Moules et Frites
4 Berry Hill Rd., Syosset
Reststar, the same restaurant group that made French food friendly (Bistro’s Cassis/Citron, etc.), Argentinean accessible (Café Buenos Aires) and breakfast funky (Toast and Co.) now presents “Belgian Alsatian” at Moules et Frites in Syosset. Labeling it as a “biergarten bistro” attempts to say it all. Located in the hard luck location that opened and closed Pomodorino, Pulau and Penang, to name but a few, there is no actual beer garden. And it looks like more of a beer hall than a bistro, with plenty of dark wood and a chalet look inside and out. A nice collection of German and continental beers with colorful taps jutting from the bar top greet customers as they enter. The menu headlines a few sausages, a wienerschnitzel and lots of mussels. Hamburgers are touted on the awning outside, as if to reassure hesitant locals. The Bratwurst sandwich ($16) is buried under an enormous mound of braised red cabbage and onions, so much that I have trouble finding the sausage sitting on a long pretzel roll. I don’t even attempt to pick it up—I need a second plate on which to off-load the pile. The pork banger itself is okay, (it comes with two kinds of mustard) but the potato salad is sweetened with currants and apples which join with the sweet cabbage to just make everything, well…too sweet. Maybe I’ve been spoiled by the new charcuterie in Manhattan, where artisanal sausages are being proffered by chefs like Daniel Bouloud with mouth-watering, jaw-dropping results. I’m just not impressed with this wurst and it seems pricey as well. Aren’t these the same guys who can deliver traditional French bistro entrees for a couple of bucks more? Washing it down with a couple of drafts of Hofbrau Dunkel, on a special “Kick the Keg” promo (2 for $7) helps.
The Hamburger ($15) on a brioche bun with a pile of crispy fries, is juicy perfection, as good as any available all over the place at about half the price. At lunch there’s an additional sandwich menu ranging in price from $12 to $16 including a good grilled cheese with bacon, known here as the Croque Monsieur de Lardon ($12).
But the mussels we had were superb. It’s nice to have seven preparations of Prince Edward Island mussels that can be augmented with pasta, tiger shrimp, clams or calamari. We chose the basic Mariniere Traditionnel ($16) with a simple garlic and white wine broth, taking the crusty slices of French baguette and dipping it in the soup. Plentiful and perfect to share with friends over some exotic beers.
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