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Sur la Place: moules frites heaven (MacArthur Boulevard, Palisades section of DC)

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Moules frites (steamed mussels and french fries) has been all the rage in the DC area for a few years now, but long before it was a trend, there was a place up in Olney called Mannequin Pis. That's where I learned to eat and love moules frite, but driving to Olney was something I never loved. By the way, Mannequin Pis is still there. I hear it goes up and down; I haven't been there in years.

Well, the owners opened Sur la Place in the Palisades area of DC. For an area that has few restaurants, it seems bizarre that they happen to have two Belgian restaurants directly across the street from one another, but so it is. Et Voila is right across the street. It is Et Voila that gets all the love, but I have always preferred Sur la Place for the food and the atmosphere. It is quirky and though it is only a few years old, it feels as though it has been there for decades. The space is long and narrow, with 2-3 tables outside (what is the appeal of eating car exhaust? I'll never get that), a bar area in the front room, and rows of tables clad with white tablecloths and white paper. The interior walls are exposed brick.

We've been many times and always had a good meal but last night's meal was the best. We shared a wonderful ceviche appetizer - plenty for two - and that was followed by our favorite mussels preparation - steamed in lavender, honey, onions, and ginger. One of these days I have to try some of the others but we hit on this one and loved it so much we keep ordering the same thing. Everything was fantastic - the mussels were plump and sweet and the fries were crisp. The bread had a good crust. The only problem, not the restaurant's fault - is that this particular broth is not great for bread-sopping. Not savory enough.

In the past, my husband has also sampled their house-made sausages which he enjoyed very much. Curiously, the on-line menu doesn't have the sausages though they have always had them.

There is a large beer list but we are not beer drinkers so I can't comment on the caliber of the list.

We passed on dessert.

Total - for the ceviche, mussels, and one beer, before tip - $46. Well worth it.

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