2016-05-18 / Restaurant of the Week

Mussels ‘N Sausages

Mussels ‘N Sausages will remind you of a Parisian bistro, complete with its idyllic corner location, doors open to the boulevard, breezy awnings, and European menu. This unique, concept eatery opened last December and is described as “an international restaurant with a French soul.” Tarcisio Costa, the restaurant’s passionate general manager, further describes Mussels ‘n Sausages as a place where “ocean and earth come together under one roof.”

This charming restaurant is the brainchild of Monsieur Francis Staub, who is the inventor of the cast iron “cocotte” pot that bears his name. It is in these specially designed cooking vessels that the most delicious, juicy, succulent, and aromatic mussels are prepared, ready to be devoured by you along with a basket of crusty bread and a friend or two. Why mussels and sausages? Why not?? Though you might not immediately think of combining the two, thank goodness someone did! In fact, Chef Nicki, put her skills and creativity to the test to create eight wonderful variations of les moules, each served in the unique pot with a metal grate that holds the mussels to one side so that you can soak up the intoxicating broth that they swim in. The classic Mariniére is made with white wine, fine olive oil, shallots, parsley, garlic, and thyme and is just perfect. My birthday-celebrating companion dove into the Dijonnaise with white wine, garlic, Dijon mustard, shallots, thyme and a touch of cream and deemed it delicious! Tarcisio spoke highly of “In The Tropics” prepared with shallots, pineapple, blood orange, white wine and thyme, and indeed, it was superb. Getting serious now, the Burgundian adds smoky bacon, onion, mushrooms, red wine and a touch of cream to this delicious sauce, while the Santorini gets its unique flavor from Kalamata olives, feta cheese, fresh lemon, leeks and Mediterranean herbs. All the mussels are available in 1-pound or 2- pound pots, which are ideal for sharing, or mixing and matching with your dining companion (s). Prices start at just $13 for a 1-pound pot and $20 for a 2-pound pot. I guarantee you’ve never seen mussels as large and meaty as these, and they are surprising filling and very nutritious, high in protein, iron, and vitamin B.

Going backwards, Tarcisio, a certified mixologist will make you one of his signature libations such as the “Ditmars” made with gin, fresh lime, and two liqueurs for a crisp, flavorful cocktail. The Mescal Negroni, Afternoon in Marseilles, and Lux Life are others worth trying, or you can have a classic Sidecar, Aperol spritz, or Moscow mule. During the “So Happy to Be Here” Happy Hours from 4-7pm, you can enjoy $6 glasses of wine, $4 beers, and house cocktails for just $7 along with savory bites at the bar or at the table at special, low prices.

Mussels ‘N Sausages offers a savory selection of appetizers and you’ll want to start with their impossibly tender, crisp calamari with creamy, caper aioli sauce ($12). Portuguese style chorico sausages are set ablaze at your table with a traditional liqueur rendering the skin crisp and slightly charred…so good! There are heavenly wings, classic Caesar salad and a Mediterranean salad to share as a first course.

Moving on to sausages, most of which are made in-house, you’ll find eight tantalizing varieties representing different cultures and made with different meats. The classic German bratwurst is fat and juicy, served with Brussel sprouts, smoked bacon bits, and herbs ($17). The Munich adds spicy cheddar cheese to the ground meat, served with sauerkraut and onions. The house made Greek sausage is made from pork, oregano, fennel, and parsley while the Italian sausage is served over tagliatelle pasta with tomato confit, fresh basil, and shaved Parmigiano ($18).

Don’t settle for less and get “The Best of Both Worlds” where mussels and sausages come together in perfect, delicious harmony. Roman Holiday combines Italian sausage with mussels, diced tomato, lemon, white wine and herbs ($24). The Mother Hen combines mussels with house made poultry sausage, spicy marinara sauce, shallots and garlic for a satisfying dish. The Fiery Earth and Ocean pairs mussels with spicy Portuguese chorizo sausage, white wine, garlic, cracked chilies, shrimp, and calamari for a dish that lives up to its name.

Sweeten your palate with sea salt caramel ice cream served in a whimsical, cone-shaped dish, crème brulee, chocolate mousse, and a rich espresso or coffee. Visit Mussels ‘N Sausages at lunch time for a sexy Express Lunch served from 1-4pm for just $13 where you can have a “Romeo and Juliet,” love affair of mussels, sausage, and frites. No other fast food restaurant can make such a proposal.

Mussels ‘N Sausages offers a unique dining experience in a casual, yet charming, comfortable setting. The service is good and the prices are reasonable. Visit for the Express Lunch, Dinner, or weekend brunch (closed Mondays). They are a snap to visit, just a 5-minute walk from the Ditmars Blvd N/Q station. Enjoy an international restaurant with a French soul at Mussels ‘N Sausages. Santé!

35-01 Ditmars Boulevard
Astoria  718.606.6532

www.musselsandsausagesnyc.com

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