galleygirl
                              t
                              tdaaa Nov 19, 2008 07:26 AM

                              It's amazing how constrained we are by custom. I never even thought of eating a raw mussel until I posted above, but happily slurp down oysters and clams by the dozen and regard cooking scallops as a crime.

                              1. re: tdaaa
                                galleygirl Nov 19, 2008 07:30 AM

                                The other strange memory that just came up...When i was a kid, I remember seeing teenagers on the beach, in NY, cutting them off the rocks, opening them, and eating them raw.... (Long ago, don't worry!)

                      2. digga Nov 6, 2008 05:48 PM

                        Funny that the one beer bar in town with a Belgian bent, Publick House, does not show up in this list. The last time I had mussels there, they were sad, shriveled up, and salty. Too bad because the beer was exemplary. I've had better mussels at Magoun's Saloon and Thirsty Scholar. I wonder if the B-Side replacement might be offering moules et frites once they re-open?....

                        1. g
                          gyppielou Nov 7, 2008 08:26 AM

                          Franklin has a decent roasted mussels. Clean uninterupted flavour.

                          Teatro has a rich version, deshelled in a luscious cream based sauce.

                          1. j
                            jody Nov 7, 2008 09:09 AM

                            I am addicted to the "Mussels from Brussels" at Central Kitchen (Central Sq in Cambridge). Piled on great fries. Garlic wine sauce.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: jody
                              ScubaSteve Nov 7, 2008 09:16 AM

                              i've done some VanDamage to that dish. Excellent.

                            2. p
                              Pete Lyons Nov 7, 2008 09:45 AM

                              The mussels at Turner's Seafood Grill & Market in Melrose are great. You can order them in a variety of styles and if you're eating at the bar you can watch them being prepared at the open cooking stations It's a fun place.

                              1. s
                                SunGlow Nov 17, 2008 07:04 PM

                                Thanks all! I can hardly wait to try all of your suggestions.

                                We started our seafood journey with a make it yourself endeavor. We had mussels with white wine, thyme and garlic and they were great!

                                1. galangatron Nov 17, 2008 07:19 PM

                                  cha krom (green mussels with ginger sauce) at floating rock in revere

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: galangatron
                                    9
                                    9lives Nov 18, 2008 05:07 AM

                                    second FR..very interesting preparation.

                                    Lots of good traditional preps; but I really like Acquitaine SE.mentioned above.

                                    1. re: 9lives
                                      justbeingpolite Nov 18, 2008 05:11 AM

                                      The East Coast Grill's mussels steamed in coconut milk, with grilled bread to dip in the broth, are amazing!

                                      1. re: 9lives
                                        t
                                        twentyoystahs Feb 20, 2009 08:55 AM

                                        I am not typically a mussel fan --they're ok, but i tend to be drawn to lots of other things on a menu so i rarely order them. However, the mussels I've had at Acqutaine south end truly are exceptional. Really delicious and decadent...so I guess I third or fourth PP's recs...

                                    2. MeffaBabe Nov 18, 2008 11:28 AM

                                      I know you will think this bizaar but some of the best mussels I have had were at Maggiano's... the broth/sauce was delicious and the mussells were steamed to perfection.

                                      1. Essex County Nov 18, 2008 11:49 AM

                                        Brasserie Jo's in the Colonnade Hotel. Mussels come in this neat little Staub pot. Ask for extra bread. Also, if you are north of Boston, try Glory in Andover.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: Essex County
                                          yumyum Nov 18, 2008 12:22 PM

                                          I'm a sucker for anything in an individual Staub pot. Shoot, I'll have to go down to Brasserie Jo's and try them, although I make a mighty fine pot of mussels myself. A pinch of mild curry and a glug of cream is my secret. Shhhh.....

                                        2. rlh Nov 18, 2008 12:26 PM

                                          Current Favorite is Green Street - other really good recent experiences are at Moultons and Gaslight (best frites here). and Central Kitchen is still solid but not consistently special like it used to be.

                                          1. t
                                            tdaaa Nov 18, 2008 12:39 PM

                                            I make them at home, and will almost always order them if they are on the menu. The best I have had in a very long time was at taranta - cooked with a marsala reduction, rich and wonderful. I would also recommend any preparation with beer - the Belgians know what they are doing.

                                            1. Angel Food Nov 18, 2008 03:23 PM

                                              I love the mussel dish that Prezza has on the menu, with a tomato-fennel stew and chorizo polenta. Often I can take or leave mussels, but that dish was great. And if cooking at home, look on epicurious for mussels with tequila, tomatoes and jalapeno - different and delish.

                                              1. n
                                                nomadgirl Nov 19, 2008 05:54 AM

                                                I love mussels. One of the absolute best mussel dishes I've ever had can be found at Taranta in the North End. They cook the mussels in a broth with sherry, panceta and carmelized onions. It's one of those save-every-piece-of-bread-for-the-broth dishes.

                                                1 Reply
                                                1. re: nomadgirl
                                                  s
                                                  samosk318 Feb 21, 2009 01:52 PM

                                                  I'm going to agree with nomadgirl. I was at Taranta a few months ago for dinner, and the mussels were far and away my favorite part of a pretty delicious meal. Just thinking about them again is making my mouth water.

                                                2. s
                                                  Shefood Nov 19, 2008 07:59 AM

                                                  Aquitaine in the South End! So yummy! Also excellent for weekend brunch.

                                                  Shefood

                                                  1. Harp00n Feb 20, 2009 12:37 PM

                                                    Since this OP is being bumped again, I was amazed that nobody, I think, had mentioned Giacamo's mussels. There are others that do them well but none that do them better, IMO.

                                                    Harp

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