Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mussel Beach

Revel's Mussel Bar gastropub (Photo courtesy Revel Resort)
Let me be clear: My wife and I don't care for shellfish. So how did we end up at a restaurant named Mussel Bar? Well, friends of ours raved about the salmon at chef Robert Wiedmaier's Atlantic City gastropub (500 Boardwalk, 1-855-348-0500), which joins restaurants developed by Philly's own Jose Garces and other established East Coast chefs at the impressive-looking - if financially ailing - Revel.

The Belgian-born, Washington., D.C.-based Wiedmaier brings a European flair to Mussel Bar's menu. The beverage list, for example, features a hard cider from France. (Bards beer is also available.)

Our server was familiar with the gluten-free menu options, but at our request, he confirmed our selections with the chef.

My wife opted for the Caesar salad, one of several gluten-free starters. I, on the other hand, headed straight for the namesake bivalves. When in Rome, right? The half portion of mussels were steeped in a garlic-tinged leek broth. Whereas my wife couldn't manage to finish the single mussel she tried, I rather liked them - although the cave-aged gruyere, pancetta and fingerling potatoes in the dish provided ample flavor to make them more appetizing.

Like any good gastropub, Mussel Bar has a strong selection of cheeses - some Belgian and others domestic - and charcuterie, heavy on Spanish and Italian meats.

The plump pan-seared Pacific salmon, lacquered with a mustard vinaigrette, was as advertised. Other gluten-free entrees included scallops, chicken, pork chop, crab & shrimp salad, swordfish and steaks.

Safe desserts were decidedly less varied, with ice cream and sorbet the only selections among some serious non-gluten-free indulgences.

Given that Mussel Bar is located within a gaming hall, expect to pay premium prices to subsidize the comped meals for high rollers. Yet the restaurant, like others at Revel - Village Whiskey and Lugo Cucina e Vino, to name two - provides a genuine dining experience compared to eating a typical casino steakhouse or Italian bistro.

Mussel Bar on Urbanspoon
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