Great New Restaurants 2010: Mussel Bar

25 places that are making the Washington dining scene better than ever

This cacophonous insta-hit from chef Robert Wiedmaier feels like a cross between a sports bar and an Old World Belgian drinking den. Flat-screen TVs hang over rough-hewn wood furniture, empty wine bottles stuck into roof beams create a light fixture, and beer is taken as seriously as food. Wiedmaier has borrowed some of his other properties’ greatest hits: steamed mussels from Brasserie Beck, tartes flambées from the Tasting Room, and a beef-and-Chimay-cheese sandwich from the Butcher’s Block. The list of preparations for steamed bivalves is long, with inspiration from Thailand (spicy green curry), France (tomato, garlic, capers, basil), and a creative Belgian/Maryland mash-up of Chimay beer and Old Bay.

Don’t miss: Beet salad; lobster roll; mussels gratin; curried cauliflower; sweet-potato fries.

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