BXL East – 210 East 51st Street, Manhattan, NY
BXL East is a busy place to say the least. The restaurant has two locations – BXL East on 51st Street and a location on 43rd Street, right outside Times Square. I’ve been to the Times Square location on multiple occasions and funnily enough, it seems their eastside restaurant generates more traffic. With my family in town, we went to go check it out on a weekday after work.
Stepping into the restaurant, the interior was packed full of business men and women socializing over a few drinks. There is a small space in the back with a few tables dedicated for those looking for more than a liquid diet, but overall, beer was the choice meal for the after work crowd. Luckily, a table opened up (one of two) in the small outside area in front of the restaurant. It was a little cramped but we were seated outside on one of the rare cool days this summer so we were happy.
BXL is a Belgium restaurant and they have a fairly substantial beer selection – both draft and bottled. Aside from beer, and the main reason we were there, are the seven different types of mussels available for the picking. We ordered:
- Grand Mere: cream, bacon and onions
- Thailandaise: coconut milk, lemon grass and curry
- Provencale: tomato, garlic and fresh basil
- Marinieres: white wine shallot broth
The mussels come in a two pound pot filled with a fragrant and tasteful broth with the flavors of the ingredients baked in. There are also remnants of onions, bacon, tomatoes, etc. (depending on what you ordered) scattered throughout. The mussels were very good and had a great flavor to them. They are time consuming to eat, having to manually pick apart each mussel, but the payoff is worth it in each delicious bite. After you finish the mussels, the prize at the end is a pot of broth that can be soaked up and enjoyed with bread at the table. Additionally, each order comes with a side of fries and mayo. These fries are extremely salty but I wasn’t complaining. They were very crispy and had a nice crunch to them. I’ll gladly exceed my day’s sodium allowance to have them again.
BXL East is always my restaurant of choice if I’m craving mussels. They’re consistently good and always hit the spot along with ample amounts of fries and bread. The price for a two pound pot is around $20 – considering how much mussels sell for, they’re making a lot of money on this so it may be slightly overpriced in that sense. However, the price doesn’t seem to be a deterrent since you’ll see tables filled with mussel pots all over the restaurant. I will be coming back here again.