Discover Bethesda, Maryland...365 Days a Year!

Day 59: Mussel Your Way In and Grab a Beer

Mussel Bar, Bethesda

Now I have to say that I never used to crave mussels.  But after a visit to the Mussel Bar located at 7262 Woodmont Ave. in Bethesda not too long ago, that’s exactly what I’m craving right now.  Their place offers the best selection of mussels around – everything from Spicy Thai mussels, Tiki Masala mussels, Provencal mussels and my personal favorite – Grilled Pineapple and Sweet Chili Garlic mussels, among others!  Yes, the Mussel Bar is THE place to go for excellent mussels, but what might surprise you is their beer selection! 

There are names of beers on their menu that I guarantee you have never heard before in your life and of course some of your old favorites too.   Pilsners, ales & stouts abound with a heavy emphasis on the Belgian varieties.  You could try a new beer on every visit and never seem to round out the list!  The best way to dive into this exercise is to stop by between 4:30 and 6:30 PM for happy hour and get your selections at rock bottom prices!  But don’t dilly dally, this place is popular and usually packed!  Get there early.

Couple your drinking delights with their tasty frites (fries) served in a paper cone – or go for the more creative yet equally delectable sweet potato fries.  The Mussel Bar also has terrific wood-fired tarts (that’s pizzas!), sandwiches and salads, but these are not your garden-variety sandwiches and salads.  They offer some of the most unusual dishes around such as grilled baby octopus salad or a spicy Berkshire pork belly sandwich.  Check out their menu for a complete list of these creative dishes by renowned Chef, Robert Wiedmaier.  I have no idea how to properly pronounce his name but the man is a culinary genius. 

According to Julia Watson’s article in Northwest Current about Robert’s life, he first learned to cook from his mom and then attended culinary school in the Netherlands, apprenticed in Holland and then moved to Brussels before establishing himself as a chef-extraordinaire in several top restaurants and hotels in the U.S.  His restaurant, Marcel’s, at 2401 Pennsylvania Ave NW in D.C. is a favorite amongst the DC foodies, and has received the Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year Award, among other accolades.  Now Robert has brought his award-winning work to Bethesda with the Mussel Bar and decked it out with his own personal photos of family, friends and his beloved motorcycle collection.

The Mussel Bar has some other fun touches too – water bowls outside for dogs on warm days, links on their website to their local farmers and friendly servers who really know their food, the drinks and of course, know Robert.  If you haven’t been to the Mussel Bar, you have got to at least try it – even if you’re not a big fan of mussels.  You will have a great time in the warm, inviting atmosphere and can enjoy some good eats and good beers without a doubt.  Hmmm, I’m thinking lunch tomorrow!   ~Amy

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