44 West 17th Street
New York, NY
(212) 727-2989 | Map
Creating and maintaining this blog has given me the perfect reason to get out of my apartment and try as many restaurants in New York as possible. And after talking about my adventures with the Lehigh Dinner Club (LDC) so much, I have, somehow, managed to become one of the founding members of another Dinner Club unofficially associated with my Alma Mater. This second Dinner Club consists of another group of Lehigh alumni who also happen to be fellow Chi Omega Sisters (Jena, Linda, and Sarah). The Phi Mu (our Chapter of Chi Omega) Dinner Club (PMDC) tries to meet once a month in order to try various cuisines from around the world.
However, unlike the LDC, the PMDC is systematically working its way through the alphabet. Our first meeting was at the Afghan Kebab House 1 for, duh, Afghan kebabs. Back in May, we traveled from Afghanistan to Belgium to enjoy some Belgian beer and Moules et Frites (Mussels and Fries) at the West 17th Street location of Petite Abeille.
It was a nice evening, so we asked to be seated at a table on the patio at the back of the restaurant. Seeing as I'm not versed in varieties of Belgian beer, I asked our server for a recommendation and wound up going with the Gruut. (Ignore the writing on the glass, it's really Gruut in there.) Since it was a "work night," I didn't want to choose something with too high of an alcohol content! And despite how tempting the other selections on Petite Abeille's dinner menu were, we stood our ground and each ordered from the Les Moules section (2 pounds of steamed PEI mussels served with fries). I made it about halfway through my beer when our food arrived.
I had forgotten how cute the mussel pots can be! And waiting inside was...
... a hearty helping of mussels! Jena and I each ordered up the Grand-Merè ($18), mussels served with a cream beer sauce (YUM) with essence of bacon (YUM YUM). I was originally intending to order the Marinières, mussels served with a white wine celery garlic broth, but who could pass up a cream beer sauce with essence of bacon?? (What does "essence of bacon" mean, anyway?)
Linda ordered the Jamaïcaines ($18), mussels served with a Jamaican curry sauce and crisp apple (not picture), while Sarah ordered the Au Pastis ($18), mussels served with shaved fennel and light Pernod sauce (above). And don't forget the frites! With so much food in front of us, it took us a while to make it to the bottom of our respective mussel pots.
But we did it (and it was worth it)! Upon ordering, we didn't really think that two pounds of mussels per person sounded like a whole lot. Until the food was put in front of us alongside a cone of fries. When Linda saw that the rest of us left nothing but liquid in the pots, she was determined to do the same. To encourage her along, we tempted her with thoughts of dessert. After all, how can you go to a restaurant serving Belgian fare and not try something made out of chocolate?
Have you ever pushed your way through dinner just to get to dessert?