Restaurant: Jacques Brasserie – 204-206 East 85th Street, Manhattan New York
Last week, Hailey and I checked out Jacques Brasserie on the Upper East Side. The restaurant has a “Belgian Feast” special where for you get a pile of mussels, frites and a draft beer from Sunday through Thursday 5:30 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. Any menu that has the word ‘feast’ in it is right up my alley – we of course took full advantage of this special.
It’s been a long time since I visited France, but if I were to envision what a French restaurant looks like, Jacques Brasserie fits that stereotype. The restaurant has a small outdoor seating area and indoors is covered in dark wood and old French posters. There are lots of mirrors throughout the space to make it feel larger than it actually is (not that it’s particularly small to begin with). It may just be me in my old age (28 years old, yikes!) but the place gives off a somewhat old-timey feel.
Since we were there for mussels, I immediately jump to compare Jacques Brasserie to one of my favorite mussel places in New York City – BXL. Aside from the fact that one is French and the other is Belgian, I’d say BXL has a bigger bar atmosphere whereas Jacques Brasserie feels more like an actual restaurant. Take your pick for what you’re looking for.
Let’s get feasting! The “Belgian Feast” special comes with a heaping pot of mussels, frites and a draft beer. On the menu, you have a choice of various flavors ranging from Marinieres (Chardonnay, garlic, parsley) to Provencale (tomato, garlic, basil) to Dijonnaise (mustard, shallots, garlic). Not wanting to get too crazy, Hailey and I decided on:
- Marinieres: Chardonnay, garlic, parsley
- Poulette: Chive and cream
First things first, you get a nice basket of warm, fresh bread sliced from a baguette placed on your table. If you’re asking why this is important you should probably just stop reading. This is essential so you have something to dip in the sauce leftover from the mussels.
I’m a guy and I can put down a lot of food. Whenever I eat mussels I often have to down a lot of the little guys until I even feel remotely full. However, the mussels at Jacques Brasserie are nothing short of enormous. These are probably some of the largest mussels I’ve had in a long time and I surprisingly found myself pretty full after eating a bucket of them. In addition to the mussels, the frites were crispy and a nice golden brown color. They were coated in lots of salt which made them nearly addictive.
The service at Jacques Brasserie was nothing short of great. Our waiter almost seemed enthusiastic to serve us, like I was doing him a favor. A side effect of eating mussels is lots of leftover shells. The staff eagerly shuttled discarded shells away so we were never left with anything resembling a Jenga-style pile of mussels waiting to tip over into our laps.
For $22 you get a heaping bowl of mussels, frites and a draft beer. I challenge you to find a better deal with the same quality of food and atmosphere. Great value!
Jacques Brasserie has been a neighborhood staple on the Upper East Side more more than 20 years. I’m not sure how long they’ve been doing their “Belgian Feast,” but it’s one hell of a deal. The food was delicious, the service was superb and Hailey and I had a great experience. The only downside is the “Belgian Feast” only runs from 5:30 – 7:00 p.m. so it can be a little tough to get there for those working a little later into the night. However, if you can skip out of work on time than head on up to the Upper East Side for a little taste of France. You won’t regret it.
*This meal was provided free, courtesy of Jacques Brasserie.