Best Mussels Orange County 2013 - Pier 76 Fish Grill
Pier 76's rendition of moules frites (steamed mussels with french fries) will reset your expectations of the bivalve forever, especially if you've had thousands of lesser specimens before. The first morsel you dislodge with your tongue from those black castanet shells is so soft and practically melting you'll think it a fluke. But then, you eat the next one, and the one after that, discovering that each one is as supple and silken as the last. If Pier 76 did this dish and only this dish, it would be enough. But that's just the start. The fries—buried beneath the pile of shells—transforms into thirsty sponges, thoroughly soaking up the broth. And the broth—sweetened by softened onion, a splash of wine, a hint of lemon and roasted poblanos—is as precious as the mussels are tender, neither too harsh nor too acidic, so balanced and flavored with the savory drippings from the mollusks it can be sipped as a soup.