Mussels and More had us eating our words this week — along with a heaping helping of utterly delicious bivalves.
When signs first went up for this place on Fifth Avenue and 80th Street in Bay Ridge, we had our doubts. We adore the humble mussel, but whenever we order them in restaurants, we usually get an overpriced saucer of stringy, sickly specimens, hidden under a shower of chopped parsley and diluted Campbell’s tomato soup.
But the promise of not travelling to Sheepshead Bay — as well as the ample sidewalk seating, a rarity in Bay Ridge — drew us in.
We quickly skimmed past the “more” side of the menu (burgers, pastas, pizzas, etc.) and went straight for the shellfish. Mussels are priced from $11.50 to $14.50, depending on whether you go for the no-frills “Classic” — with wine, parsley, and garlic — or something more adventurous, such as the “Spaniard,” with chorizo and green olives.
Keeping with a childhood propensity for ordering the most expensive thing on the menu, we quickly zeroed in on the “Maine” mussels ($14.95), which features lobster, smoked bacon, and a homemade chowder base.
When the steaming silver pot arrived at our table, it looked like someone dumped the contents of a generously stuffed lobster roll into it. Whatever the taste, this dish is clearly an outright steal.
The Prince Edward Island mussels themselves — delivered fresh every day — were juicy and vibrantly orange, and the faintly pink broth was briny, creamy, and redolent of the sea.
And after polishing them off, we felt loved dipping our crispy fries into a stew thick with garlic, bacon, and giant hunks of lobster claw.
The “more” in this restaurant’s name might refer to chicken sandwiches and spaghetti, but we’re taking it as an invitation — to scarf down another serving of delicious Maine Mussels.
Mussels and More [8001 Fifth Ave. between 79th and 80th Streets in Bay Ridge, (718) 680-3390].