I am enamored with Chef Robert Wiedmaier’s Mussel Bar and Grille that opened in Baltimore. A recent lunchtime trip to Harbor East to where the short lived Townhouse Kitchen used to be housed and is now home to Wiedmaier’s salute to his youthful escapades at Belgium roadhouse dives. Far from being a dive this locale is more modern with high ceilings, exposed heating and air conditioning ducts, dropped and recessed lighting, even at beer bottle chandelier, support pillars that double as a chalkboard menu – one might call it warehouse chic.
The center bar at the Mussel Bar and Grille Baltimore boasts a neon mermaid, siren of the sea, hanging high above the oyster sign and raw bar so as not to obstruct the multiple flat screens tuned in this day to March Madness basketball. There are craft beers on tap and bottles with local choices; Full Tilt, DuClaw, Evolution, Jailbreak, Stillwater Artisanal, Monument, Heavy Seas, Flying Dog, Fin City and more. Don’t miss out on Chef Wiedmaier’s private label Antigoon Double Blond beer and as their website states, “An official Belgian beer knight (as enthroned by the Brewers Mashstaff in Brussels in 2012), crafted for him by the brewers Brouwerij de Musketiers from Ursel Belgium” and also exclusive is their Cry Baby ale. This is not to say that oenophiles are being overlooked, a broad list of wines from California, Spain, France , New Zealand are available – a tidy selection of choices by the glass as well as bottle.
On this day, for this lunch, I was their guest and one of the many benefits is I get to taste, and in this case, enjoy numerous dishes – even their namesake mussels. Our group indulged in Penn Cove mussels from the west coast. One can choose from multiple mussel preparations: White Wine, Kennett Square Mushroom, Mediterranean, and Provencal. We opted for the Spicy Thai Green Curry and we all were soaking up the broth – in fact, I brought leftover broth home and used it for a soup with rice noodles. Dip your bread in the broth or for a very small fee opt up to getting the classic frites ($1) – served with 3 dipping aioli sauces; malt vinegar, curry and spicy ketchup.
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