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Mannequin Pis

I see a few references to good mussels at Mannequin Pis on this board, We are supposed to go here for dinner tomorrow and I thought some comments on the restaurant's website were a bit on the snooty side. Is this restaurant worth it? (and if someone in our party isn't a mussel fan, is anything else good?)

Mannequin Pis Restaurant
18064 Georgia Ave, Olney, MD 20832

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  1. Be careful about the specials. The prices are out of control. Other than that, I didn't have the mussels, but anything else we ordered was forgettable.

    1. I've only been there once several years ago in a group of four. Two of us ordered a mussels entree. Both of us were disappointed; the mussels were overcooked and the broth was unspectacular. The frites that came with the mussels were limp. One friend, who ordered the boar special, was not impressed either and it was quite expensive. The only good thing they had that we all agreed upon was the Belgian beer.

      1. Ivysmom:
        I live in Olney and have been going there for years. Last Wednesday we took foodie friends there for their first time. Great meal. Started with appetizers: Some type of sausage served over red cabbage (they had 6 to choose from), a wild mushroom over pastry dough thing and a white and green asparagus with puff pastry, sauteed leeks and chopped egg. All 3 were delicious. We each had mussels as our main course. They have about 15 different styles and a Kg pot is $20. All 4 of us had different mussels and all of us thought they were outstanding, plump, fresh and delicious.
        I have also in the past split mussels with someone as an appetizer and then ordered main courses. This is a more expensive way to eat but the food has always been excellent. The restaurant is in a very ordinary strip center and is next to an excellent sushi restaurant, Wasabi Zen. The inside of the restaurant makes you feel like you are away in some small bistro in france or belgium. Great wine and belgian beer selection. Not an inexpensive place to eat soup to nuts and drink a lot but if you order wisely it isn't that expensive. I would definitely rec that you go

        Wasabi Zen
        18066 Georgia Ave, Olney, MD 20832

        1. Haven't been in several years, but it was quite good then, though the owner/chef quit and there is a new chef now. The service was amateurish but well-intentioned. Nice small, quiet atmosphere.
          If you want a snooty atmosphere and arrogant service, go to Brasserie Beck or the Mussel Bar.

          Brasserie Beck
          1101 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20005

          2 Replies
          1. re: a1234

            the head chef bernard damme who was the old owner hardly ever cooked. when he sold to the knew owners most if not all of his kitchen staff and other chefs stayed thus the food did not change. A lot of the drama that was there before is gone and it is a very mellow nice evening there. we had professional service

            1. re: dining with doc

              Just our report - the service last night was fine. Very professional. Unobtrusive removal of mussel shells,etc. I have to agree with some of the posts that the food was so-so. Some in our group were satisfied with their mussels, my husband and I believe we have had better elsewere. Not especially plump, somewhat sandy, just ok. One man in our group had the rib-eye steak and thought it was great. Desserts were said to be good. So, maybe mussels are hit or miss, other items good. Great beer selection!

          2. Funny this came up. I've been a MoCo guy for 40 years, and finally made it to MP a few weeks ago.

            While not exactly convenient to me, getting there was no prob and parking was easy. The setting if nice. Beer and wine lists are pretty good actually. Service is good too. That said it was a Friday in July and the place was half empty.

            We had 2 orders of the mussels to start. They were fine to good. My criteria is 1) how fresh they are, 2) how big/plump they are, 3) how properly cooked they are, 4) how clean they are (no sand). These were fresh, clean, medium size, and only slightly overcooked. The two sauce were fine, if a little watery/bland. The sauces were not reduced after the mussels had bee cooked which would have helped.

            For dinner we had 2 of the sausages, the white sausage and the blood sausage. Both served on a mustardy cooked cabbage/slaw. Both were excellent. Very, very good. I might go back for this dish alone one winter evening. We also had the whole grilled bacon wrapped trout that was a very large, but very overcooked. Again, this was worth going back for, if you requested it a bit less cooked. And finally a chicken dish which was good, but again, a bit overcooked.

            Anyway, it is a very nice evening if you are up that way. Not much else to choose from quite frankly. And I certainly think it's worth the moderate prices. But I can't imagine anyone driving from Bethesda, more less downtown for it.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Pappy

              Thanks for the detailed report. I'm not sure how things are managed now, but when I went the prices for the recited specials were not recited ...I'm sure many a customer was caught by surprise when the bill arrived.

              1. re: Pappy

                Yes, and imagine, we drove from Ellicott City, one couple came from Arnold and another
                near Odenton. The Odenton couple had been to MP's a while ago and liked it, so we all met on their recommendation. My husband and I just were a bit disappointed, prices are moderate but by no means cheap. A big pot of mussels - with some sand, bland sauce, and overcooked is not a bargain. But as we've both stated - beer selection good, service good, so not a total wash. But not worth a repeat visit for us, even though my mom is in Leisure World, very close by. FYI, they had a printed list of specials, which did include prices.

                1. re: ivysmom

                  sorry for your bad luck
                  happy I have not had bad experiences since I love that place. I get the tarragon one and it is so fragrent when they open the lid and so tasteful, anything but bland? no sand, plump and were cooked perfectly?

              2. Oh yeah, this is definitely going into the rotation.

                We ordered a pot of mussels that come with a side of frites. I would have preferred the frites a bit more well done (I like things fried hard) but the mussels were top notch. Fresh, plump, clean, without a bit of grit to them. We ordered the red devil (with harissa) and they were spicy and fantastic. Huge shards of celery, big rounds of onion floating around the broth.....just lovely. It was served steaming hot. Bread was abundant, with a very crispy crust that was the perfect partner for sopping up tons of the broth.

                They have a leek and potato soup that is like bacon juice, I swear to God. It's like a ton of bacon juice (not greasy, though), heavy cream, and jullienned leek, potato, and bacon crumbles. It was out of this world bacony, I have no idea how they got so much bacon flavour in there without it being all bacon grease. Also served piping hot. Just fantastic.

                We both ordered T-bones with garlic frites, among the specials of the day. The steak was cooked perfectly, was "like buttah" and the frites were crazy garlicky, crisp (but cold, I think they were a bit stale). Again, this dish was a total winner.

                The beer selection is amazing, and the service was just fantastic. It appears they have a food runner/expediter that ensures that your food is brought out the second it's done, and we got everything piping hot, no sitting in the window.

                Dessert and coffee were also nice, but I was so wowed with the mussels, frites, soup, and meat that I was in a cholesterol and Belgian beer coma, barely remember it.

                So totally going back. And soon. Hubba hubba.

                Mannequin Pis Restaurant
                18064 Georgia Ave, Olney, MD 20832

                1 Reply
                1. re: venera

                  FYI- They have a special menu on Monday nights for $30pp (regular menu also available).
                  I have tried many varieties of they mussels, they are all so good. Also love the escargot appetizer.

                2. Went there twice last spring, and my husband and I were disappointed both times. The mussels were fine/good but not great, and the fish dish I ordered one time was almost too salty to eat (and I tend to salt everything, so it's not like I'm a salt-phobe). Living in Olney, we had better luck with Ricciuti's for a nicer dinner out- it could be hit or miss, but we generally had far better experiences there for the price.

                  1. They blew it. We had a reservation for a special dinner, but when we got there they had lost the reservation. When they discovered this, they had already seated us and were in a hurry to kick us out. We were furious and will never go back.

                    Mannequin Pis Restaurant
                    18064 Georgia Ave, Olney, MD 20832

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: Rochl

                      they seated you. you had dinner? (how was the food?). then they rushed you out?

                      and you're *furious* (!) about what -- the fact that they lost your reservation in the first place? or the "rush"? or everything?

                      how did management address the lost reservation?

                      1. re: alkapal

                        No. We did not get as far as dinner. They asked us who we were, pointed to the reservation book, seated us, then came back to the table two minutes later and asked us who we were. When we told them (again), they said we did not have a reservation (we had had one for three weeks). We explained that yes we did have a reservation, but they continued to argue with us. It quickly became clear to me that they were going to keep arguing until we left. I said "Are you kicking us out?" They did not say yes but continued to argue. We got up and left quickly.

                        Management did nothing about any of this. No one contacted us to follow up.

                        We had to rush and find a nice place that would take us on a Saturday night.

                        1. re: Rochl

                          ok, you have a right to be furious. i'd be furious, too.

                          i saw your post about the place near eastern market. glad you found some good food & service.