Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dr. Granville's Mussels

I’ve now lived in the H Street corridor (or Atlas District or NoMa or Trinidad or whatever you want to call it) for over a year. I’ve eaten my way down the street, consuming plenty of pie, pizza, Italian ice and sushi along the way. Yet I somehow have missed going to what may be H Street’s most famous establishment – Granville Moore’s.

Granville Moore’s, a gastropub, is named for a neighborhood doctor that worked pro-bono a couple times a week to care for the neighborhood’s less fortunate members. This little hole-in-the-wall has been attracting neighbors, area residents and TV cameras since it opened in 2007. The restaurant has been named one of the best restaurants numerous years in a row by both the Washingtonian and Washington City Paper. In addition to that, Teddy Folkman, the restaurant's chef, was challenged to a “throwdown” by Bobby Flay and was a competitor on the Next Food Network Star. That is a lot of publicity for a restaurant that is barely larger than my one bedroom apartment.

I went into this dining experience with high expectations and thankfully was not let down. My friend Jess and I started with the risotto cakes. The outsides were crunchy and the insides were fluffy and warm. Each bite contained all the flavors of the risotto, cheese and balsamic vinegar reduction. The portion was far from huge but - needless to say - it was a wonderful palette teaser.

Our waiter was quite knowledgeable about the menu and steered us toward his favorite mussel preparations. Unfortunately, neither of us like blue cheese (a main ingredient in Chef Teddy’s most famous preparation) so I went for the traditional marinere with white wine, garlic, herbs and butter. Jess chose the jalfrezi with onions, red peppers, tomato, coconut milk and red curry. We also got a small order of frites and one of the house-made dipping sauces. Deciding which sauce to order was a hard decision, but I think choosing the truffle aioli was the way to go.

We were both served a generous portion of mussels. The sauces they were served in were flavorful and perfect when sopped up with the soft bread. With only a few exceptions, most of the mussels were open and ready to eat. The frites had clearly been hand cut and went well with the very truffle-y aioli.

Although I chose not to try one of the many Belgian beers that fill an entire menu, I plan to return soon and take advantage of their happy hour. Monday- Thursday they offer specials on mussels from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., leaving a few extra dollars in my pocket for a beer.

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