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Sep 27, 2009 05:58 AM

A kid who loves mussels

My soon to be 10 year old wants to go out for mussels on her birthday. I've narrowed it down to Beer Bistro or Bier Markt....any issues taking an urban kid there on a Friday night with 3 adults?

Other suggestions? The reviews for Fat Belgian don't look good.

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  1. I haven't been to Beer Bistro, but Bier Markt can be unbearably noisy, especially on a Friday or Saturday night. I don't find the food or service at Bier Market to be worth enduring the noise and crowds. I suspect you'll find good mussels at Rodney's (Rodney's by Bay) and Oyster Boy. I don't recall if mussels are regular features on Starfish's menu, but you could call and find out. I used to enjoy the mussels at Autogrill and Vittorio's (I don't know if either is still around). Believe it or not, the mussels were quite good at Trapper's, though the restaurant is pretty dowdy for a 10-year old. Lastly, the Miller makes decent mussels.

    1. i would go to Hot House on a Sunday - their buffet includes great mussels ven though there isn't a lot of selection, and it's extremely kid friendly.

      If you want to go somewhere in the evening, i'd really recommend the fat belgian. not so sure why they got bad reviews, i'm actually pretty surprised - their selection of mussel dishes is great and absolutely delicious (i love, love, love mussels and eat them wherever possible). Oddly enough, i also had fabulous mussels at Il Sorriso in little italy on College a couple weeks back. go figure.

      if you really want to go to either beer bistro or bier markt with a child, i'd say beer bistro - it's less of a meat market than bier markt on a friday night, especially now that the weather's not great, you won't be able to escape the afterwork crowd in bier markt.

      beer bistro only cooks their mussels in beer - not sure if that's okay for a kid?

      good luck in your search!

      1 Reply
      1. re: acanadianrose

        Fat Belgian sounds great because of the selection and was my first choice...but read below average reviews on this board. Nice to see that someone who loves mussels enjoyed them there.
        Checked out Rodneys on Bay menu and they have one mussel dish; sounds good but would be nice to have choice if possible. Think Vittorio's is gone, i went there years ago and had excellent mussels.

      2. If you feel like combining a lovely mussel meal with a lovely drive to the country, make the trip to Peterborough and go to St. Veronus at 129 Hunter. This place is fantastic and specialises in Belgian style mussels, cooked with beer and in other forms. The service is lovely, they are kid friendly and they have plenty on the menu for the non - fan of the mollusc. I have really missed our visits there since moving to TO. If you can make the trip, your kid will love you for it!

        1 Reply
        1. re: munchieHK

          I just read a pretty poor review of Rodney's By Bay, so scratch that one from my earlier recommendations. As it happens, I'm currently at my cottage and not far from Peterborough, so we're heading over to St. Veronus, based on MunchieHK's glowing review. I'll let you know how the mussels are!

        2. I don't see a problem with you bringing your child to Beer Bistro on a Friday night if you don't sit in the bar area though I would still call ahead and confirm. However, based on my recent experiences, the mussels there have gone downhill, with most of the broths tasting *very* similar.

          My choice for mussels right now would probably be Starfish. They come with an order of crispy frites.

          6 Replies
          1. re: pinkprimp

            I just had mussels last week at Vannis (St. Clair Avenue West at Christie)they were wonderful! The sauce was Tomato based with lots of onion and a wee bit of garlic..I finished off the bread basket and had to get more for the amazing sauce! The sauce was very much like a 'provencal' but thicker and not any edge to it..I will go back for more!They are very 'kid friendly' even with really little ones so a 10 year old should feel very comfortable being there. I am not sure they make different sauces for the mussels but I would order the Tomato one when I could ask for a different sauce, the Chef is very obliging.

            1. re: pearlD

              I just got back from the drive to Peterborough from my cottage. St. Veronus is a really cozy Belgian bar and cafe. They have a mind-boggling array of Belgian beers, plus a smattering of other interesting brews. The beer menu is 4 times the size of the regular menu. A lengthy list of daily specials accompanied the regular menu. Mussels with frites (more like regular fries, but very tasty) and tarragon mayo were offered in a few different preparations, with a daily version as well. I ordered an interesting beet, candied almond, chevre and dried apricot salad. The apricots were a bit over the top in terms of sweetness, but overall, the salad, dressing and mixed greens were delicate and went well together. The Mussels Lambeek featured mussels steamed with Hoegaarden, roasted garlic, shallots, coriander and orange juice. The orange juice pushed the sweetness level beyond what I'd hoped, but sweetness aside, the other flavours were gentle and savoury, particularly the roasted garlic. The mussels were a bit on the small side, but were tasty (one bad one in the bunch, but all shells were open, thankfully!). A few sweet potato chips were strewn atop the mussels, which made for an attractive presentation. My Petrus Gouden Tripel (recommended by the personable and knowledgeable server) was delicious. I enjoyed my dinner and the atmosphere, as did my dining companion, who ordered from the daily special menu. I spent some time studying the beer menu and was overwhelmed by the choices (and the prices for a few!) I look forward to returning and exploring other items from the menu/specials. My only complaint, aside from small-ish mussels, is that many of the menu items (and daily specials) were quite heavy on the cream, which isn't my preference, but may well be true to Belgian cuisine.

              An aside: St. Veronus is having a 5-course Oktoberfest special dinner and German beer tasting on October 7. For $65, there are 5 hearty courses (sausage, soup, schnitzel, etc.) and 5 (500 mL) beers, one paired with each course! Sounds like a serious evening of heavy eating and drinking, German style! It would be fun, but we'd have to get a hotel room within walking distance of the restaurant, because we wouldn't be driving anywhere after all that beer and meat!

            2. re: pinkprimp

              Had the devil's puttanesca (spicy sausage) version at beer bistro a few weeks ago and enjoyed it. Haven't had mussels there in a year and a half, it still hit the spot for me. Had a nice kick to the broth, albeit I'm not a fan of their bread. The crust is too hard and chewy.

              The "suits" come out to play right after work w/ peaktime at 6pm. It'll thin out though as they move on to continue their "we work hard, we play hard" elsewhere. It transitions to a dinner crowd.

              1. re: aser

                I agree on the bread served at Beer Bistro -- it's definitely too chewy. They serve the same bread with the cheese fondue and I find that the chewiness mixed with the warm/hot cheese is a bit of a struggle when you are trying to take bites out of the bread as opposed to popping the whole thing in your mouth. But anyway, I found the spicy sausage broth suspiciously similar to the "Thai" red curry version...

                BTW, I find that the "suits" tend to aggregate in the bar area, not so much in the dining section.

                1. re: pinkprimp

                  We ended up taking my now 10 yr old daughter to Beer Bistro and she loved it! We had a great table for 4 at the back and the suits did start to leave after 7. Only minor complaint was the noise level...think it was more the design of the room and acoustics rather than the number of people at the bar.
                  As far as the main event - mussels - the resto was very nice to quickly accommodate my lactose intolerant kid by taking the cream out of her choice of broth. Mussels were wonderful all round, and I expected the bread to be chewy but was fine. Will go back next time we're in the mood for mussels.

                  Beer Bistro
                  , Toronto, ON M5G, CA

                  1. re: Chachama

                    Glad you enjoyed it! I'll confess that I'm one of those "suits" who spends way too much time there after work. Definitely a better choice than Bier Markt.

                    I was exactly the same way when I was a kid, I could eat mussels like there was no tomorrow. :D

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